American Graffiti, released in 1973, is a coming of age film. I was surprised that George Lucas was the director and co-writer. I associate him with Star Wars, not coming of age. Well maybe coming of age, but in space. I’m learning from my movie project that I don’t know a whole lot about the movie business. Now I’m paying attention to directors, producers, and writers and not just with movies on this list. Only time will tell if I learn anything.
This film includes so many talented actors at a young age. The cast includes: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Harrison Ford, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips, and Suzanne Somers has a small role. In case you missed her, she’s the blond in the T-bird.
I read that the film only cost $775,000 to make (that doesn’t sound cheap to me) but when it was released it was a hit and has made more than $200 million. Now that’s a profit! It didn’t happen overnight, but still impressive.
Its set in Modesto, California in 1962 and it’s about a culture I really know nothing about. During my teen years, I didn’t cruise my town and listen to rock and roll. Some of you may wonder what I did do. To be honest, I was a quiet teen. I read a lot and watched movies.
There are several stories occurring in the film. It’s more like short character studies that come together in the end—mostly. It starts off slow and stays that way for most of the film. There’s some tension, a little action, but it still comes across subtly.
At first I wasn’t sure what to think of the film. Like I said, I couldn’t relate to the culture. I grew up in the 80s. But I love characters and this film has many of them. Once I got past the whole, “What’s this about? They just keep driving up and down the road” feeling, I settled into the movie.
What did the boys think:
It was nominated for Best Picture, but The Sting won, which isn’t on my top 100 list. As for me, I give it a thumbs up. If you watch it, be patient. It sucks you in slowly.
Up next: Sullivan’s Travels. I’m having issues tracking down a copy.