Tag: American Graffiti

15 little-known facts about “American Graffiti” – Joe Lorio

15 little-known facts about “American Graffiti” – Joe Lorio


American Graffiti, the surprise summer blockbuster that ignited the career of filmmaker George Lucas (director and co-screenwriter), is one of the most car-saturated movies that is not explicitly about cars. Set in Modesto, California, at the tail end of summer 1962, it follows the exploits of a quartet of recent high-school grads: college-bound Curt Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss), class president Steve Bolander (Ron Howard), the nerdy Terry the Toad (Charles Martin Smith), and drag-racer John Milner (Paul Le Mat). The action takes place on a single night against a backdrop of endless cruising. Lucas made the movie in 1972, and it was highly autobiographical. In an interview in The New York Times, Lucas said of the film:

It all happened to me, but I sort of glamorized it. I spent four years of my life cruising the main street of my hometown, Modesto, California. I went through all that stuff, drove the cars, bought liquor, chased girls… a very American experience. I started out as Terry the Toad, but then I went on to be John Milner, the local drag race champion, and then I became Curt Henderson, the intellectual who goes to college. They were all composite characters, based on my life, and on the lives of friends of mine. Some were killed in Vietnam, and quite a number were killed in auto accidents

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