American Graffiti (1973) Movie Review

Director: George Lucas

Writer: George Lucas, Gloria Katz, Willard Huyck (Screenplay)

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

Plot: A couple of high school grads spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun 70’s Comedy

Story: American Graffiti starts in the final day of summer vacation, Curt (Dreyfuss), Steve (Howard), John (Le Mat) and Terry (Smith) are all about to start the next stage of their lives, so before they do they want to spend one last night on the strip of their own town.

Over the night Curt must decide whether he wants to follow through with his college plans, Steve is caught up trying to keep his relationship with Laurie (Williams) together or call it quits before the move, John is facing the reality he isn’t ready to face the future without his friend and Terry is trying to find his cool after getting to look after Steve’s car, trying his luck with the ladies after years of rejection.

Thoughts on American Graffiti

Characters – Curt has always enjoyed his time on the strip, he knows everybody and is one of the most popular guys around, he was due to head of the college, but hasn’t made his mind up yet, despite it needing to be read for his next day, he ends up trying to spend his time chasing a mysterious woman around town all night. Steve has always planned his life out, he is going off to college and he is ready to make his relationship more open while they are separated, here he gets to learn about his relationship even if his best friend might not be joining him in college. John is the friend that has always been known for his ability with cars, he has a reputation around town with the police following him around and now he is starting to see the future where his friends are doing a lot more than him and gets stuck with a younger girl for the night, where he starts to see a brighter side to his future. Terry has always been the butt of most of the jokes between the friends, now he gets Steve’s car to look after he spends the night trying to find himself a woman and impress her with his lines.

PerformancesWhen we look at the cast, Richard Dreyfuss is great through the film showing us a character that can get plenty of laughs and is quick on his feet. Ron Howard brings the character we know him for is always going to be easy for him to play. Paul Le Mat brings the typical bad boy to life that does show how he bought us a level of sympathy to the character. Charles Martin Smith brings the geeky sounding character out which become one of the most popular characters in these teen comedies for years to come.

StoryThe story here follows four friends on the last day of summer before college is due to start, we see how the four have a different adventure on this night, which will help them discover what they want next in their lives. This is a story that shows just how difficult life is when you take the next step, leaving school is one of the first and biggest anybody will take, with the uncertainty being there for everybody involved, part of you will want to stay close to what you already had, while other sides of this will see you wanting to see what is next. This story mixes all of this together through the film with little effort and makes you believe these people could be real, while certain aspects will have dated here, with a new generation, back n the 1970s this would have been the idea of the house party in the 80s or 90s and wild adventure the modern youth would be having.

Comedy The comedy in this film would be right up there with any teen comedies, it would have gotten more laughs for when it was released, rather than the ones you would expect to see now.

SettingsThe film is set in one hang out location known as the strip, this will be the location where we get all the hang outs you would expect for teens in this generation.


Scene of the Movie – Terry’s attempts to get boozes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The world involved does seem to have dated.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful look at teenage life in the 70s it shows us just how close the friendships were, how hard the changes coming were and just what was left for the people in life.

Overall: Beautiful Look at the 70s.

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