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American Graffiti

Film poster by Mort Drucker
Directed by George Lucas
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola
Gary Kurtz
Written by George Lucas
Gloria Katz
Willard Huyck
Starring Richard Dreyfuss
Ron Howard
Paul Le Mat
Charles Martin Smith
Cindy Williams
Candy Clark
Mackenzie Phillips
Harrison Ford
Cinematography Jan D'Alquen
Ron Eveslage

Haskell Wexler
Editing by Verna Fields
Marcia Lucas
Uncredited:
George Lucas
Studio Universal Pictures
Lucasfilm
The Coppola Company
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) Original:
August 11, 1973
Reissue:
May 1978
Running time 1973:
108 min.
1978 Reissue & Home video:
112 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $775,000
Gross revenue $118 million
Followed by More American Graffiti

American Graffiti is a 1973 coming of age comedy-drama film co-written/directed by George Lucas, and starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips, Bo Hopkins, Kathleen Quinlan and Harrison Ford. Set in one night in August 1962 Modesto, California, American Graffiti is a study of the cruising and rock and roll cultures popular among the Post-World War II baby boom generation. The film is a nostalgic portrait of teenage life in the early 1960s told in a series of vignettes, featuring the story of a group of teenagers and their adventures within one night.

The genesis of American Graffiti came from Lucas's own teenage years in early 1960s Modesto. He was unsuccessful in pitching the concept to financiers and distributors, but finally found favor at Universal Pictures after United Artists, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Paramount Pictures turned him down. Filming was initially set to take place in San Rafael, California, but the production crew was denied permission to shoot beyond a second day. As a result, most filming for American Graffiti was conducted in Petaluma.

American Graffiti was released to universal critical acclaim and financial success, and was nominated the Academy Award for Best Picture. Produced and marketed on a small $1.27 million budget, the film has turned out to be one of the most profitable movies of all time. Since its initial release, American Graffiti has garnered an estimated return of well over $200 million in box office gross and home video sales, not including merchandising. In 1995 the United States Library of Congress deemed the film culturally significant and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Contents

Plot

Recent high school graduates and longtime friends Curt Henderson and Steve Bolander, meet up with friends Terry "The Toad" Fields and John Milner at the local Mel's Drive-In parking lot. Despite receiving a $2,000 scholarship, Curt is undecided if he wants to leave the next morning with Steve to go to the Northeastern United States to begin college,and Toad leaving for the Marine Corps, while Milner plans on staying in Modesto, which he planed on leaving town a long time ago. Steve lets Toad borrow his 1958 Chevy Impala for the evening and while he will be away at college. Steve's girlfiend Laurie, who is also Curt's younger sister, is unsure of Steve leaving, to which he suggests they see other people while he is away to "strengthen" their relationship. During the night at Mels, Milner sees a mystorous black 1955 Chevy which people are implying that the man is looking for John.

Curt, Steve and Laurie go to the local sock hop, while Toad and Milner begin cruising. En route to the hop, Curt sees a beautiful blonde girl in a white 1956 Ford Thunderbird. She mouths "I love you" before disappearing down the street and is aroused and spends the rest of the film searching for her. After leaving the hop, Curt is desperate to find the mysterious blonde, but is stopped by a group of greasers ("The Pharaohs") through an initiation rite that involves hooking a chain to a police car and successfully ripping out its rear axle. Curt is told rumors that "The Blonde" is either a trophy wife or prostitute, which he immediately refuses to accept.

Steve and Laurie break up after a series of arguments, and Milner inadvertently picks up Carol, an annoying teenybopper. Toad, who is normally socially inept with girls, meets a flirtatious and rebellious girl named Debbie who convinces Toad to get her alchoal. Meanwhile, Curt learns that DJ Wolfman Jack broadcasts from just outside of Modesto, and inside the dark, eerie radio station, Curt encounters a bearded man who claims only to be the manager. Curt hands the DJ a message for the blonde to call him or meet him. As he walks away, Curt sees the "manager" performing into the on air mike and realizes he had been speaking with him.

The other story lines intertwine until Toad and Steve end up on "Paradise Road" to watch Milner race against the arrogant Bob Falfa in his 55 Chevy, with Laurie as Falfa's passenger. Within seconds Falfa loses control of his car and plunges into a ditch. Steve and Milner run to the wreck, and a dazed Bob and Laurie stagger out of the car before it explodes. Distraught, Laurie grips Steve tightly and tells him not to leave her. He assures her that he has decided not to leave Modesto after all. The next morning, Curt is awakened by the sound of a phone ringing in a telephone booth, which turns out to be the blonde. She tells him she might see him cruising tonight, but Curt replies that is not possible, because he will be leaving. At the airfield, he says goodbye to his parents, his sister and friends. As the plane takes off, Curt gazes out of the window, seeing the white Ford Thunderbird, which belongs to the mysterious blonde.

In the end credits, it's reported that John was killed by a drunk driver in 1964, Terry was reported missing in action near An Lộc in 1965, Steve is an insurance agent in Modesto, California, and Curt is a writer living in Canada.

Cast

John Milner (Paul Le Mat) is confronted by Officer Holstein (Jim Bohan)

Development

Inspiration

During the production of THX 1138 (1971), producer Francis Ford Coppola challenged co-writer/director George Lucas to write a script that would appeal to mainstream audiences.[1] Lucas embraced the idea, using his early 1960s teenage experiences cruising in Modesto, California. "Cruising was gone, and I felt compelled to document the whole experience and what my generation used as a way of meeting girls," Lucas explained.[1] As he developed the story in his mind, Lucas included his fascination with Wolfman Jack. Lucas had considered doing a documentary about The Wolfman when he attended the USC School of Cinematic Arts, but dropped the idea.[2]

Adding in semi-autobiographical connotations, Lucas set the story in 1962 Modesto.[1] The characters Curt Henderson, John Milner and Terry "The Toad" Fields also represent different stages from his younger life. Curt is modeled after Lucas's personality during USC, while Milner is based on Lucas's teenage drag racing and junior college years, and hot rod enthusiasts he had known from the Kustom Kulture in Modesto. Toad represents Lucas's nerd years as a freshman in high school, specifically his "bad luck" with dating.[3] The filmmaker was also inspired by Federico Fellini's I Vitelloni (1953).[4]

United Artists

After Warner Bros. abandoned Lucas's early version of Apocalypse Now (1979) (during the post-production of THX 1138), the filmmaker decided to continue development on Another Quiet Night in Modesto, which he eventually changed to American Graffiti.[2] To co-write a fifteen-page film treatment, Lucas hired Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, who also added semi-autobiographical connotations to the storyline.[5] In attempting to use the treatment to attract financing, Lucas and producer Gary Kurtz began pitching American Graffiti to various Hollywood studios and production companies,[1] but they were unsuccessful. Financiers believed music licensing issues would distract the film's budget. Alongside Easy Rider (1969), American Graffiti represents one of the first films to avoid a traditional film score approach and successfully rely on scenes specifically synchronized to an assortment of songs.[6]

THX 1138 was released in March 1971[1] and Lucas was offered opportunities to direct Lady Ice (1973), Tommy (1975) or Hair (1979). He turned down the offers, determined to pursue his own projects, despite his desperation to find another film to direct.[7][8] During this time, Lucas conceived the idea for an untitled space opera, which would later become the basis for his Star Wars franchise. At the May 1971 Cannes Film Festival, THX was chosen for the Directors' Fortnight competition. There, Lucas met David Picker, then president of United Artists, who was intrigued by American Graffiti and Lucas's as-yet-untitled space opera. Picker decided to give Lucas $10,000 to develop Graffiti as a screenplay.[7]

Lucas intended to spend another five weeks in Europe and hoped that Huyck and Katz would have a screenplay by the time he returned, but they were about to start on their own film, Messiah of Evil (1972),[5] so Lucas hired Richard Walter, a colleague from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Walter was flattered, but instead tried to pitch Lucas a screenplay called Barry and the Persuasions, a story of East Coast teenagers in the late 1950s. Lucas held firm - his was a story about West Coast teenagers in the early 1960s. Walter was paid the $10,000, and he began to adapt the Lucas/Huyck/Katz treatment into a screenplay.[7]

Lucas was dismayed when he returned to America in June 1971 and read Walter's script, which was written in the style and tone of an exploitation film. "It was overtly sexual and very fantasy-like, with playing chicken and things that kids didn't really do," Lucas reasoned. "I wanted something that was more like the way I grew up."[9] Walter's script also had Steve and Laurie going to Nevada to get married without their parents' permission.[4] He redrafted the screenplay, but Lucas fired Walter over creative differences.[7]

After paying Walter, Lucas had exhausted his development fund with United Artists. He began writing the script, completing his first draft in just three weeks. Drawing upon his large collection of vintage records, Lucas wrote every scene with a musical backdrop in mind.[7] The cost of licensing the 75 songs Lucas wanted was a contributing factor in United Artists' ultimate rejection of the script, which the studio also felt was too experimental - "a musical montage with no characters." United Artists also passed on Star Wars, which Lucas shelved for the time being.[8]

Universal Pictures

Lucas spent the rest of 1971 and early 1972 trying to raise financing for the American Graffiti script.[8] During this time, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Paramount Pictures all turned down the opportunity to co-finance and distribute the film.[10] Lucas, Huyck and Katz rewrote the second draft together, which, in addition to Modesto, was also set in Mill Valley and Los Angeles. Lucas also intended to end American Graffiti showing a title card detailing the fate of the characters, including the death of Milner and the disappearance of Toad in Vietnam. Huyck and Katz found the ending depressing and were incredulous that Lucas planned to include only the male characters. Lucas argued that mentioning the girls meant adding another title card, which he felt would prolong the ending. Because of this, Pauline Kael later accused Lucas of chauvinism.[10]

Lucas and producer Gary Kurtz took the script to American International Pictures, who expressed interest, but ultimately believed American Graffiti was not violent or sexual enough for the studio's standards.[11] Lucas and Kurtz eventually found favor at Universal Pictures, who allowed Lucas total artistic control and the right of final cut privilege on the condition that he make American Graffiti on a strict, low budget.[8] This forced Lucas to drop the opening scene, in which the Blonde Angel, Curt's image of the perfect woman, drives through an empty drive-in cinema in her Ford Thunderbird, her transparency revealing she does not exist.[12]

Universal initially projected a $600,000 budget, but added an additional $175,000 once producer Francis Ford Coppola signed on. This would allow the studio to advertise American Graffiti as "from the Man who Gave you The Godfather (1972)." However, Lucas was forced to concede final cut privilege. The proposition also gave Universal first look deals on Lucas's next two planned projects, Star Wars (1977) and Radioland Murders (1994).[11] As he continued to work on the script, Lucas encountered difficulties on the Steve and Laurie storyline. Lucas, Katz and Huyck worked on the third draft together, specifically on the scenes featuring Steve and Laurie.[13]

Production proceeded with virtually no input or interference from Universal. American Graffiti was a low-budget film, and executive Ned Tanen had only modest expectations of its commercial success. However, Universal did object to the film's title, not knowing what "American Graffiti" meant;[13] Lucas was dismayed when some executives assumed he was making an Italian movie about feet.[10] The studio therefore submitted a long list of over 60 alternative titles, with their favorite being Another Slow Night in Modesto[13] and Coppola's Rock Around the Block.[10] They pushed hard to get Lucas to adopt any of the titles, but he was displeased with all the alternatives and persuaded Tanen to keep American Graffiti.[13]

Production

Casting

The film's lengthy casting process was overseen by Fred Roos, who worked with producer Francis Ford Coppola on The Godfather.[5] Because American Graffiti's main cast was associated with younger actors, the casting call and notices went through numerous high school drama groups and community theaters in the San Francisco Bay Area.[3] Among the actors was Mark Hamill, the future Luke Skywalker in Lucas' Star Wars trilogy.[12]

Over 100 unknown actors auditioned for Curt Henderson before Richard Dreyfuss was cast. George Lucas was impressed with Dreyfuss' thoughtful analysis of the role,[3] and, as a result, offered the actor his choosing of Curt or Terry "The Toad" Fields.[12] Roos, a former casting director on The Andy Griffith Show, suggested Ron Howard for Steve Bolander. Howard reluctantly accepted the part in attempting to avoid his typecasting as a child actor.[3] Bob Balaban turned down The Toad out of fear of typecasting, a decision which he later regretted. Charles Martin Smith was eventually cast in the role.[14]

Although Cindy Williams was cast as Laurie Henderson, the actress hoped she would get the part of Debbie Dunham, which ended up going to Candy Clark.[5] Mackenzie Phillips, who portrays Carol, was only 12 years old, and under California law, producer Gary Kurtz had to become her legal guardian during filming.[12] As Bob Falfa, Roos cast Harrison Ford, who was then concentrating on a carpentry career. Ford agreed to take the role on the condition that he would not have to cut his hair. The character has a flattop haircut in the script, but a compromise was eventually reached whereby Ford wore a stetson to cover his hair. Producer Francis Ford Coppola encouraged Lucas to cast Wolfman Jack as himself in a cameo appearance. "George Lucas and I went through thousands of Wolfman Jack phone calls that were taped with the public," Jack reflected. "The telephone calls [heard on the broadcasts] in the motion picture and on the soundtrack were actual calls with real people."[13]

Filming

Although American Graffiti is set in 1962 Modesto, California, Lucas believed the city had changed in 10 years and initially chose San Rafael as the primary shooting location.[12] Filming began on June 26, 1972, however, Lucas soon became frustrated at time it was taking to fix camera mounts to the cars.[15] A key member of the production had also been arrested for growing marijuana,[10] and, in addition to already running behind the shooting schedule, the San Rafael City Council immediately became concerned about the disruption that filming caused for local businesses and had therefore withdrawn permission to shoot beyond a second day.[15]

Petaluma, a similarly small town approximately 20 miles north of San Rafael, became more cooperative and American Graffiti moved there without the loss of a single day of shooting. Lucas convinced the San Rafael City Council to allow two further nights of filming for general cruising shots, which he used to evoke as much of the intended location as possible in the finished film. Shooting in Petaluma began on June 28 and proceeded at a quick pace.[15] Lucas mimicked the filmmaking style of B movie producer Sam Katzman in attempting to save money and authenticated low budget filming methods.[12]

The San Francisco Mel's Drive-In restaurant used in the film had been closed and was reopened specifically for filming. It was demolished after American Graffiti was completed.[12]

In addition to Petaluma, other locations included Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco, Sonoma, Richmond, Novato and the Buchanan Field Airport in Concord.[16] More problems ensued during filming. Paul Le Mat was sent to the hospital after an allergic reaction to walnuts. Actors Le Mat, Harrison Ford and Bo Hopkins were often drunk between takes and had conducted climbing competitions to the top of the local Holiday Inn sign. One actor set fire to Lucas' motel room. Another night, Le Mat threw Richard Dreyfuss into a swimming pool, gashing his forehead on the day before he was due to have his close-ups filmed. Dreyfuss also complained over the wardrobe that Lucas had chosen for the character. Ford was arrested one night while in a bar fight and kicked out of his motel room. In addition, two camera operators were nearly killed when filming the climactic race scene.[17] Principal photography ended on August 4, 1972.[16]

Cinematography

Lucas considered covering duties as the sole cinematographer, but dropped the idea.[12] Instead, he elected to shoot American Graffiti using two cinematographers (as he had done in THX 1138) and no formal director of photography. Two cameras were used simultaneously in scenes involving conversations between actors in different cars, which resulted in significant production time savings.[15] After CinemaScope proved to be too expensive,[12] Lucas decided that American Graffiti should have a documentary-like feel, and shot the film using Techniscope cameras. He believed that Techniscope, an inexpensive way of shooting in 35 mm film and utilizing only half of the film's frame, would give a perfect widescreen format resembling 16 mm. Adding to the documentary feel was Lucas's openness for the cast to improvise scenes. He also used goofs for the final cut, notably Charles Martin Smith's (Toad) arriving on his scooter to meet Steve outside Mel's Drive-In.[18] Jan D'Alquen and Ron Eveslage were hired as the cinematographers, but filming with Techniscope cameras brought lighting problems. As a result, Lucas commissioned help from friend Haskell Wexler, who was credited as the "visual consultant".[15]

Editing

Lucas wanted to have wife Marcia edit American Graffiti, but Universal executive Ned Tanen insisted on Verna Fields, who had just finished Steven Spielberg's The Sugarland Express (1974).[17] Fields worked on the first rough cut of the film before she left to resume work on What's Up, Doc? (1972). Following Fields's departure, Lucas struggled with editing the film's story structure. He had written the script so that the four (Curt, Steve, John and Toad) storylines were always presented in the same sequence. The first cut of American Graffiti was three-and-a-half hours long; and, in removing an hour and a half, numerous scenes were cut and many others were shortened and combined. The film became increasingly loose, with the result that the presentations of scenes no longer resembled Lucas's original "ABCD structure."[18] At 112 minutes, Lucas completed his final cut of American Graffiti in December 1972.[19] Walter Murch assisted Lucas in post-production for audio mixing and sound design purposes.[18] Murch suggested making Wolfman Jack's radio show the "backbone" of the film. "The Wolfman was an ethereal presence in the lives of young people," said producer Gary Kurtz, "and it was that quality we wanted and obtained in the picture."[17]

Soundtrack

Universal wanted Lucas and producer Gary Kurtz to hire an orchestra for sound-alikes. The studio eventually proposed a flat deal that offered every music publisher the same amount of money. This was acceptable to most of the companies representing Lucas's first choices, but not to RCA - with the consequence that Elvis Presley is conspicuous by his absence from the soundtrack.[8] "I used the absence of music, and sound effects, to create the drama," Lucas later explained.[19]

Reception

Release

Despite unanimous positive praise at a January 1973 test screening, which was attended by Universal executive Ned Tanen, the studio threatened to re-edit American Graffiti from George Lucas's original cut.[19] Lucas and producer Francis Ford Coppola began conflicting with Universal, to which Coppola offered to literally "buy the film" from the studio, insisting he was prepared to reimburse Universal's $775,000 budget.[16] 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures also gave similar offers to the studio.[2] The conflicts between Lucas and Universal only led to the studio threatening to have William Hornbeck completely re-edit American Graffiti.[20]

When Coppola's The Godfather (1972) won the Academy Award for Best Picture in March 1973, Universal decided to cut only three scenes (about four minutes) from Lucas's cut. This included Toad's encounter with a fast-talking car salesman, an argument between Steve and his former teacher Mr. Kroot at the sock hop, and Bob Falfa's effort to serenade Laurie with "Some Enchanted Evening." However, Universal believed that American Graffiti, in its edited form, was only fit for release as a television movie.[16]

Positive word of mouth came from various employees at Universal[16] and the studio dropped the TV movie idea and began securing theaters in Los Angeles and New York for a limited release.[6] However, Universal presidents Sidney Sheinberg and Lew Wasserman found out about the critical praise in LA and New York, and the marketing department rejuvenated their promotion strategy for American Graffiti,[6] by investing an additional $500,000 in marketing and promotion.[2] The film was released in the United States on August 1, 1973 to sleeper hit reception.[21] American Graffiti, which cost $1.27 million to produce/market, yielded a worldwide box office gross that topped $55 million.[22] Outside America, however, the film had only modest success, but acquired cult film recognition in France.[20]

Universal reissued Graffiti in 1978 and earned an additional $63 million, totalling $118 million for the two releases.[2] The reissue included stereophonic sound,[22] and the additional four minutes omitted from Lucas's original cut. All home video releases also included these scenes.[16] At the end of its theatrical run, American Graffiti had one of the lowest cost-to-profit ratios of a motion picture ever.[2] Producer Francis Ford Coppola regretted having not financed the film himself. Lucas recalled, "He would have made $30 million on the deal. He never got over it and he still kicks himself."[20] It was the thirteenth-highest grossing film of all time in 1977,[21] and, adjusted for inflation, is currently the forty-second highest.[23] By the 1990s, American Graffiti had earned more than $200 million in box office gross and home video sales.[2] In December 1997 Variety reported that the film had earned an additional $55.13 million in rental revenue.[24]

Universal Studios Home Entertainment first released the film on DVD in September 1998,[25] and once more as a double feature with More American Graffiti (1979) in January 2004.[26]

Critical analysis

American Graffiti went on to receive universal critical acclaim. Based on 33 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, 97% of the critics enjoyed the film with an average score of 8.3/10. The consensus reads: "One of the most influential of all teen films, American Graffiti is a funny, nostalgic, and bittersweet look at a group of recent high school grads' last days of innocence."[27] Roger Ebert praised the film for being "not only a great movie but a brilliant work of historical fiction; no sociological treatise could duplicate the movie's success in remembering exactly how it was to be alive at that cultural instant."[28]

Jay Cocks of Time magazine wrote that American Graffiti "reveals a new and welcome depth of feeling. Few films have shown quite so well the eagerness, the sadness, the ambitions and small defeats of a generation of young Americans."[29] A.D. Murphy from Variety felt American Graffiti was a vivid "recall of teenage attitudes and morals, told with outstanding empathy and compassion through an exceptionally talented cast of unknown actors."[30] Dave Kehr, writing in the Chicago Reader, called the film a brilliant work of popular art that redefined nostalgia as a marketable commodity, while establishing a new narrative style.[31]

Themes

The 1962 setting represents an end of an era in American society and pop culture. The musical backdrop also links between the early years of rock and roll in the mid-late 1950s (i.e. Bill Haley & His Comets, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly) and the early 1960s British Invasion. The setting is also before the outbreaks of the Vietnam War and the John F. Kennedy assassination.[5] American Graffiti evokes mankind's relationship with machines, notably the elaborate number of hot rods and teenagers' obsession with radio. The inclusion of Wolfman Jack also adds a mysterious and mythological analysis of teenage life in 1962. American Graffiti depicts multiple characters going through a coming of age, such as the decisions to attend college or reside in a small town.[5]

Awards

American Graffiti was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, but lost to The Sting (1973). Further nominations at the 46th Academy Awards included Best Director (George Lucas), Best Original Screenplay (Lucas, Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz), Best Supporting Actress (Candy Clark) and Best Film Editing (Verna Fields and Marcia Lucas).[32] The film won Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) at the 31st Golden Globe Awards, while Paul Le Mat won Most Promising Newcomer. Lucas was nominated for Best Director and Richard Dreyfuss was nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical.[33] More nominations included Cindy Williams by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for Best Actress in a Supporting Role,[34] Lucas for the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing,[35] and Lucas, Huyck and Katz by the Writers Guild of America for Best Original Comedy.[20]

Legacy

Internet reviewer MaryAnn Johanson acknowledged that American Graffiti rekindled public and entertainment interest in the 1950s and '60s, and influenced other films such as The Lords of Flatbush (1974) and Cooley High (1975) and the TV series Happy Days.[36] Alongside other films from the New Hollywood era, American Graffiti is often cited for helping give birth to the summer blockbuster.[37] The film's box office success made George Lucas an instant millionaire. He gave an amount of the film's profits to Haskell Wexler for his visual consulting help during filming, and to Wolfman Jack for "inspiration". Lucas's net worth was now $4 million, and he set aside a $300,000 independent fund for his long cherished space opera project, which would eventually become the basis for Star Wars (1977).[16]

The financial success of Graffiti also gave Lucas opportunities to establish more elaborate development for Lucasfilm, Skywalker Sound, and Industrial Light & Magic.[22] Based on the success of the 1977 reissue, Universal began production for the sequel More American Graffiti (1979).[2] Lucas and writers Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz later collaborated on Radioland Murders (1994), also released by Universal Pictures, for which Lucas acted as executive producer. The film features characters intended to be Curt and Laurie Henderson's parents, Roger and Penny Henderson.[22] In 1995 American Graffiti was deemed culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.[38] In 1997 the city of Modesto, California honored Lucas with a statue dedication of American Graffiti at George Lucas Plaza.[1]

In 1998 the American Film Institute (AFI) ranked it as the seventy-seventh greatest film ever in the 100 Years... 100 Movies list. When the 10th Anniversary Edition came in June 2007, AFI moved American Graffiti to the sixty-second greatest film.[39] The movie was also listed as the forty-third funniest.[40] Director David Fincher credited American Graffiti as a visual influence for Fight Club (1999).[41] Lucas's Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) features references to the film. The yellow airspeeder that Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi use to pursue the bounty hunter Zam Wesell is based on John Milner's yellow Deuce Coupe,[42] while Dex's Diner is reminiscent of Mel's Drive-In.[43] Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of MythBusters conducted the "rear axle" experiment on the January 11, 2004 episode.[44]

Given the popularity of the film's cars with customizers and hot rodders in the years since its release, their fate immediately after the film is ironic. All were offered for sale in San Francisco newspaper ads; only the '58 Impala (driven by Ron Howard) attracted a buyer, selling for only a few hundred dollars. The yellow Deuce and the white T-bird went unsold, despite being priced as low as US$3,000.[45]

References

  • John Baxter (1999). Mythmaker: The Life and Work of George Lucas. New York City: Spike Books. ISBN 0-380-97833-4. 
  • Marcus Hearn (2005). The Cinema of George Lucas. New York City: ABRAMS Books. ISBN 0-8109-4968-7. 
  • Dale Pollock (1999). Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas. New York City: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80904-4. 
  1. ^ a b c d e f Hearn, pp. 10-11, 42-47
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Baxter, pp. 70, 104, 148, 254
  3. ^ a b c d Hearn, pp. 56-57
  4. ^ a b Baxter, pp. 106-118
  5. ^ a b c d e f (DVD) The Making of American Graffiti. Universal Studios Home Entertainment. 1998. 
  6. ^ a b c Ken Plume (2002-11-11). "An Interview with Gary Kurtz". IGN. http://movies.ign.com/articles/376/376873p1.html. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Hearn, pp. 52-53
  8. ^ a b c d e Hearn, pp. 54-55
  9. ^ Staff (1999-06-19). "A Life Making Movies". Academy of Achievement. http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/luc0int-1. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Pollock, pp. 105-111
  11. ^ a b Baxter, pp. 120-123
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i Baxter, pp. 124-128
  13. ^ a b c d e Hearn, pp. 58-60
  14. ^ Staff (2008-10-17). "The Hardest Working Actors in Showbiz". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20232072,00.html. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Hearn, pp. 61-63
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Hearn, pp. 70-75
  17. ^ a b c Baxter, pp. 129-135
  18. ^ a b c Hearn, pp. 64-66
  19. ^ a b c Hearn, pp. 67-69
  20. ^ a b c d Pollock, pp. 120-128
  21. ^ a b "American Graffiti". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=americangraffiti.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  22. ^ a b c d Hearn, pp. 79-86, 122
  23. ^ "Domestic Grosses Adjusted For Inflation". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/adjusted.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  24. ^ Staff (1997-12-16). "Rental champs: Rate of return". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1116680329. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  25. ^ "American Graffiti (1973)". Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/078322737X. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  26. ^ "American Graffiti / More American Graffiti (Drive-In Double Feature) (1979)". Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000VD128. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  27. ^ "American Graffiti". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/american_graffiti/. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  28. ^ Roger Ebert (1973-08-11). "American Graffiti". Chicago Sun-Times. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19730811/REVIEWS/301010301/1023. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  29. ^ Jay Cocks (1973-08-20). "Fabulous '50s". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,907741,00.html. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  30. ^ A.D. Murphy (1973-06-20). "American Graffiti". Variety. http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117796736. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  31. ^ Dave Kehr. "American Graffiti". Chicago Reader. http://onfilm.chicagoreader.com/movies/capsules/284_AMERICAN_GRAFFITI. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  32. ^ "American Graffiti". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. http://awardsdatabase.oscars.org/ampas_awards/DisplayMain.jsp?curTime=1210371413986. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  33. ^ "The 31st Annual Golden Globe Awards (1974)". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. http://www.goldenglobes.org/browse/year/1973. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  34. ^ "Supporting Actress 1974". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. http://www.bafta.org/awards-database.html?year=1974&category=Film&award=Supporting+Actress. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
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External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

American Graffiti is a 1973 film about a group of high school grads who spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college.

Directed by George Lucas. Written by George Lucas, Gloria Katz, and Willard Huyck.
Where were you in '62?

Contents

Curt Henderson

  • Quick! Hang a right...Cut over to G Street. I just saw a vision! I saw a goddess. Come on, you've got to catch up to her... This was the most perfect, dazzling creature I've ever seen... She spoke to me. She spoke to me right through the window. I think she said, 'I love you.' That means nothing to you people? You have no romance, no soul? She - someone wants me. Someone roaming the streets wants me! Will you turn the corner?

Dialogue

Curt: I don't think I'm gonna be going tomorrow.
Steve: You chicken fink... After all we went through to get accepted? We're finally getting out of this turkey town and now you want to crawl back into your cell - right? You wanna end up like John? You just can't stay seventeen forever.

Curt: Why is it every girl that comes around here is ugly? Or has a boyfriend? Where is the dazzling beauty I've been searching for all my life?
John: I know what you mean. The pickin's are really gettin' slim. The whole strip is shrinking. Ah, you know, I remember about five years ago, take you a couple of hours and a tank full of gas just to make one circuit. It was really somethin'.

Vic: Hey Deb, how's my soft baby?
Debbie: Come on. Beat it, Vic. I'm not your baby.
Vic: Aw come on, honey. Look, so I never called you back. I've been, you know, busy...
Debbie: Yeah, three weeks?...Besides, it only took me one night to realize if brains were dynamite, you couldn't blow your nose.
Vic: Look who's talking. Hey, who's the wimp you're hanging out with now? Einstein?
Debbie: Tiger happens to be very intelligent. Unlike you. I know everything your dirty little mind is thinking [she looks down at his crotch]...it shows.
Terry: Hey now, buddy, look. The lady obviously doesn't want to have to -
Vic: Look, creep, you want a knuckle sandwich?
Terry: Ah, no thanks, I'm waitin' for a double Chubby Chuck...
Vic: Then keep your smart ass mouth shut. Hey, I'll call ya some time, Deb, some night when I'm hard up.
Debbie: I won't be home. [He gives her the finger. She lights a match and flicks it at him as he leaves]
Terry: You seem to know a lot of weird guys.
Debbie: That creep's not a friend of mine. He's just horny. That's why I like you, you're different.
Terry: I-I am? I mean, you really think I'm intelligent?
Debbie: [She drapes her arm around his shoulder] Yeah. And I'll bet you're smart enough to get us some brew. [She kisses him] Yeah.
Terry: Brew?
Debbie: Yeah.
Terry: Liquor? Yeah. Yeah right, liquor. This place is too crowded anyway.

Terry: Pardon me, sir, but I lost my I.D. in... in a flood and I'd like to get some Old Harper, hard stuff. Would you mind buying a bottle for me?
Bum at Liquor Store: Why certainly! I lost my wife, too - her name wasn't Idy, though, and it wasn't in a flood - but I know what ya...
Terry: Thanks, here's enough for a pint.

Terry: You know, I think you're really neat. [lunges at Debbie, kissing her]
Debbie: Wait a second.
Terry: I'm sorry. It's just...
[Debbie takes off her sweater, then grabs him and kisses him, pulling him onto her]

Laurie: You know, it doesn't make sense to leave home to look for home, to give up a life to find a new life, to say goodbye to friends you love just to find new friends.
Steve: Wait a minute. Could you say that again?
Laurie: It's something Curt said.
Steve: Oh, figures. You must've talked his ear off trying to get him to stay.
Laurie: Oh no, Steven. That's not true at all. I didn't say anything. Curt just said at dinner tonight that he didn't see what the big hurry was. He thought that he ought to stick around and go to J.C. for a while, and try and figure out what he wanted to do with his life.
Steve: That sounds logical.
Laurie: Do you think so?
Steve: Sure. I think Curt's probably right for Curt. Not for me, though. [She turns away] Laurie, look at me. Now you know what I want out of life. And it's just not in this town.
Laurie: I'm not going with you to the airport tomorrow.
[they kiss, Steve pressing for more, but Laurie rebuffs him]
Steve: It's our last night together for three months...I'm gonna miss you so much. I need something to remember you by. You don't want me to forget you, do ya?
Laurie: If you're not gonna remember me for anything else, why don't you just go ahead?
Steve: Oh come on, you want it and you know it. Don't be so damn self-righteous with me!
[Laurie kicks him out of her car]

Bob Falfa: Hey man, I'm sorry if I scared ya!
John: You're gonna hafta do one hell of a lot more than that to scare me!
Bob Falfa: Hey I've been lookin' all over for ya man. Didn't nobody tell ya I was lookin' for ya?...Hey, you're supposed to be the fastest thing in the Valley, man, but that can't be your car. It must be your mama's car. I'm sorta embarrassed to be this close to ya.
John: I'm not surprised, drivin' a Field Car.
Bob Falfa: Field Car? What's a Field Car?
John: A Field Car runs through the fields, drops cow shit all over the place to make the lettuce grow.
Bob Falfa: [laughing] That's pretty good. Hey, I like the color of your car there, man. What's that supposed to be? Sorta a cross between Piss Yellow and Puke Green, ain't it?
John: Well, you call that a paint job but it's pretty ugly. I'll betcha you gotta sneak up on the pumps just to get a little air in your tires.
Bob Falfa: Well, at least I don't have to pull over to the side just to let a funeral go by, man.
John: Oh, funny... You know what?
Carol: Your car's uglier than I am! [She turns back to John] That didn't come out right.

Blonde: [on the phone] Curt?
Curt: Yes, yes, this is Curt. Who are you?
Blonde: Who are you expecting?
Curt: Do you drive a white T-bird?
Blonde: A white '56. I saw you on Third Street...
Curt: Who are you? Do you know me?
Blonde: Of course.
Curt: How do you know me?
Blonde: It's not important.
Curt: It's important. It's important to me. You're the most beautiful, exciting thing I've ever seen in my life and I don't know anything about you. Listen, listen, listen, uh, uhm, uh, could we meet someplace?
Blonde: I cruise Third Street. Maybe I'll see you tonight.
Curt: No, I don't think so.
Blonde: Curt...
Curt: Tell me your name, at least tell me your name.
Blonde: Goodbye, Curt.
Curt: Wait a minute. Wait a second. [She hangs up.]

Cast

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

American Graffiti is a 1973 movie directed by George Lucas. This was Lucas' second movie and made him very well known. The events in the movie take place in 1962 in Modesto, California. It is about what happens to a group of teenagers one night while they are driving around town and listening to radio DJ Wolfman Jack.








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