7.5/10
72,601
255 user 108 critic

American Graffiti (1973)

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
Reviews
Popularity
1,186 ( 110)

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ON DISC
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:

...is back! [1978 Re-release] 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:

$140,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Dolby System®)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filming of the climactic drag race was hampered when one of the cars broke an axle, then broke the replacement axle, and then nearly ran over two cameramen lying in the road to film its approach. See more »

Goofs

Toad crashes his Vespa and walks away, and in the very next shot it is standing up and nicely parked. 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 ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

Worded epilogues prior to the credits shows what happen to the characters following the movie. While this has since become commonplace in films, it was considered innovative at the time. See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally released at 110 min.; re-edited and re-released in a slightly longer version (112 min.) in 1978 when many of its then-unknown stars became famous. See more »

Connections

Referenced in It's Not Me, It's Him (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight
Written by Pookie Hudson and Calvin Carter (uncredited)
The Spaniels'
Courtesy of Chess/Janus division of GRT Corporation:
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User Reviews

 
Seems almost an accidental classic
7 October 2001 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

I don't know if George Lucas really knew what he had in this picture--surely the screenplay seemed funny enough, and the thought of the cars and the period music was enticing--but did he really know these "unknown" actors would bring these characters to life? It seems almost a fluke, shot in 29 days and on a tight budget, but "American Graffiti" is a classic. It is perhaps pure nostalgia, mixing pathos and humor, sadness and craziness, hope and reflection in quiet little bursts of excitement. After cruising with Milner all night, teenage Carol hates to say goodbye but does, waving from her porch with the light on; Toad survives one bad accident after another, but his real moment is in hearing praise from his date (fantastic, husky-voiced Candy Clark, dolled up like a speeding Sandra Dee) just before she says good night; after chasing his dream date all night, Kurt (Richard Dreyfuss, green and anxious, and appealingly bemused) finally gets to talk to the stunning blonde wonder on the telephone, where she whispers a wrenching goodbye. The whole movie is steeped in reflection. It has great, great humor, yet it leaves one with a bittersweet melancholia. For yesterday is in the past, with our music, our memories and our hesitant farewells. ***1/2 from ****


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