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American Graffiti is a 1973 coming of age film co-written/directed by George Lucas starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Harrison Ford, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark and Mackenzie Phillips. Set in 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 was in 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 done in Petaluma.

American Graffiti was released to universal critical acclaim and financial success, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Produced on a $775,000 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, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Plot

In the late summer of 1962, recent high school graduates and longtime friends Curt Henderson and Steve Bolander meet John Milner and Terry "The Toad" Fields at the local Mel's Drive-In parking lot. Despite receiving a $2,000 scholarship from the local Moose lodge, Curt is undecided if he wants to leave the next morning with Steve to go to the Northeastern United States to begin college. 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.

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. After leaving the hop, Curt is desperate to find the mysterious blonde, but is coerced 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 back 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 following a series of arguments, and Milner inadvertently picks up Carol, an annoying teenybopper who seems fond of him. Toad, who is normally socially inept with girls, meets a flirtatious and somewhat rebellious girl named Debbie. 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 he assumes to be the manager. Curt hands the man a message for The Blonde to call him or meet him. As he walks away, Curt hears the voice of The Wolfman and, seeing him broadcasting, 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 handsome but arrogant Bob Falfa, with Laurie as Falfa's passenger. Within seconds Falfa loses control of his car after blowing a front tire, plunges into a ditch and rolls his car. 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, gazing out of the window, sees the white Ford Thunderbird belonging to the mysterious Blonde.

Prior to the end credits, an on-screen epilogue reveals that John was killed by a drunk driver in December 1964, Terry was reported missing in action near An Lộc in December 1965, Steve is an insurance agent in Modesto, California, and Curt is a writer living in Canada.

Cars in Movie

  • 1958 Austin Healey Sprite
  • 1954 Buick Special
  • 1962 Buick Special
  • 1962 Buick Special Skylark
  • 1960 Cadillac Sedan Deville
  • 1939 Chevy
  • 1951 Chevy
  • 1953 Chevy Bel Air
  • 1954 Chevy Bel Air
  • 1955 Chevy Bel Air
  • 1957 Chevy Bel Air
  • 1958 Chevy Bel Air
  • 1955 Chevy Bel Air Nomad
  • 1956 Chevy Bel Air Nomad
  • 1954 Chevy Bel Air Townsman
  • 1959 Chevy Biscayne
  • 1960 Chevy Biscayne
  • 1960 Chevy Corvair
  • 1953 Chevy Corvette
  • 1961 Chevy Corvette
  • 1960 Chevy Impala
  • 1962 Chevy Impala
  • 1955 Chevy One-Fifty
  • 1956 Chevy One-Fifty
  • 1957 Chevy One-Fifty Handyman
  • 1956 Chevy Two-Ten
  • 1957 Chevy Two-Ten
  • 1954 Chrysler WIndsor
  • 1967 Citroën 2CV AZA
  • 1956 De Soto Firedome
  • 1952 Dodge B-Series
  • 1950 Dodge Coronet
  • 1958 Edsel Corsair
  • 1956 Ford Country Squire
  • 1939 Ford Custom
  • 1949 Ford Custom
  • 1959 Ford Custom
  • 1958 Ford Custom 300
  • 1941 Ford De Luxe
  • 1961 Ford Econoline
  • 1953 Ford F-100
  • 1955 Ford Fairlane
  • 1956 Ford Fairlane
  • 1957 Ford Fairlane
  • 1956 Ford Fairlane Victoria
  • 1960 Ford Falcon
  • 1961 Ford Galaxie
  • 1958 Ford Ranch Wagon
  • 1956 Ford Thunderbird
  • 1932 Ford V8
  • 1935 Ford V8
  • 1936 Ford V8
  • 1939 Ford V8 De Luxe
  • 1948 GM Pickup
  • 1952 Hudson Hornet
  • 1960 Imperial LeBaron
  • 1960 Jaguar Mk.II
  • 1961 Lincoln Continental
  • 1962 Mercury Comet
  • 1949 Mercury Coupe
  • 1940 Mercury Eight
  • 1956 Mercury Montclair
  • 1949 Mercury Sport Coupe
  • 1949 Mercury Station Wagon
  • 1962 Oldsmobile F-85
  • 1957 Oldsmobile Starfire 98
  • 1959 Oldsmobile Super 88
  • 1959 Piaggio Vespa GS 160
  • 1946 Plymouth De Luxe
  • 1959 Plymouth Fury
  • 1949 Plymouth Special De Luxe
  • 1961 Pontiac Bonneville
  • 1957 Pontiac Chieftain Catalina
  • 1961 Rambler Classic
  • 1962 Rambler Classic
  • 1960 Rambler Six Cross Country
  • 1960 Rambler Six Super
  • 1962 Studebaker Lark Cruiser
  • 1962 Studebaker Lark Daytona
  • 1955 Studebaker President State
  • 1960 Valiant V-200
  • 1963 Volkswagen Convertible (Typ 1)
  • 1962 Volkswagen Sun-Roof Sedan (Typ 1)