AMERICAN GRAFFITI [1973 / 2016] [Collectible Pop Art Series] [Blu-ray] [USA Release]
Where Were You in 1962? Digitally Remastered Picture Supervised By George Lucas!
From director George Lucas [‘Star Wars’] and producer Francis Ford Coppola [‘The Godfather’], ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ is a classic coming-of-age story set against the 1960s backdrop of hot rods, drive-ins and rock' n' roll. Starring Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Cindy Williams, Mackenzie Phillips and Suzanne Somers in their breakout roles, this nostalgic look back follows a group of teenagers as they cruise the streets on their last summer night before college. Nominated for five Academy Awards® and including Best Picture and Best Director, ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ features the howling sounds of Wolfman Jack and an unforgettable soundtrack with songs by Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys and Bill Haley & His Comets.
FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1974 Academy Awards®: Nominated: Best Picture for Francis Ford Coppola and Gary Kurtz. Nominated: Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Candy Clark. Nominated: Best Director for George Lucas. Nominated: Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced for George Lucas, Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz. Nominated: Best Film Editing for Verna Fields and Marcia Lucas. 1974 Golden Globes: Win: Best Motion Picture in a Comedy or Musical. Win: Most Promising Male Newcomer for Paul Le Mat. Nominated: Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for Richard Dreyfuss. Nominated: Best Director in a Motion Picture for George Lucas. 1974 Directors Guild of America Award: Nominated: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for George Lucas. 1974 New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Win: Best Screenplay for George Lucas, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck. Nominated: Best Film. 1974 Writers Guild of America: Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen for George Lucas, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck. 1975 BAFTA Film Awards: Nominated: Best Supporting Actress for Cindy Williams.
FILM FACT No.2: In 1995, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. A sequel, ‘More American Graffiti,’ was released in 1979. During the production of ‘THX 1138’ (1971), producer Francis Ford Coppola challenged co-writer/director George Lucas to write a script that would appeal to mainstream audiences. George Lucas embraced the idea, using his early 1960s teenage experiences cruising in Modesto, California. "Cruising was gone, and I felt compelled to document the whole experience and what my generation used as a way of meeting girls," George Lucas explained. After the financial failure of ‘THX 1138,’ George Lucas wanted the film to act as a release for a world-weary audience.
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips, Wolfman Jack, Bo Hopkins, Manuel Padilla Jr., Beau Gentry, Harrison Ford, Jim Bohan, Jana Bellan, Deby Celiz, Lynne Marie Stewart, Terence McGovern, Kathleen Quinlan, Timothy F. Crowley, Scott Beach, John Brent, Gordon Analla, John Bracci, Jody Carlson, Del Close, Chuck Dorsett, Stephen Knox, Joe Miksak, George Meyer, James Cranna, Johnny Weissmuller Jr., William Niven, Al Nalbandian, Bob Pasaak, Christopher Pray, Susan Richardson, Fred Ross, Jan Dunn, Charlie Murphy, Ed Greenberg, Lisa Herman, Mark Anger, Kay Lenz, Caprice Schmidt, Joe Spano, Debralee Scott, Ron Vincent, Donna Wehr, Cam Whitman, Jan Wilson, Suzanne Somers, Warren Knight, Sam McFadin, Kris Moe, Linn Phillips III, George Robinson, Linda Christensen (uncredited), Jeannette Dilger (uncredited), Paul J. Donohue (uncredited) and Rick May (uncredited)
Director: George Lucas
Producers: Francis Ford Coppola and Gary Kurtz
Screenplay: George Lucas, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck
Cinematography: Jan D'Alquen and Ron Eveslage (Directors of Photography)
Image Resolution: 1080p (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (Techniscope)
Audio: English: 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo
French: 2.0 DTS-HD Mono Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
Running Time: 112 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Universal Studios
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Of all the youth-themed nostalgia films in the past couple of years, George Lucas's ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ is among the very best to date. Set in 1962 but reflecting the culmination of the 1950s, the film is a most vivid recall of teenage attitudes and mores, told with outstanding empathy and compassion through an exceptionally talented cast of relatively new players. Set in Modesto, California, in 1962, a time and place of early rock n’ roll, drag races, and diners, ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ follows four friends over the course of one summer night. They navigate relationships, their futures, and the post-high school decisions that will impact both.
At first glance ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ is definitely a nostalgia trip back to the early 1960s, the teenage years of its now legendary filmmakers and producer Francis Ford Coppola who at the time had just directed ‘The Godfather’ and writer/director George Lucas who would go on to create the ‘Star Wars’ franchise. ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ was in 1973 and set over one summer night in a small town in California in 1962. ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ depicts the adventures and misadventures of a group of teenagers on the brink of adulthood and for me too much time on their hands. Upon closer reflection ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ casts a bitter/sweet shadow over a time of perceived innocence, suggesting that the ideal of a simpler way of life was just a front for a far bleaker and cynical reality. It’s one of the all-time great feel good films, but its sly cultural commentary is what makes it the film genre it was and some say it is a masterpiece; well I personally would not go so far to declare this statement, but at the time of its release in 1973 it was very ground-breaking.
Francis Ford Coppola was the nominal producer, and Gary Kurtz was co-producer. The superior original screenplay, in which the predominant comedy values are deftly supported by underlying serious elements of adolescent maturation, was written by director Lucas in collaboration with Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck. This was George Lucas’s second feature; and his first venture into filmmaking was the film ‘THX 1138’ that was a futuristic socio-political drama, and if you look carefully with one of the cars featured in ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ you will see it has THX 1138, now how ironic is that and very surprised no other reviewer has pointed this out.
Of course the other outstanding feature of this film is the use of 40 American platter hits, and the film opens with Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock,” which served George Lucas really well. Karin Green was the music coordinator. Kim Fowley produced the two original recordings for the film, done by Flash Cadillac and The Continental Kids, playing a local rock band engaged for a freshman hop. It was also perhaps the most influential aspect is the soundtrack. Daring to narrate the plot with music, Lucas compiles a stunning sampling of tunes from the time and blasts them throughout the entire length of the movie. Radio announcer Wolfman Jack keeps the beats flowing, transitioning from one scene to the next with melodic aplomb, while keeping an optimistic tone that spectacularly enhances the humour of risky antics and stimulating misadventures.
In many ways ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ set the template for the coming-of-age teen film. The characters are all distinctive types and the film is set over just one night, where the revelations that the characters experience have a profound impact on how they view themselves and their place in the world. The four main characters are the nice guy Steve Bolander [Ron Howard] who to me looked like a right nerd, the tough drag-racing guy John Milner [Paul Le Mat], the awkward nerdy guy Terry ‘The Toad’ Fields [Charles Martin Smith] and the slightly whimsical Curt Henderson [Richard Dreyfuss], plus a very young performance by Harrison Ford.
For the most part ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ is a joyous and frequently very funny vicarious night in the life of a likeable group of characters. The film’s multiple intersecting narratives and exhilarating constant use of the classic rock music of that period heard by the characters in the film as well as the audience and created a wonderful sense of time and place. American Graffiti has lost none of its charm or energy, making it one of the many great masterpieces of the New Hollywood era. ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ functions as a final farewell to childhood dreams before reality steps in. The main sting in the tail is that the film also signifies the end of the post-WWII American Dream. It is especially telling when Curt Henderson is teased about his ambition to one day shake hands with President John F Kennedy. With today’s Audiences and definitely in 1973 will recognise that Curt Henderson will never fulfil that ambition and on top of all that it was the year that President Kennedy would be assassinated and all their dreams will be shattered.
At the end of the film, we get an on-screen epilogue that reveals that John Milner [Paul Le Mat] who was tragically killed by a drunk driver in December 1964. Terry "The Toad" Fields [Charles Martin Smith] was reported missing in action near An Lá»c [Province in Southern Vietnam] in December 1965. Steve Bollander [Ron Howard] is an Insurance Agent in Modesto, California. Curt Henderson [Richard Dreyfuss] is a writer living in Canada. Initially the Executives at Universal Pictures insisted that the on-screen epilogue at the end of the film it had to be ditched 100%, but George Lucas put his foot down, as he said that it put the whole film in prospective and felt if it had been deleted would of wrecked the premise of the movie. But it was suggested that if you put the main four characters names on the screen, you should also put the four main girl characters on the screen, but George felt it would have made that end of the film too long and disrupt the flow and especially for creative reasons and again George was again emphatic in putting his foot down and saying a big NO!
‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ instantly captured the hearts of audiences and critics, and guaranteed to remain an integral part of American cinema history, and the film ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ will likely always be more appreciated by American audiences of a certain age who experienced first-hand the bitter happenings of the pre-Vietnam, pre-counterculture movement of the 1960s.
AMERICAN GRAFFITI MUSIC TRACK LISTING
AT THE HOP (Written by John Madara, Artie Singer and Dave White) (uncredited) [Performed by Flash Cadillac and The Continental Kids]
A THOUSAND MILES AWAY (Written by James Sheppard and William H. Miller) (uncredited) [Performed by The Heartbeats]
BARBARA ANNE (Written by Fred Fassert) (uncredited) [Performed by The Regents]
FANNIE MAE (Written by Morris Levy, Clarence Lewis and Waymon Glasco) (uncredited) [Performed by Buster Brown]
GEE (Written by Morris Levy and William Davis) (uncredited)[Performed by The Crows]
HEART AND SOUL (Written by Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser) (incredited) [Performed by The Cleftones]
I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU (Music by Harry Warren) (uncredited) and (Lyrics by Al Dubin) (uncredited) [Performed by The Flamingos]
PARTY DOLL (Written by Jimmy Bowen and Buddy Knox) (uncredited) [Performed by Buddy Knox]
PEPPERMINT TWIST (Written by Joey Dee and Henry Glover (uncredited) [Performed by Joey Dee & The Starlighters]
SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER (Written by Sid Wayne and Sherman Edwards) (uncredited) [Performed by The Tempos]
WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE (Written by Frankie Lymon and Morris Levy) (uncredited) [Performed by Frankie Lymon]
YA YA (Written by Lee Dorsey, Clarence Lewis, Bobby Robinson (aka Morgan Robinson) and Morris Levy (uncredited) [Performed by Lee Dorsey]
CHANTILLY LACE (Written by The Big Bopper (aka J.P. Richardson) (uncredited) [Performed by The Big Bopper]
SHE’S SO FINE (Written by Kris Moe and Linn Phillips III) (uncredited) [Performed by Flash Cadillac and The Continental Kids]
LOUIE LOUIE (Written by Richard Berry( (uncredited) [Performed by Flash Cadillac and The Continental Kids]
THE GREAT PRETENDER (Written by Buck Ram) (uncredited) [Performed by The Platters]
LITTLE DARLIN’ (Written by Maurice Williams) (uncredited) [Performed by The Diamonds]
ALMOST GROWN (Written by Chuck Berry) (uncredited) [Performed by Chuck Berry]
BOOK OF LOVE (Written by Warren Davis, Charles Patrick and George Malone) (uncredited) [Performed by The Monotones]
GOODNIGHT SWEETHEART GOODNIGHT (Written by Pookie Hudson and Calvin Carter) (uncredited) [Performed by The Spaniels']
AIN’T THAT A SHAME (Written by Fats Domino and David Bartholomew) (uncredited) [Performed by Fats Domino]
THE GREAT IMPOSTER (Written by Sharon Sheeley and Jackie DeShannon) (uncredited) [Performed by The Fleetwoods]
LOVE POTION #9 (Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller) (uncredited) [Performed by The Clovers]
YOU’RE SIXTEEN (Written by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman) (uncredited) [Performed by Johnny Burnette]
MAYBE BABY (Written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty) (uncredited) [Performed by Buddy Holly]
ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK (Written by Max Freedman and James E. Myers) (uncredited) [Performed by Bill Haley & The Comets]
ALL SUMMER LONG (Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love) (uncredited) [Performed by The Beach Boys]
GET A JOB (Written by The Silhouettes) (uncredited) [Performed by The Silhouettes]
TO THE AISLE (Written by Billy Dawn Smith and Stuart Wiener) (uncredited) [Performed by The Five Satins]
CRYING IN THE CHAPEL (Written by Artie Glenn) (uncredited) [Performed by Sonny Till and The Orioles]
DO YOU WANNA DANCE (Written by Bobby Freeman) (uncredited) [Performed by Bobby Freeman]
GREEN ONIONS (Written by Lewie Steinberg, Al Jackson Jr., Booker T. Jones and Steve Cropper) (uncredited) [Performed by Booker T & The M.G’s]
RUNAWAY (Written by Del Shannon and Max Crook) (uncredited) [Performed by Del Shannon]
TEEN ANGEL (Written by Red Surrey and Jean Dinning (aka Jean Surrey) (uncredited) [Performed by Mark Dinning]
SINCE I DON’T HAVE YOU (Written by The Skyliners) [Performed by The Skyliners]
COME GO WITH ME (Written by Clarence E. Quick) (uncredited) [Performed by The Del Vikings]
SIXTEEN CANDLES (Written by Luther Dixon and Allyson) Khent (uncredited) [Performed by The Crests]
SOME ENCHANTED EVENING (uncredited) (Music by Richard Rodgers) (Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II)
ONLY YOU (Written by Buck Ram) (uncredited) [Performed by The Platters]
SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES (Music by Jerome Kern) (uncredited) and (Lyrics by Otto A. Harbach) (uncredited) [Performed by The Platters]
THE STROLL (Written by Clyde Otis and Nancy Lee) (uncredited) [Performed by The Diamonds]
JOHNNIE B. GOODE (Written by Chuck Berry) (uncredited) [Performed by Chuck Berry]
THAT’LL BE THE DAY (Written by Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly and Norman Petty) (uncredited) [Performed by Buddy Holly]
SURFIN’ SAFARI (Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love) (uncredited) [Performed by The Beach Boys]
Blu-ray Image Quality – ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’  Blu-ray comes courtesy of Universal Studios via their Collectible Pop Art Series. The film is encoded with a 1080p very nice encoded image that was restored and remastered with the supervision of George Lucas. There is definitely some visual intention to evoke a feel for the 1960’s genre and is free from any artefacts that blighted previous releases and also the print appears free of any bad compression artefact aspect of the print and you have three image choices and I went for the third high resolution image which is a total knockout and is the best to show off this low-budget film. So all in all a good visual presentation all round.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – But with this remastered ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’  Blu-ray, we are presented with two audio soundtracks that are English: 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo and French: 2.0 DTS-HD Mono Audio and the dialogue is well suited for the classic 1960s music that is presented throughout the film, which provides, delivers the right atmosphere and especially the tone that this film genre requires. But most importantly, the majority of the classic rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack recreates an atmosphere that will make you feel like you are hanging out in the early 1960s with some of your friends.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: The Making of ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’  [480i] [1.37:1] [78:10] This is a very informative original documentary that features many interviews and other footage of the cast and crew for the film ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ . This is a seven part special feature, which includes The Making ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ and includes Genesis of the Project; A Personal Story; Casting; Production Begins; production Stories; Post Production and Final Words. This is a very informative documentary that features many interviews and other footage of the cast and crew for the film and any true fan of the film should be thrilled with what is offered with this very extensive special feature and more than enough time to explain many aspects of the film, from George Lucas's first conception to its final theatrical release. Also with other various members of the cast provide interviews for their retrospective view of their character in the film. From conception and struggles in development, to relating to characters and fleshing them out, casting, filming anecdotes, and remembering the experience. We also get to hear that despite unanimous praise at a January 1973 test screening attended by Universal executive Ned Tanen, the studio told Lucas they wanted to re-edit his original cut of ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI.’ Producer Coppola sided with George Lucas against Ned Tanen and Universal, offering to "buy the film" from the studio and reimburse it for the $775,000, which is equivalent to $4,437,291 in 2016 it had cost to make it. Universal Pictures reissued ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ in 1978 and earned an additional $63 million, which of course is equivalent to $231,332,143 in 2016, which brought the total revenue for the two releases to $118 million and again equivalent to $433,288,776 in 2016. In the initial release 5 minutes was edited out, but when the DVD came out and of course the Blu-ray release, the edited parts allowed George Lucas to reinstate those deleted scenes. So all in all we get a conclusive and thorough documentary feature that is a very fitting tribute to this classic film ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI.’ Contributors include: George Lucas [Writer/Director], Francis Ford Coppola [Producer], Willard Huyck/Gloria Katz [Co- Screenwriters], Walter Murch [Sound Montage and Re-Recording], Fred Roos [Casting Director], Ron Howard [Steve Bolander], Richard Dreyfuss [Curt Henderson], Cindy Williams [Laurie Henderson], Paul Le Mat [John Milner], Charles Martin Smith [Terry "The Toad" Fields], Candy Clarke [Debbie Dunham], Mackenzie Phillips [Carol Morrison], Harrison Ford [Bob Falfa], Bo Hopkins [Joe Young], Kathleen Quinlan [Peg], Suzanne Somers ["The Blonde" in T-Bird] and Haskell Wexler [Visual Consultant]. Finally, as usual you can either play each special feature separately or Play All.
Special Feature: Screen Tests  [480i] [1.37:1] [23:00] Here you have a selection of never-before-seen screen tests and what you get is four separate categories, which include “Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss and Paul Le Mat.” “Ron Howard and Cindy Williams.” “ Mackenzie Phillips and Paul Le Mat” and “Charles Martin Smith.” I have to laugh at the blurs in these screen tests, of showing people who didn't quite make it and it is totally high-larious! There are four sets of screen tests, viewable together or individually. If you are a fan of these sorts of extras, there are tons of goodies here, especially very long takes, but if you are not a big screen test fan, then these may be slightly torturous to view. As usual you can either play each category separately or Play All.
Theatrical Trailer  [480i] [1.37:1] [3:00] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI.’ Despite it not being shown in Techniscope, it is still a brilliant presentation.
Special Feature: My Scenes: Bookmark your favourite scenes in the film.
Special Feature: U-Control: The Music of American Graffiti: Instantly identifies the each songs heard while watching the film, and create a custom playlist of your favourite songs.
Special Feature: Video Commentary: Here we get to view a picture-in-picture personal video commentary with Director George Lucas in a private viewing cinema, where he appears in a smaller screen area at the bottom left hand of the screen and explains in detail about all aspects of the film and especially about certain scenes and why he wanted them to appear in the film, even when mistakes happened that he insisted on being allowed to be kept in the film. I like this extra, as it was great to hear the very personal views from George Lucas and the reason why he wanted to make this film, especially in a sort of documentary presentation.
Special Feature: BD-Live: Enter through your internet-connected player to watch the latest trailers and more. But of course if you are not connected to the internet, then this will not work.
Special Feature: pocket BLU App: Experience an exciting new way with the App for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and now enhanced for iPad.
Finally, a very long, long time ago, somewhere in America, George Lucas was able to make films that didn't involve lightsabres, or the Force. But this flashback to 1962 will remind you of what you did, what your parents did, or, even, what your grandparents did in the old days of drive-ins and sock hops. ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ is a very good film, very funny, tough, and unsentimental. It is full of marvellous performances from actors, especially Candy Clark, Richard Dreyfuss, and Cindy Williams, which were hardly known for their previous screen credits and performances. But for me ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ really represents and obverses that world in California in the 1960s and all of the specific main characters are portrayed is totally fascinating. ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ still shows us the mark of a superb filmmaking talent and especially if you like this type of genre film of days gone by. If you are feeling nostalgic or you are simply a fan the 1960s era in this ‘AMERICAN GRAFFITI’ film, well it will certainly and should provide exactly the sort of experience you are looking for and it will also give you the best 1080p visual experience you are seeking with this film of the era of the 1960s in California that you wish you would love to go back in time to experience one more time, well this film will satisfy all your hearts desires for a brief moment in time. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso