Welcome to LucasFan's tribute to George Lucas' first masterpiece, American Graffiti, and its sequel: More American Graffiti.

1973's American Graffiti was George Lucas's blessing.  Two years earlier he made THX-1138, and when that movie failed miserably at the box office, George Lucas thought he'd never be able to show his face in Hollywood again.

But Francis Ford Coppola gave him another chance.  He was to write and direct the low-budget comedy/drama American Graffiti.  With the modest $750,000 budget the film ended up grossing $115 million domestically, with an additional $55 million in video rentals.

American Graffiti was an enormous success, and garnered Lucas his first Academy Award nomination.  It also paved the way for Star Wars, because nobody would have granted him the money needed to produce it before.

American Graffiti, set on an evening in 1962, is the story of Curt Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss) and Steve Bolander (Ron Howard) and their friends.  Both are going to college the next morning, and are going out for one more night of fun.  Both have slight doubts about going to college, and their thoughts evolve into their final decision for the next morning.
With its ensemble cast, each character has his own 'storyline' for the night.  Curt sees a beautiful girl (played by Suzanne Somers) in a car who whispers 'I love you' to him.  Curt decides that seeing her again is his destiny, and goes to search for her the entire night.  John Milner (Paul LeMat) is stuck with a young teenage girl named Carol (Mackenzie Phillips), and gets into a drag-race with Bob Falfa (Harrison Ford).  Steve, Laurie (Cindy Williams), Debbie (Candy Clark), Joe (Bo Hopkins), and Terry (Charles Martin Smith) all cruise through town all night while listening to radio legend Wolfman Jack introduce some of the most famous tunes of the 50's and 60's.

In 1979, George Lucas wrote a sequel (with original A.G. scribes Willar Huyck and Gloria Katz) titled More American Graffiti.  The movie focused on 4 nights instead of one: New Year's Eve 1964, New Year's Eve 1965, New Year's Eve 1966, and New Year's Eve 1967. It involved four storylines (one for each year) following the lives of John, Debbie, Steve, Laurie, and Terry. Indeed, all main actors from the original, (even Bo Hopkins, Harrison Ford, and Wolfman Jack) excluding Richard Dreyfuss, returned for the sequel.

The 1964 storyline followed John Milner.  He is a professional racer in the race of his life, when he meets a girl and falls in love with her.  He is unsure of his future, until it ends in tragedy.  The 1965 storyline involves Terry in Vietnam.  He is trying to get away from the war, when he is called to a battle.  '66 is about Debbie, set in the hippy-age.  Debbie's boyfriend is arrested (by officer Bob Falfa, once again played by Harrison Ford), and Debbie is out to save him and get him a job with a band.  Finally, the most optimistic story is that of Steve and Laurie in 1967.  They are arguing and ready to divorce over a minor argument, when Laurie decides to leave and accidentally gets mixed up in an anti-war movement.

More American Graffiti didn't perform.  With a minor $8 million dollar gross (the first one grossed well over $100 million), the film was deemed a failure. Why wouldn't people go see this film? In part it may be due to the experimental filmmaking methods, but mostly it was because of the fact that the 50's and 60's have had fluctuating popularity.  1979 was just before the 80's, and with sci-fi hits such as Star Wars, movie-goers were ready to look into the future, rather than the past.

But don't let this statistic discourage you.  More American Graffiti is not a bad film.  It may not be as good as the first film, but it's still a great film that's worth watching, even just to see what happened to the gang in later years.


Updates

2004: American Graffiti and More American Graffiti are now available on DVD together for a low price! See 'misc' for more!

12/15/99: American Graffiti trailer video added to miscellaneous section

01/27/99: Candy Clark's 'official' website link added to 'miscellaneous'

12/10/98: site created