I remember watching this movie on May 31, 2002, the night before my high school graduation and when I watch this film, it reminded me of the things that happened with me throughout my senior year: from a guy I knew, who cheated on his girlfriend with a cheerleader, to the terrorist attack that tore America apart; causing Americans to go against one another, from the crushes, the heartbreaks, prom night, to Spider-Man being the movie of the year, graduation rehearsal, and technology becoming the new aspect in my life and when I watched American Graffiti, it reminded me of when the good times <more>
meant something with those around me.The film takes place in 1962 California, a pre JFK assassination which showed the innocence of youth crusin' the streets and talking to buddies outside of their windows as they drive; now, in today's world it's a bloodbath. Even the music played a part of innocence back in the 60's where artist such as Fats Domino, Beach Boys, Bill Haley and the Comets, The Platters, even Chuck Berry were a pain in the butt to most of the adults of that time, but a joy. Now? Songs about sex, drugs, and murder have become the new waves to today's youth of America.American Graffiti has four teenage boys who cruise in different directions in their hometown where some question their own faith. The main character in the story is Curt Henderson Richard Dreyfuss who is about to leave east for college where he is dubious on whether or not he should leave town in order to start a new life. Yet his friend Steve Ron Howard encourages him to leave and tells him not to crawl back into his little nest. All night, Curt cruises the streets with his sister Laurie Cindy Williams and Steve, where he sees a blonde woman driving a white T-Bird who mouths "I love you." Now Curt is on the hunt to find this blonde woman as he encounters a gang called The Pharaohs who want to pound him after he scratches the gang's car.The next character is Steve whose Curt's best friend and happens to be dating Laurie and wants to rush things as quickly as possible. He wants to break up so they can see other people; but later when they are named King and Queen at the homecoming dance, they are together again where he tries to have sex with her. Yet, things don't work out well between them, and Steve questions his own destiny on whether he should stay or not, leaving Curt to be right as usual.John Milner Paul LeMat is the hotshot of the state who doesn't want to leave town because he is afraid that everything will change. After the beginning of the film he talks to Curt about "The Pickin's are really getting' slim" that everything is changing in terms of music, girls, crusin' the street even from his friends departing. He cruises the streets where he accidentally picks up an underage girl MacKenzie Phillips who becomes more of a pal to John as they listen to Wolfman Jack and hear good old time music. Yet, John is up for a little competition, as a new drag racer by the name of Bob Falfa, Harrison Ford wants to race him.The other character of the gang is Terry "The Toad," Fields Charles Martin Smith the nerd who drives a mophead, gets to take Steve's car for a ride in the town. Yet, as he tries to impress people, he meets one girl Debbie Candy Clark who decides to go with Terry after she hears about him talking about his "new" car. Terry who thinks he is a reject is now proved that he is a man as he cruises the streets with the girl on his arms, and just trying to prove that even nerds have their moments as well.American Graffiti in my opinion is a retrospect of the good times that people had when everything was innocent, in an era where crusin' was important, especially rock n' roll. But as time changes on, people will always remember the good times.
The single-greatest teen-age cruising film ever made (by pooch-8)
American Graffiti, voted in 1998 to the American Film Institute's list of 100 superlative films, is as good today as it was upon its release in 1973. Countless films such as Linklater's excellent Dazed and Confused have borrowed heavily from Lucas' blueprint of multiple characters and storylines punctuated by wall to wall rock music. If possible, you should try to see the 1998 documentary that accompanies the DVD release, as it provides a wealth of information directly from Lucas, Coppola, LeMat, Ford, Clark, Dreyfuss, Howard, and many others about the creation of the film from <more>
Let's be the way we are not going to be anymore for just one more night!! (by dataconflossmoor)
American Graffiti was a compilation of pop culture pique, a harbinger of political changes, and the birth of an era that explodes the "Leave it to Beaver America" simply by saying farewell to it!!!...Set in a small town in Southern California, with a bunch of people who's existence in 1962 means the 13th and final year of the fifties, it correlates a cosmic awareness with an innocent societal disagreement.... People are happy, but not happy enough to want to stay the same.... The constant bond throughout the film is Wolfman Jack, the "supercool" disc jockey who creates <more>
a thousand different images of himself just by virtue of what he says on the radio...He is illuminating as well as socially influential to a bunch of naive teenagers....The music in this movie is extremely entertaining, as it signifies the end of an Eisenhower style Utopia.. The couples that are paired off in this movie homogenize the attitudes and aspirations of these precocious 1962 teenagers, who are on the verge of growing up!! All of the characters in this film have an imperviousness to the objections related to a perceived totalitarianism brought on in the sixties, not just because the radical aspect of the decade has yet to be, but also, because locking horns with the authority figures is not second nature to them ... Even Big John Milner ... The bevy of Radicalism which besieges our nation over the remainder of this decade, the 1960's created a metamorphosis in social behavior that would change all Americans, even the people living in the town of Graffit, California!!! This movie superbly exemplifies the phrase "The calm before the storm" It gives the entire movie audience a crystal ball concept analysis report that sparks a bittersweet realization and empathy for everyone who plays a significant role in this George Lucas masterpiece!! Director George Lucas has never been better...The cast is sensational!!and the film's unassuming demeanor surprisingly captures the honor of being one of America's greatest films on record!!! Five stars!! No question!!
Seems almost an accidental classic (by moonspinner55)
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 <more>
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 ****
An eventful summer night for teenagers in 1962 California town (by mdm-11)
This multi-layered DVD version of "American Graffiti" is the best trip back to the summer of 1962 Hollywood ever had to offer! The eventful night when freshly graduated high school friends contemplated their futures while immersed in small town America's car-hops, drive-in movies & doo-wop music the soundtrack is one of the best featured in ANY film! , is shown in "real time".Richard Dreyfuss is perfect as the smart kid, ready to drive off to college the next morning, but wondering if he's doing the right thing. Ron Howard and Cindy Williams get some practice <more>
for their soon to follow "Happy Days", while Charles Martin Smith and Candy Clark are wonderful as the goofus who wants to show a pretty girl a good time.Wolfman Jack plays himself and cupid when he plays a very special request going out from Richard Dreyfuss to his dream girl Suzanne Sommers. Look for a pre-teen McKenzie Phillips and a young Harrison Ford in minor roles. This film is a big winner in my book!
One of those classic American movies, a fairly humorous depiction of teen life in the 50s and early 60s. (by TxMike)
Can we believe "American Graffiti" is almost 30 years old?? So many young actors went on to greater fame in film, not the least of which were Harrison Ford and Ron Howard, who finally this year won a "Best Director" award for "A Beautiful Mind". As movies usually do, situations were a bit exaggerated. Although some Friday and Saturday night cruising went on, it was never as blatant as depicted here. The jerking out of the cop car's rear end probably would never have happened. You wouldn't find some little studio in the middle of nowhere with WolfMan Jack <more>
broadcasting live, and just walk into the back door. You wouldn't find such agreeable gang members as the ones who did an impromptu initiation of Dreyfus' character.I grew up in the 50s and early 60s, and many of the situations were very accurate. High school lovers facing separation as one plans attending college across the continent. The high school dance with the live band. The teenager trying to get someone to buy booze for him, but the robbery and gunfight were a bit over the top. The gathering at the local drivein. Kids jumping into the back seat to make out, for no particular reason. Cigarette pack rolled up in the sleeve of the T-shirt. The film depicts one night, from early evening to sunrise the next morning. As a result the entire film is "dark", which to me detracts somewhat from the fun. But it truly is an American Classic film, probably deserves to be in any serious film collector's library.
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 <more>
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.
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 <more>
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.
George 'Apology Accepted' Lucas Strikes Back! (by mrspasm)
American Graffiti is aBurroughsesque cut up segment movie about what George 'Me's a so sorry' Lucas got up to when he was a teen in the 1920s. It seems that George 'Warwick "Willow" 'Wicket' Davis' Lucas liked to drive cars, avoid school, listen to rock in roll Muzak and get into various scrapes with girlies. Of course George 'Never see me and Spielberg in the same place' Lucas's favourite past time was defacing local establishments with graffiti. George 'Short Round' Lucas and his gang would scrawl such witticisms as 'Nerds <more>
suck!', 'Berry Rulez OK!', and 'I have visited Lola's pants' all over buildings and walls. Theu would ruthlessly organise 'hits' on certain places: homes of teachers and enemies, toilet walls sometimes not with paint , and alleyways. 'The Fonze Is My Daddy', 'School is 4 fools', 'LOLZ! I fragged sum Noob's Ass on Halo 20 timez ROFL!' and 'George "we cannot agree to this Treaty, Senator" Lucas Waz ere!' also make appearances. It's all very funny and perplexing.George 'Strike Me Down' Lucas directs his first feature feelim here and gathers together a cast of unknowns who would go on to remain unknowns, with the possible exception of Harry 'Son' Ford. It was quite a success for George 'Akbar' Lucas, earning him a lovely first pile of money and an Academy Award nomination. The film has an authentic 50s feels as all the characters have funny names like Curt, Chad, 'Steve' and Flapiddy Sshlap. The cars and clothes and musics and hair cuts are all fairly accurate proving that Gunga Lucas was about in those days and observed everything from his mother's basement. We watch the lives of these characters over a few years, some race cars, some race tractors, some die, some go on to have successful careers. Of course the most successful career prize would go to George 'I killed them all, even the children!' Lucas. With the money he made from this he made, after a brief 3 year holiday to Jamaica, the greatest film trilogy of all time- Star Warp! Best Scene: When two main characters are having a game of Turkey in their cars, and the bad guy spins out and crashes. The hero, based on George 'ooh my, R2!' Lucas, leaps over the front of his car and punches out the bad guy. A blue flash takes over the screen and he is suddenly transported to another place, in the arms of a naked lady who kisses him. Just as he wonders what is going on a burly man bursts into the room with a shotgun- 'Daddy!?' she cries. 'Oh boy!' replies our hero. George 'no to Jabba Wanka' Lucas.