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.
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.
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