Taglines: Where were you in ’62?
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.
American Graffiti is a 1973 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film directed and co-written by George Lucas starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Harrison Ford, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips and Wolfman Jack. Suzanne Somers has a cameo. Set in Modesto, California in 1962, the film is a study of the cruising and rock and roll cultures popular among the post–World War II baby boom generation. The film is told in a series of vignettes, telling the story of a group of teenagers and their adventures over a single evening.
The genesis of American Graffiti was in Lucas’ own teenage years in early 1960s Modesto. He was unsuccessful in pitching the concept to financiers and distributors but found favor at Universal Pictures after United Artists, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Bros., 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.
American Graffiti premiered on August 2, 1973 at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland and was released on August 11, 1973 in the United States. The film received widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Produced on a $777,000 budget, it has become one of the most profitable films 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, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
American Graffiti (1973)
Directed by: George Lucas
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips
Screenplay by: George Lucas, Gloria Katz
Cinematography by: Jan D’Alquen, Ron Eveslage
Film Editing by: Verna Fields, Marcia Lucas, George Lucas
Costume Design by: Aggie Guerard Rodgers
Set Decoration by: Douglas Freeman
Art Direction by: Dennis Lynton Clark
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: August 11, 1973