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American Graffiti (1973)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 11 August 1973 (USA)
A couple of high school grads spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college.

Director:

George Lucas
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Popularity
1,064 ( 117)
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Dreyfuss ... Curt
Ron Howard ... Steve (as Ronny Howard)
Paul Le Mat ... John
Charles Martin Smith ... Terry (as Charlie Martin Smith)
Cindy Williams ... Laurie
Candy Clark ... Debbie
Mackenzie Phillips ... Carol
Wolfman Jack ... Disc Jockey
Bo Hopkins ... Joe
Manuel Padilla Jr. ... Carlos
Beau Gentry Beau Gentry ... Ants
Harrison Ford ... Bob Falfa
Jim Bohan Jim Bohan ... Holstein
Jana Bellan ... Budda
Deby Celiz Deby Celiz ... Wendy
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Where were you in '62? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 August 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Another Slow Night in Modesto See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$777,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$115,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$115,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release) (1978) | (rough cut)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Dolby System®)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The three scenes that were added to the 1978 re-release were cut from the original release as a result of the compromise with Universal Studios. George Lucas put them back in after Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) was released. See more »

Goofs

The license plate on the Studebaker with the girls from Turlock is the same as the plate on Steve's '58 Chevy. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Terry Fields: Hey, what do you say, Curt? Last night in town... you guys gonna have a little bash before you leave?
Steve Bolander: The Moose have been looking for you all day.
[hands a check to Curt]
Steve Bolander: They got worried... thought you were trying to avoid them or something.
Terry Fields: What is it? What do ya got?
Curt Henderson: Oh, great.
Terry Fields: That's $2,000 man! Two thousand dollars!
Steve Bolander: 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 »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Alternate Versions

One version has appeared on television with several scenes cut, including the entire sock hop except for the Louie, Louie sequence (which, ironically, was added to the 1978 re-release). See more »

Connections

Referenced in At the Movies: UHF/Valentino Returns/Shag (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Sixteen Candles
Written by Luther Dixon and Allyson Khent (uncredited)
The Crests
Courtesy of Post Records:
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A true American classic
22 May 2005 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

As many people know, George Lucas is most famous for the fact that he wrote a certain series of fantasy films. Most of those films certainly were a great achievement, but one thing that many Star Wars fans overlook is the other entries in Lucas' list of directorial credits; one of which is this film, American Graffiti. The movie tells the story of the last night in town for a bunch of school kids about to leave to go to college. Now, this might not seem like a great base for a classic movie to work from; and it isn't, it's the handling that makes it great. In spite of his latest batch of movies, Lucas has shown with this movie that he has the talent to create an innovative and groundbreaking movie in spite of the plot. It's this fact that made Star Wars work so well, and it's nice to see the same effort transplanted into an earlier film that doesn't have the special effects and grandiose that Star Wars had. The energy and vitality that Lucas gives his multiple stories makes for a great ride, and American Graffiti is a lot of fun throughout.

The film is most notable for the way that it captures the American youth of the sixties. It benefits from a great soundtrack that adequately helps to achieve this, and includes the likes of Buddy Holly and The Beach Boys. The film takes place in one night, and makes use of a number of different characters and story lines; all of which are interesting and unique. A lot of which are also really funny, and this is where my favourite part of American Graffiti comes in. The film works because it's such a good time, and the way that Lucas shows us that ensures that we have just as good a time as the characters on screen are having. The events that befall the characters in the movie will no doubt touch a nerve with anyone that has gone through childhood - things such as splitting up with your girlfriend, to being forced into doing things that could get you into trouble...all the way to asking an adult to go into a store to buy alcohol for you are shown with great care, and show that Lucas obviously knew what he was doing when he took on this movie. On the whole...it's very good stuff indeed.


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