A couple of high school grads spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college.


George Lucas
1,424 ( 263)
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »





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


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


Where were you in '62? See more »


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


There is no real liquor named Old Harper. The closest is I.W. Harper Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, which is now owned by Diageo. See more »


When Curt boards the plane, a large notation above the door says "Radar Equipped". However, when the plane takes off, the suitably large wording is no longer seen on the aircraft. See more »


[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 all ...
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

In addition to the Louie, Louie sequence at the hop, the reissued version had two other scenes added to the original release: Terry's exchange at the used car lot just before the first hop sequence, and Bob Falfa singing Some Enchanted Evening from South Pacific after he picks up Laurie. In the original release, John Milner is listed as having been killed by a drunk driver in June of 1964 in the closing segment just before the final credits. When the movie was reedited in 1978, the date of his death was changed to December of 1964, most likely in anticipation of the release of its sequel, More American Graffiti. See more »


Referenced in Community: Intro to Recycled Cinema (2015) See more »


Fannie Mae
Written by Morris Levy, Clarence Lewis and Waymon Glasco (uncredited)
Buster Brown
Courtesy of Roulette Records:
See more »

User Reviews

Thanks George Lucas !
24 March 2003 | by BruceCorneilSee all my reviews

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.

24 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 308 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »






Release Date:

11 August 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Another Slow Night in Modesto See more »


Box Office


$777,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Dolby System®)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed