American Graffiti (1973)

American Graffiti
American Graffiti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first coming-of-age ensemble comedy in American movies? George Lucas’s sublime evocation of a midwestern 1962 of cars, rock ’n’ roll radio, and lost subadults, American Graffiti certainly established the timeless stereotypes of that post-graduation summer night that everyone experiences, from the high school sweethearts (Ron Howard and Cindy Williams) confronting college and separation, to the itchy smart kid (Richard Dreyfuss) who doesn’t know if college is what he wants, to the hopeless dweeb (Charles Martin Smith) looking only to score, to the cool dropout hood (Paul LeMat) who cannot adjust to the real world. Roaringly funny and bittersweet.

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