- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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American Graffiti-The First Nostalgia Film
- Bruce Reber
"American Graffiti" came out in 1973, just when the massive wave of nostalgia for the past (particularly the 1950's and 60's) hit America. Radio stations were beginning to play "Golden Oldies" (pop music hits of the two mentioned decades), old TV shows were being rerun on local stations, and there was a general fascination for everything that symbolized a more innocent and carefree era. I was 15 years old when this was happening and had just started high school. The Vietnam war was slowly winding down, the Watergate hearings were the hot media event, and the energy crisis was at hand as the Arab oil embargo had begun. In 1962, when AG is set, I was only 4 years old and don't remember a lot of that time (I learned about it later). The Cold War was at its hottest, and in October of '62 the world came within one step of nuclear annihilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis. One year later everything fell apart (the JFK assassination, Vietnam, race riots, civil unrest), and America's uncertain image of itself spawned the counterculture and the "Turn on, tune in, drop out" generation. AG is a look at American life between the conformity of the 50's and the turbulence of the mid and late 60's. I like the old rock songs playing all during the film , DJ Wolfman Jack, the cars (cruising the boulevard and drag racing), fashions and hairstyles. They capture the early 60's atmosphere perfectly. The cast is awesome, with many stars-to-be, i.e. Ron Howard (on TV in Happy Days and as film director), Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Close Encounters of The Third Kind, and an Oscar win for The Goodbye Girl), Harrison Ford (The Star Wars series and Raiders of the Lost Ark and its sequels) and Cindy Williams (on TV in Laverne and Shirley). There was a 1979 sequel, "More American Graffiti", but I never saw it and they say it wasn't nearly as good as AG. Director George Lucas made an obscure sci-fi film titled "THX 1138" in 1971. Please show it again TCM, I'd like to see it again.
- Dashiell Barnes
An wildly entertaining film from George Lucas. Impressive performances from little known stars Howard, Dreyfuss, Quinland, Phillips & Clark, the latter in a nominated supporting performance. A meticulously recreation of the early 60's adds colour to this coming-of-age film. A great predocessor to Lucas' "Star Wars." I give it a 4.5/5.
- Jeff Boston
Oscar nominated for Picture and Director, "American Graffiti" was "boss" at the box office because of the neverending pop music, likeable characters, authenticity, and America's hunger to be transported back 11 years to 1962. The year Lucas' "look back" is set was the last year before our country entered the Cynical Age, which has seemingly reached the point of permanence in our degraded culture. I liked the scenes with "The Toad," especially the liquor store antics. The woods scene and the conversation before it speaks of Vietnam, as does two of the four one-line bios at the film's conclusion.
George Lucas' best movie?
This movie provides lots of nostalgia for a more innocent era prior to events such as the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam war, turbulent later 60's, etc. Really a great time capsule to that era with the sights and sounds of a more naive, but innocent and hopeful as well youth just before the world seemed to explode for those of the baby boom generation. This movie is fun and entertaining like Star Wars and in many ways better (without special effects) and is Lucas' adult non Sci-Fi movie (if a high school senior view of the world can be called that), whereas Star Wars is a true kids movie. Even though Star Wars is great (especially episodes 4 & 5) I wish Lucas had made more movies like this one.....
Where were you in '62?
A day (and night) in the life of a group of California teens in the summer of 1962. Steve (Ron Howard) and Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) are about to leave for college but aren't quite ready for adulthood. Joinig this group are hot rodder Paul LeMat who has not only been challanged by rival hot rodder Harrison Ford, but has to deal with a motor-mouth 13 year old girl (McKenzie Phillips). Geeky Toad (Charles Martin Smith) thinks he got lucky by "watching" Steve's 1958 Chevy Impala as well as picking up a not too bright girl with a "reputation"(Candy Clark). Steve and girlfriend Laurie (Cindy Williams) don't want to leave each other just yet. Curt goes on a wild pursuit for a mysterious blonde in a 1955 Ford Thunderbird (Suzanne Sommers). Lots of cruising and a lot of good, old time rock and roll punctuated by Wolfman Jack. For many, this will bring back a lot of memories. For everybody else, just sit back and enjoy.