American Graffiti (1973)

Ads for this coming-of-age classic asked, “Where were you in ’62?” Given the amazing assemblage of future stars put together by director George Lucas, they might just as well have said, “Where will they be after ’73?” The cast of relative unknowns at the time included future Oscar winners Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard, along with Cindy Williams, Mackenzie Phillips, Harrison Ford and Suzanne Somers. They helped bring to life the last night of summer for a group of recent high school grads, with Dreyfuss and Howard uncertain if they’re ready to leave their small California hometown. Recent film school graduate Lucas drew on his own experiences growing up in Modesto, California, for the script. He could only get production financing from Universal by promising to keep the budget low. By the time they got finished paying clearances for all the vintage recordings used to reflect the period, there was no money left for a traditional score, so the film went out with only the songs on the soundtrack, helping to create a new style in film scoring.

Dir. George Lucas

In attendance: Candy Clark, Bo Hopkins, Paul Le Mat