On the last day of summer vacation in 1962, friends Curt (Richard Dreyfuss), Steve (Ron 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.
Co-written/directed by George Lucas, and co-starring Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips and Harrison Ford.
American Graffiti was a compilation of pop culture, a harbinger of political changes, and the birth of an era! Set in a small town in Southern California where people are happy, but not happy enough to want to stay the same. The constant bond throughout the film is Wolfman Jack, the “supercool” disc jockey who creates a thousand different images of himself just by virtue of what he says on the radio. He is illuminating as well as socially influential to a bunch of naive teenagers. The music in this movie is extremely entertaining, as it signifies the end of one way of life and the beginning of another.
The couples that are paired off in this movie homogenize the attitudes and aspirations of these precocious 1962 teenagers, who are on the verge of growing up. All of the characters in this film have their eyes on change – with the freedom of the sixties existing not just because the radical aspect of the decade, but also, because locking horns with the authority figures is not second nature to them. American Graffiti casts the promise of new social norms that would change all Americans. This movie superbly exemplifies the phrase “The calm before the storm” and gives the entire movie audience a crystal ball into the bittersweet realization that everyone has a role to play in creating a new world. Director George Lucas has never been better. The cast is sensational and the film’s unassuming demeanor surprisingly captures a snapshot of a unique American era.