The early 1970s celebrated the beginning of the 1960s in this ensemble movie about growing up: American Graffiti.
Directed and co-written by George Lucas, the storyline is based on his own experiences growing up in Modesto, California, where the film is set.
It took Lucas many pitches to get the film a green light – turned down by five studios, Universal Pictures finally said yes. Francis Ford Coppola was one of the producers of this film.
The story focuses on Curt, Steve, John and Terry (Toad) as they deal with leaving highschool and moving on with their lives in the summer of 1962. Its about figuring out the next move, going to college, falling in love (lust) and becoming men.
As the four figure out their lives, the poignant writing shows the struggles and decisions made to enter the next phase of their lives.
Lucas chose a unique cast that later became the backbone of 1970s film and television – Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Charles Martin Smith and Paul Le Mat played the four guys, while actresses Mackenzie Phillips, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark and Kathleen Quinlan were co-stars.
Harrison Ford had one of his first acting roles in this film, while Suzanne Somers played the mysterious blonde who was the fixation of Curt.
Made for $775,000 and released in August 1973, this film went on to gross $140,000,000 and was nominated for Best Picture.
Its unique storyline and ensemble cast has made it a gem of the coming of age movie genre, and one of the early successes of George Lucas.