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American Graffiti Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

It's the last night of summer 1962, and the teenagers of Modesto, California, want to have some fun before adult responsibilities close in. Among them are Steve (Ron Howard) and Curt (Richard Dreyfuss), college-bound with mixed feelings about leaving home; nerdy Terry "The Toad" (Charles Martin Smith), who scores a dream date with blonde Debbie (Candy Clark); and John (Paul Le Mat ), a 22-year-old drag racer who wonders how much longer he can stay champion and how he got stuck with 13-year-old Carol (Mackenzie Phillips) in his deuce coupe. As D. J. Wolfman Jack spins 41 vintage tunes on the radio throughout the night, Steve ponders a future with girlfriend Laurie (Cindy Williams), Curt chases a mystery blonde, Terry tries to act cool, and Paul prepares for a race against Bob Falfa (Harrison Ford), but nothing can stop the next day from coming, and with it the vastly different future ushered in by the 1960s. Fresh off The Godfather (1972), producer Francis Ford Coppola had the clout to get his friend George Lucas's project made, but only for $750,000 on a 28-day shooting schedule. Despite technical obstacles, and having to shoot at night, cinematographer Haskell Wexler gave the film the neon-lit aura that Lucas wanted, evoking the authentic look of a suburban strip to go with the authentic sound of rock-n-roll. Universal, which wanted to call the film Another Slow Night in Modesto, thought it was unreleasable. But Lucas' period detail, co-writers Willard Huyck's and Gloria Katz's realistic dialogue, and the film's nostalgia for the pre-Vietnam years apparently appealed to a 1973 audience embroiled in cultural chaos: American Graffiti became the third most popular movie of 1973 (after The Exorcist and The Sting), establishing the reputations of Lucas (whose next film would be Star Wars) and his young cast, and furthering the onset of soundtrack-driven, youth-oriented movies. Although the film helped spark 1970s nostalgia for the 1950s, nothing else would capture the flavor of the era with the same humorous candor and latent sense of foreboding. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

  • Release date:August 1, 1973

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Marcia Lucas Best Editing 1973 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Verna Fields Best Editing 1973 Nominee
New York Film Critics Circle Willard Huyck Best Screenplay 1973 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Willard Huyck Best Original Screenplay 1973 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Candy Clark Best Supporting Actress 1973 Nominee
New York Film Critics Circle George Lucas Best Screenplay 1973 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association George Lucas Best Director 1973 Nominee
Directors Guild of America George Lucas Best Director 1973 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences George Lucas Best Original Screenplay 1973 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences George Lucas Best Director 1973 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Richard Dreyfuss Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1973 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Paul Le Mat New Star of the Year - Male 1973 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Francis Ford Coppola Best Picture 1973 Nominee
New York Film Critics Circle Gloria Katz Best Screenplay 1973 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Gloria Katz Best Original Screenplay 1973 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Gary Kurtz Best Picture 1973 Nominee

Cast

Richard Dreyfuss
as Curt Henderson
Ron Howard
as Steve Bolander
Paul Le Mat
as John Milner
Charles Martin Smith
as Terry Fields
Cindy Williams
as Laurie
Candy Clark
as Debbie
Wolfman Jack
as Disc Jockey - Himself
Bo Hopkins
as Joe
Lynne Stewart
as Bobbie
Al Nalbandian
as Hank
Christopher Pray
as Al
Debbie Celiz
as Wendy
Debra Scott
as Falfa's Girl
Ed Greenberg
as Kip Pullman
Harrison Ford
as Bob Falfa
Joe Spano
as Vic
Kathleen Quinlan
as Peg
Suzanne Somers
as Blonde in Thunderbird
Mackenzie Phillips
as Carol
Del Close
as Man at Bar
Ron Vincent
as Jeff Pazzuto
Scott Beach
as Mr. Gordon
Beau Gentry
as Ants
Terry McGovern
as Mr. Wolfe
James Cranna
as Thief
Jan Wilson
as Girl
Jana Bellan
as Budda
Jim Bohan
as Policeman Holstein
John Bracci
as Gas Station Attendant
John Brent
as Car Salesman
Joseph Miksak
as Man

Crew

George Lucas
Director
Francis Ford Coppola
Producer
Gloria Katz
Screenwriter
George Lucas
Screenwriter
Willard Huyck
Screenwriter
Ron Everslage
Cinematographer
Jan D'Alquen
Cinematographer
Haskell Wexler
Cinematographer
Marcia Lucas
Editor
Verna Fields
Editor
Gary Kurtz
Co-producer
Aggie Guerard Rodgers
Costume Designer
Walter Murch
Sound/Sound Designer
Ned Kopp
First Assistant Director
Orin Borsten
Publicist
Bette Iverson
Key Hairstylist
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