“Where were you in 62?” asked the ads for this irresistible jukebox nostalgia trip. In 1962 George Lucas was 18 and about to leave Modesto, California. American Graffiti taps into the loss, anxiety and exhilaration of moving on, as well as waxing nostalgic for teenage courtship and early rock n roll, America before the fall… Even if the idea of cruising Main Street in a souped up hot rod grooving to Wolfman Jack seems like a galaxy far, far away now, this is easily Lucas’s warmest and most emotional film, and one of the funniest comedies of the 70s.
A box office smash, it came too late to save the Universal youth unit which had also produced The Hired Hand, The Last Movie, and Two-Lane Blacktop. For Lucas, though, it laid the foundation to get his dream project made… (Look out for Harrison Ford in a small role.)
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 incessent bass line in of the rock-n-roll songs of the period.
Jay Cocks, Time magazine
July 30 Only: Introduction from filmmaker and programmer Natalie Murao
Aug 1 Only: Introduction from filmmaker Devan Scott
Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Candy Clark, Cindy Williams, Charles Martin Smith, Harrison Ford
Francis Ford Coppola
George Lucas, Gloria Katz, Willard Huyck
Jan D’Alquen, Ron Eveslage
Verna Fields, Marcia Lucas
More Films in This Series
Dog Day Afternoon
Based on a true story of a New York bank robbery which turned into a hostage siege (and a media spectacle), Sidney Lumet's gripping movie showcases a bravura performance from Al Pacino as the homosexual, married, unhappy, decent, confused bank robber.
The biggest hit from the 70s phase of Brian De Palma's career, Carrie takes Stephen King's horror novel about a troubled telekinetic teen and weaves it into a purely cinematic rhapsody of angst and (retali-)elation, what Pauline Kael termed "a terrifyingly lyrical thriller".
All the President's Men
This gripping account of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's investigation into the Watergate break-in is a masterclass of cinematic craft from director Alan J Pakula (Klute; The Parallax View) and DP Gordon Willis (The Godfather).
The Parallax View
The most lucid and ingenious, the most deeply, creepily satisfying of paranoia thrillers, Alan J. Pakula's film posits an assassination corporation. Reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) is on to Them, or so he believes…