American Graffiti

Satisfactory Essays
American Graffiti

AMERICAN GRAFFITI was released in 1973 without much fanfare, but it quickly touched a nerve with movie audiences everywhere. There was something about this look back to a summer night in a small California town in 1962 that made moviegoers nostalgic for a time of innocence, of romance, and of uncharted possibilities.

There was something for everyone in that film - whether it was a character you identified with, or the cars and the music - that wonderful music! - brought back so many memories.

The story by Lucas is based upon his own experiences growing up and cruisin' the streets while listening to Wolfman Jack spin his vinyl discs on the radio.

This autobiographical touch, and the documentary style gives the film an emotional focus and depth that never goes out of style - and that is why the film still touches audiences today.

Many people have commented on the ingenious use of top rock-n-roll hits that Lucas incorporated into the fabric of the film. But did you know that the reason this was done was because the budget on the film was so small that the filmmakers literally could not afford an original score?

The film's cast is nothing short of amazing - Richard Dreyfus, Cindy Williams, Ron Howard, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips, Charles Martin Smith, Paul Le Mat, Kathleen Quinlan, Suzanne Sommers, and another young actor named Harrison Ford. The film caught these young performers right on the cusp of stardom, and this was the film that truly established their careers. Their youth and vitality give AMERICAN GRAFFITI a raw energy that simply ignites the screen.

AMERICAN GRAFFITI was more than just a box office hit - it was a critical hit as well. The film went on to earn five Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Best Story & Screenplay (based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published) and Best Editing. Candy Clark, by the way, did win the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Debbie.

Just recently, the American Film Institute selected AMERICAN GRAFFITI as one of the best 100 films ever made.

Other notable awards include a Golden Globe Award for Best Picture and Most Promising Newcomer (male) for Paul Le Mat; a Bronze Leopard awarded by the Locarno International Film Festival to George Lucas; the National Society of Film Critics gave Williard Huyck, Gloria Katz and George Lucas their award for best screenplay; and the National Film Preservation Board added AMERICAN GRAFFITI to the National Film Registry in 1995.
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