American Graffiti

Release Date: September 21st, 2001

DVD Release Date: September 16th, 1998

PG |1 hr 50 min

Plot Summary

On the last day of summer vacation in 1962, friends Curt (Richard Dreyfuss), Steve (Ronny Howard), Terry (Charles Martin Smith) and John (Paul Le Mat) cruise the streets of small-town California while a mysterious disc jockey (Wolfman Jack) spins classic rock'n'roll tunes. It's the last night before their grown-up lives begin, and Steve's high-school sweetheart, a hot-to-trot blonde, a bratty adolescent and a disappearing angel in a Thunderbird provide all the excitement they can handle.

Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips, Wolfman Jack

Director: George Lucas

Genres: Comedy drama

Production Co: Lucasfilm Ltd., Universal Pictures, Coppola Company

Distributors: Universal Pictures

Keywords: Growing up , Amusing , Friendship , Pursuit , Love , Car , Endearing , 1960s , Cool , Girlfriend ,

Ratings & Reviews

  • 100
    The Hollywood Reporter

    The ingeniously structured screenplay by Katz, Huyck and Lucas offers up a load of wonderful characters who whirl about in ducktail haircuts and shirtwaist dresses, lost in the obscenity of American culture. Thanks to some of the most spirited, daffy dialogue since Lubitsch, their sweetness is deliriously funny. No matter how high the dramatic stakes become, the movie never loses its sense of humor, and although it has a lot to say, it's gloriously free of pretensions. show more

  • 80

    There's a sense of beauty and dread that's cleverly injected into George Lucas' American Graffiti, a tone poem and ode to the music, cars and culture of the early '60s. On one level, the film is a staggeringly thoughtful slice of Americana – one night in the eyes of several young teens looking for love, adventure and fun. But on another level, there's a genuine sense of apprehension. The world is quickly catching up to our heroes, and soon they'll be flung head-first into Vietnam, the hippie movement, and a social revolution show more

  • 100
    Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times

    On the surface, Lucas has made a film that seems almost artless; his teenagers cruise Main Street and stop at Mel’s Drive-In and listen to Wolfman Jack on the radio and neck and lay rubber and almost convince themselves their moment will last forever. But the film’s buried structure shows an innocence in the process of being lost, and as its symbol Lucas provides the elusive blonde in the white Thunderbird -- the vision of beauty always glimpsed at the next intersection, the end of the next street. show more

See all critic reviews on


Nominated Directing
Nominated Writing (Story and Screenplay - Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced)
Nominated Film Editing
Nominated Best Picture
Winner Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Nominated Best Director - Motion Picture
Nominated Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Nominated Supporting Actress
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1975)
Nominated Actress in a Supporting Role