It's the proverbial end of the summer 1962 in a small southern California town. It's the evening before best friends and recent high school graduates, Curt Henderson and Steve Bolander, are scheduled to leave town to head to college back east. Curt, who received a lucrative local scholarship, is seen as the promise that their class holds. But Curt is having second thoughts about leaving what Steve basically sees as their dead end town. Curt's beliefs are strengthened when he spots an unknown beautiful blonde in a T-bird who mouths the words "I love you" to him. As Curt tries to find that blonde while trying to get away from a local gang who have him somewhat hostage, Curt may come to a decision about his immediate future. Outgoing class president Steve, on the other hand, wants to leave, despite meaning that he will leave girlfriend, head cheerleader and Curt's sister, Laurie Henderson, behind. Steve and Laurie spend the evening "negotiating" the state of their relationship. Meanwhile...Written by
The film was briefly considered to be released as a TV movie as studio executives felt the film's lack of stars (at the time) and unconventional story structure made it unmarketable. See more »
The 55 Chevy that rolled was not the same car that was being driven. For one thing, the engine is missing. See more »
Hey, what do you say, Curt? Last night in town... you guys gonna have a little bash before you leave?
The Moose have been looking for you all day.
[hands a check to Curt]
They got worried... thought you were trying to avoid them or something.
What is it? What do ya got?
That's $2,000 man! Two thousand dollars!
Mr. Jennings gave it to me to give to you. He says he's sorry it's so late, but it's the first scholarship the Moose Lodge has given out. And he, uh, says they're ...
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Worded epilogues prior to the credits shows what happen to the characters following the movie. While this has since become commonplace in films, it was considered innovative at the time. See more »
Most TV versions include audible dialogue in the scene where Steve and Budda are sitting together inside the drive-in with Laurie looking in through the window. Budda can be heard asking, "Why not?" at one point and, "Hey listen, if you think I'm chasing you again," just before she says, "This time it would be just for fun. OK?" This added dialogue is not present in any of the video releases, nor is it present in the DVD. See more »
While born three years after the events in the film, I could still relate to the plight of being a teenager on the threshold to adult life. I think it takes a pretty insensitive person not to be captivated by this excellent movie (boring? - because just one car blew up, or what?!). This was the 3rd or 4th time I saw it, and it is just getting better. It is unusual to see filmmaking of this caliber coming from Hollywood (not least when considering Lucas' latest offering - blech!), but like movies like "The Year My Voice Broke" and "My Life as a Dog", "American Graffiti" tells us something about where we came from, without being dull or preachy. ***½ out of ****
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