American Graffiti

Critics Consensus

One of the most influential of all teen films, American Graffiti is a funny, nostalgic, and bittersweet look at a group of recent high school grads' last days of innocence.

96%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 52

84%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 64,615

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Movie Info

On the last day of summer vacation in 1962, friends Curt (Richard Dreyfuss), Steve (Ronny Howard), Terry (Charles Martin Smith) and John (Paul Le Mat) cruise the streets of small-town California while a mysterious disc jockey (Wolfman Jack) spins classic rock'n'roll tunes. It's the last night before their grown-up lives begin, and Steve's high-school sweetheart, a hot-to-trot blonde, a bratty adolescent and a disappearing angel in a Thunderbird provide all the excitement they can handle.

Cast & Crew

Richard Dreyfuss
Curt Henderson
Ron Howard
Steve Bolander
Paul Le Mat
John Milner
Charles Martin Smith
Terry "The Toad" Fields
Cindy Williams
Laurie Henderson
Candy Clark
Debbie Dunham
Wolfman Jack
Disk Jockey
Jan D'Alquen
Cinematographer
Ron Eveslage
Cinematographer
Verna Fields
Film Editor
Marcia Lucas
Film Editor
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News & Interviews for American Graffiti

Critic Reviews for American Graffiti

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (50) | Rotten (2)

  • The movie is a comic poem which celebrates the past but also catalogues its textures with telling precision. American Graffiti looks like no other movie, an achievement which is always the best measure of a truly gifted director.

    August 1, 2017 | Full Review…
  • This superb and singular film catches not only the charm and tribal energy of the teen-age 1950s but also the listlessness and the resignation that underscored it all like an incessant bass line in one of the rock-'n'-roll songs of the period.

    July 7, 2014 | Full Review…
  • There is brilliant interplaying and underplaying, of script, performers and direction which will raise howls of laughter from audiences, yet never descends on the screen to overdone mugging, pratfall and other heavy-handed devices normally employed.

    June 27, 2007 | Full Review…

    A.D. Murphy

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • A brilliant work of popular art, it redefined nostalgia as a marketable commodity and established a new narrative style, with locale replacing plot, that has since been imitated to the point of ineffectiveness.

    June 27, 2007 | Full Review…
  • The film that launched a thousand careers.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • American Graffiti acts almost as a milestone to show us how far (and in many cases how tragically) we have come.

    October 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for American Graffiti

  • Jan 15, 2017
    Thankfully there is no where near as much empty headed nostalgia as I had suspected. That George Lucas could craft something of such deep emotional complexity will never cease to amaze me.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 15, 2015
    Proof that George Lucas can direct a great movie that isn't Star Wars or a Sci-Fi flick.
    Kameron W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 06, 2013
    My favorite George Lucas film, "American Graffiti" nails youthful nostalgia almost perfectly, with believably charming, yet confused characters, an incredible, almost omnipresent soundtrack, and great car-based visuals which are trance-inducing as well as useful in placing audiences firmly within the strangely familiar world of teenagers in 1962.
    Sam B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 12, 2013
    In 'American Graffiti,' George Lucas effectively captures teenage life before the Vietnam War came about. His episodic approach lends the film a sort of Altman-esque vibe that makes the misadventures of each character feel as genuine as they do. Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Paul Le Mat and Charles Martin Smith are formidable in their roles and their performances make the ending feel that much more authentic.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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