It is the summer of 1962 and a group of teenage friends have reached a point of decision. High school is over and they are in that uncertain time of trying to decide what to do, where to go and what to leave behind. Their old habits are still there, so they hang out at the drive-in diner and cruise their main street. A wide variety of teen personalities are portrayed, from those making decisions about college to the ace mechanic driving the hottest car. None of them wants the night to end, as it will literally and figuratively be the end of high school. It was a time of extreme innocence, no better illustrated than when some girls trick the ace mechanic into letting a very young girl ride with him. Girls hop in a car with strange guys without a second thought. As the night wears on, each teen must make decisions about the here and now, but also about what is to come. When I was young, we drove up and down First Avenue and referred to it as "bombing the avenue." What makes this movie so appealing and why all of my friends went to see it several times is that all teens can relate to it, as we all went through those moments of anxiety during and after high school. Our worlds were changing rapidly and it was a time when significant decisions had to be made. Watching it decades after I left high school, it brought back many memories of that time. Most of them were fond, but others tug at the strings of regret.
I was still in college when "American Graffiti" hit the silver screen way back in 1973. The first time I saw it I was absolutely captivated! Set in Southern California in 1962 "American Graffiti" follows the exploits of a group of teenagers who are "cruising" around town on a warm summer night. George Lucas assembled a young and talented cast for this film including Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Candy Clark, Cindy Williams, MacKenzie Phillips … more
This movie never gets dated and has an all-star cast, many of whom were first starting their movie careers. Richard Dreyfuss was great and reminded me of several people I went to high school with. His search for the mysterious blonde in the car (Suzanne Sommers) is something that many males must have gone through.On the eve of graduation, seniors prepare for a high school dance. The plot seems to revolve Ron Howard and Cindy Williams relationship problems. Though they had different names, they seemed … more
I saw this film and Diner (1982) when each was first released and have since followed with interest the subsequent careers of their youthful lead actors, notably Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Charles Martin Smith and Cindy Williams in American Graffiti and Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Ellen Barkin, and Paul Reiser in Diner. Separated by nine years, the two films offer informative as well as entertaining perspectives on their respective youth cultures. George Lucas … more
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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AMERICAN GRAFFITI presents a powerful collage of youth on the brink of maturity just before the assassination of J.F.K.. Based on George Lucas's own teenage hot-rodding days in Modesto, California, this brilliant, bittersweet comedy inspired numerous other productions, including the long-running TV series HAPPY DAYS. Lucas's second feature film (following THX 1138), AMERICAN GRAFFITI contains an early screen appearance by Harrison Ford, who would figure heavily in the director's next movie, the sci-fi epic STAR WARS. The film follows one night in the lives of several recently graduated high school students. The genial Steve (Ron Howard) prepares to leave for college the next day, and Laurie (Cindy Williams), his girlfriend, is upset by his impending departure. Laurie's brother, Curt (Richard Dreyfuss), the class intellectual, is also slated for college, but he has serious doubts about his future. Also included here are the hopeless nerd (Charles Mar...