It's the proverbial end of the summer 1962 in a small southern California town. It's the evening before best friends and recent high school graduates, Curt Henderson and Steve Bolander, are scheduled to leave town to head to college back east. Curt, who received a lucrative local scholarship, is seen as the promise that their class holds. But Curt is having second thoughts about leaving what Steve basically sees as their dead end town. Curt's beliefs are strengthened when he spots an unknown beautiful blonde in a T-bird who mouths the words "I love you" to him. As Curt tries to find that blonde while trying to get away from a local gang who have him somewhat hostage, Curt may come to a decision about his immediate future. Outgoing class president Steve, on the other hand, wants to leave, despite meaning that he will leave girlfriend, head cheerleader and Curt's sister, Laurie Henderson, behind. Steve and Laurie spend the evening "negotiating" the state of their relationship. Meanwhile...Written by
When John & Carol get out of his car at the stop-light to flatten the tires of the white car, a fully-bearded, red-vested George Lucas is reflected in the passenger window as it's being rolled up. See more »
Hey, what do you say, Curt? Last night in town... you guys gonna have a little bash before you leave?
The Moose have been looking for you all day.
[hands a check to Curt]
They got worried... thought you were trying to avoid them or something.
What is it? What do ya got?
That's $2,000 man! Two thousand dollars!
Mr. Jennings gave it to me to give to you. He says he's sorry it's so late, but it's the first scholarship the Moose Lodge has given out. And he, uh, says they're ...
[...] See more »
At the start of the closing credits, the character and actor names for the main characters randomly appear in time to the opening xylophone notes of the Beach Boys' All Summer Long, which continues to play over the credits. See more »
One minor digital effect has been added, at the request of director George Lucas, and can be found on the 1998 Collector's Edition DVD and VHS. In the original theatrical release, when the movie title credit appears on screen in front of Mel's Drive-In, all that is seen behind the diner are buildings and a cloudy/grey sky. On the Collector's Edition DVD and VHS, a sunset with clouds has been digitally added in where the cloudy/grey sky originally was. The original shot used in the film can be seen at the opening of the American Graffiti documentary, which is on the same DVD/VHS. See more »
As the plot and the characters of this movie have already been thoroughly discussed elsewhere , perhaps I can just make one additional observation in regard to the wider influence that it had during its initial release.
Specifically, the outstanding success of this landmark film was largely (although not entirely) responsible for starting the "retro" craze that quickly grew into a major international subculture and is still going strong today. Although, back in the '70s we used the word "nostalgia".
The movie's soundtrack album, which was nothing more than a compilation of 1950s and early 60s Top 40 hits, generated massive sales figures across the globe and immediately triggered a flood of similar vinyl offerings from other record companies.
Being the ripe old age of 13 in 1973, I totally lost interest in the music of the day and started to collect many of the aforementioned compilation albums.
Again, as others have correctly pointed out, the initial retro scene was mainly confined to the musical side of things which included the establishment of "Oldies" radio stations. It wasn't long, however, before the general mood of nostalgia became more widespread with an increasing number of people becoming interested in other pop culture commodities of the era such as movies,TV shows, cars and clothes.
Pretty soon the whole thing exploded and the "Good Old Days" suddenly became big business. And why not? There's some fabulous entertainment to be found in the archives for those who care to look.
Give me 'dem ole' time movies any day of the week! In fact, when you look back, I think we owe a debt of gratitude to George Lucas and the gang for giving us "American Graffiti". It started a positive and enjoyable marketing trend which has brought a great deal of pleasure to millions over the years. And that's a pretty nice legacy for any movie to leave behind.
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