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“American Graffiti” (1973, George Lucas)

Updated: Apr 1, 2021


“American Graffiti” is a 1973 comedy film that was directed by George Lucas and starred Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat and Charles Martin Smith. The setting, time and place where the story took place was during the summer of 1962, where four young adults were spending their last night together before three of the four left for college or to be in the workforce. On their last nights, the four boys lived their evenings to the fullest, where they cruised the strip, ate at the drive in and had affairs with girls.


Kurt was originally going to go to college, but he chose not to because he wanted to be around his family and friends. He spent the night tracking down a white 1956 Ford Thunderbird that’s driven by a girl that he fell in love instantly. Steve and his girlfriend, Lori were spending their last night together before Steve left for college. Throughout their journey, Steve and Lori had a very good relationship with one another throughout until Steve made her upset by bringing up a breakup to the table. Throughout their last great night, various clips were used by Lucas of how the four guys enjoyed their time by cruising the strip, meeting girls, trying to get drunk, avoiding trouble avoiding death and many other rights of passage.


Additionally, there were several instances of reckless teenage behavior throughout the movie. The first instance was that Terry was trying to buy liquor, but he was too young and had no ID, so he asked a gentleman if he could buy the liquor for him. It turns out, the gentleman was robbing the store, so he gave him the liquor. The store owner shot at the robber and viewers did not know what even happened to the robber following the incident. Additionally, there were lots of instances when the four boys were driving erratically and causing misdemeanor like crimes. There was some drag racing, vandalism, breakups, hookups and arguments. By splitting the story into several sections of characters, Lucas was able to show they grew, changed and went into various different directions over the course of just one night.


George Lucas’s film was a big success because this can be relatable to so many teenagers after their senior year of high school. The unique action shots of the cars cruising around the strip and everyone living their life to the fullest before they moved onto the next part of their lives, which is enjoyable to watch. Overall, this is a fantastic film that viewers can relate to themselves of their experiences across generations of people of having a fun time.

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