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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well stocked DVD for Lucas' 1962 memoir
Released for the first time in widescreen, which greatly enhances the viewing of the film, this DVD also includes the original trailer and a superb 75 minute documentary with director George Lucas, producer Francis Ford Coppola and the main cast. Proving there was a time when Lucas could direct actors and not just manipulate blue screen, American Graffiti is a striking...
Published on 25 Jan 2001

versus
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "...We're Gonna Rock'n'Roll Ourselves To Death Baby!"
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2011 "BLU RAY" REISSUE ***

George Lucas' "American Graffiti" is remembered (and quite rightly so) with great affection - a five-star masterpiece that's almost unique in its vision of growing up in 1962 America listening to music on the radio in your car, getting up to no good and generally enjoying the sheer blast of 'boss' Saturday...
Published on 4 Aug 2011 by Mark Barry


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "...We're Gonna Rock'n'Roll Ourselves To Death Baby!", 4 Aug 2011
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2011 "BLU RAY" REISSUE ***

George Lucas' "American Graffiti" is remembered (and quite rightly so) with great affection - a five-star masterpiece that's almost unique in its vision of growing up in 1962 America listening to music on the radio in your car, getting up to no good and generally enjoying the sheer blast of 'boss' Saturday night on the town. It also has one of the most atmospheric and brilliantly woven-in soundtracks 'ever' - an MCA 2LP set released with the movie in August 1973 that the public adored and kept on buying for decades after (it peaked at Number 10). It's also forgotten now, but "American Graffiti" virtually kick-started the massive Rock'n'Roll revival of the early Seventies that saw every major label reissue R'n'B, Doo Wop and R'n'R LPs to beat the band - much to the delight of music fans. And who among us wouldn't have wanted to spend the night in the company of the awesome Wolfman Jack (dialogue above).

I say all of this as a preamble, because I have no beef with the movie or what surrounds it. BUT - I have very real misgivings about the quality of the print on this 2011 BLU RAY reissue (hence the 2-star rating). It's not great at all, and in places, it's truly awful.

The opening Universal Logo looks ancient and scratched to bits, but as the movie credits begin to roll the picture-quality looks more promising if not a little blurry. You also see that we're in the early part of an evening still bathed in fading daylight, but as the movie quickly progresses, every shot becomes a night time scene - and the blocking and terrible grain of the original print just gets worse and worse. It's infuriating, because one moment the print quality is lovely - full of colour and depth - the next it's like a bad videotape - grainy to a point where the fuzzy picture is 'all' you see. The real bad news is that as the movie progresses to the Harrison Ford/Paul Le Mat car race showdown - there are scenes where the print is appalling - as bad as "The French Connection" (and anyone who has bought that turkey of a Blu Ray will know what I mean).

This is how Lucas filmed it I know - but the point is that this BLU RAY affords you a better picture only in 'certain' places - but for the majority of the time it gives you an accentuated version of wildly haphazard cinematography - and it makes for a very disappointing watch indeed. The DVD was always 'good' rather than great, but this 2011 BLU RAY is not a 'full on' upgrade as some have suggested - nor does it have the beautifully cleaned-up and restored stills that are suddenly peppering the net at the time of release. Anybody claiming this is a GLORIOUS transfer is talking absolute knob.

Fans may be unable to resist replacing their beloved DVD with this - fair enough - but anyone else considering buying it - I would advise a rental first to 'see' what I mean.

I hate doing negative reviews, but sometimes you need to. I wish someone had told me how bad this looked 'before' I wasted my money on it and had to sit through one of my favourite Seventies movies looking worse rather than better.

BLU RAY Credits:
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition Widescreen, 2.35:1 Aspect
AUDIO: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, French, Italian, German, Spanish DTS 2.0 Mono, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese DTS 2.0 Stereo
SUBTITLES: English SDH, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Icelandic, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish and Traditional Mandarin

BONUS Material:
PIP Commentary with Director George Lucas
U-Control: The Music Of American Graffiti
Screen Tests
The Making Of American Graffiti
Theatrical Trailer
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well stocked DVD for Lucas' 1962 memoir, 25 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: American Graffiti [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Released for the first time in widescreen, which greatly enhances the viewing of the film, this DVD also includes the original trailer and a superb 75 minute documentary with director George Lucas, producer Francis Ford Coppola and the main cast. Proving there was a time when Lucas could direct actors and not just manipulate blue screen, American Graffiti is a striking period piece which tells the intertwining tales of a group of teenagers in Smalltown USA. Packed with an incessant soundtrack of 1950's and 1960's hits, American Graffiti takes on a semi-documentary style. This free-flowing narrative is enhanced by the director's particular choices as to which takes made the finished film (but you'll have to watch the documentary to see what I mean). The film is packed with a veritable who's who of character actors and soon-to-be-stars, including director-in-waiting Ron Howard, the ever watchable Richard Dreyfuss and some ex-carpenter called Harrison Ford who nobody's heard of since. The film also features appearances from Kathleen Quinlan (who went on to appear in The Doors, Breakdown and Apollo 13, the latter directed by Ron Howard himself), and Charles Martin Smith, who later appeared in The Buddy Holly Story, John Carpenter's Starman and The Untouchables, as well as directing the pilot episode for Buffy The Vampire Slayer (eat your heart out, George). Full credit to Universal for this DVD release, which is an essential purchase for any fan of the film who has already worn their videotape thin.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Those Were The Days, 22 Mar 2003
By 
This review is from: American Graffiti [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
This film has a little bit of everything in it. The acting is great - Richard Dreyfus is superb. The cars are fantastic and the soundtrack is practically unbeatable.
The story is about how four school friends spend their last night in town before going off (or not as the case may be) to live the rest of the their lives.
Often funny, sometimes sad, but always very watchable. If you love class acting, the film's a must; if you love classic American cars, the film's a must and if you love rock n'roll why are you still reading this - you should be watching the film!
Any Harrison Ford fans out there should keep an eye out for him as the man in the cowboy hat who's out to beat one of the four guys in a road race.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get your facts right, 18 April 2011
This review is from: American Graffiti [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Um American Graffitti came out in 1973 and Happy Days in 1974, so ignore the 'Sit on it' review of 14th April and just watch this film for what it is, a poignant beautifully crafted film which is as much of a joy to watch now as it was when it first came out.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing for any generation, 5 May 2003
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: American Graffiti [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Im just about 20 now so by no means a contemporary :) I first remember seeing a glimpse of this film on TV when I was about 6. All I remembered was the yellow car and something about a gear knob being given to a girl. Then I saw the very end again on TV the other week! Right! Straight onto teletext to get the name, then straight onto Amazon to order.
This film is brilliant. It would be so good to live the old Americana way and this film encapsulates the whole feeling (well, what I reckon would be the feeling). There is something for everyone, everyone can relate to something. For me, a modified Nova GTE owner I love watching Milner drive around in the '32 Deuce Coupe, having the odd race, the odd smoke and listening to the tunes. The music is just fantastic. I have never bought any non-contemporary music before and probably never will but this is just something else. It all envelops the characters and the film to an incredible level. Brilliant. Interviews with the cast and how they are now is a top feature but also scary as in 30 or 40 years I'm going to be in that position looking back at old pictures of the Nova!
As the guy said above the ending is both liberating and sombre, finding out what happens later to all the people in a film is something youre often left wondering, with this being a true-to-life film true-to-life fates do lay in store :(
Don't consider it, just click the order button right now
Steve
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 2011 Blu-ray release, can it lay rubber?! - Sure can Debbie!, 17 Aug 2011
Film: 8/10
Picture quality: 8/10
Aspect ratio: 2,35:1 (orig.)
Run time 24fps: 1:52'29"
Audio: GB (dts HD MA);J;F;D;I;E;POR;
ST: GB;J;F;D;I;NL;DK;N;S;FIN;ISL
Chpt.: 50
Extras:
- Making-of, 78' (in SD, same as on DVD)
- Screen tests, 23' HD (16mm, 1972, DP Haskell Wexler)
- 'U control':
-- PIP video commentaries by George Lucas
-- 'The music of A.G.' title/performer-info on currently playing music
- Trailer
Studio: Universal

Despite some discouraging reviews here, I must say this BD is worth the upgrade from DVD! Image may not be perfect but it is fairly good. I have checked the BD against the DVD and it really is a BIG step up picturewise!
This BD release shouldn't be blamed for the very few limitations that the source material had. It's interesting to hear what George Lucas had to say in his video commentaries (= GLvc) on this.
I'm sure American Graffiti has never looked better in home theatres. Enjoy!

When it comes to picture quality one has to keep in mind that
- the film was shot in 'Techniscope' (i.e. 2 perforation holes instead of 4, as in 'Cinemascope') hence cutting stock costs in half - unfortunately same goes for picture resolution. Therefore a slightly lesser picture quality than in usual Cinemascope Blu-ray transfers is the result. (GLvc TC 00:14:40)
- shot mostly with 'available light' camera operators had difficulties to stay in focus (-> 'depth of field') e.g. TC 00:02:05; 00:03:24-31; 00:12:15 (GLvc 00:11:28, 00:39:48)
- fortunately they kept the DNR mallet in the box and the transfer shows some decent healthy grain in very good images e.g. 00:10:52; 00:12:33; 00:14:47.
- unfortunately some edge enhancement is visible here and there (e.g. light reflections on chrome parts of vintage cars 00:38:14)

I always loved this movie and admired George Lucas' tenacity to pull this off against all odds! Every effort had been put into production design ('embossed' vs. 'painted Coke bottles' GLvc TC 01:01:54) to re-create this marvelous '62 time bubble - but they still got (at least) one tiny detail wrong: The high school band's guitarist plays a blonde(?) Stratocaster with 'enlarged headstock'. This wasn't introduced on Strats until mid/late '65 after Leo Fender had sold his company to CBS.

PS: If you're still not happy with your home theater's performance there might be another reason for this: Unfortunately many manufacturers' tv-presets are faulty ('...what a waste of machinery!'). To optimize your Full HD monitor, no easy task with today's complex high tech flat tvs (-> color gamut, gamma, white balance etc), you might like to check out this website:
'hdtvtest.co.uk'
It will provide you with expert tests+reviews and settings that can make the best of your tv set and help reduce power consumption too!
- Simply go to: 'all reviews',
- select your tv,
- go to 'settings'/'calibration'
- adjust your flat tv
- done!

...surely helped me with my 46" Full HD Samsung, and 'I'm not feeding a line here Debbie!'
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surely George Lucas' Best Film, 14 Feb 2004
By 
m "macey" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: American Graffiti [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Not being American, or growing up in the early sixties, or being mad about cars, I find it really odd that I can relate to this film so well. Full of character and magical moments of blokes, like, just driving around a small town over the night before some of tham are about to leave for college and having lots of mini-adventures, it's a film you can go back to again and again.
It makes you realise that, beyond the hype, George Lucas is in fact a great filmaker and story teller, with a real feel for people and character, for a time and a place. Maybe his later stuff isn't so 'mature' but this is definitely a film you should see. A lot of it is about growing up and losing illusions, and gaining new ones! For anyone who has ever made the break from their hometown to go away for whatever, this will be quite emotional, even though it's set so long ago.
The DVD is a good package, with a very long documentary featuring everyone - and with Lucas keen to give credit to all the people involved. A commentary would have been fantastic, but you can't have everything.
People with nostalgic hearts, buy without fear!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrison who?, 28 Oct 2011
ANYONE KNOW WHY THEY USE THE SAME NUMBER PLATES ON DIFFERENT CARS THOUGHOUT THE FILM?
ie: JPM 351 is used on Steves car at the begining of the film then it's on the car that
Carol gets out of to join John in THX 138, as the documentary in the extras doesn't
mention anything about it. I'm sure they swapped others around too during the movie.
(It's not distracting but I just notice these things)
That aside!
WHOOOOOOA! I just got this on Blu-ray yesterday as I didn't even know it was released in that format until
last week. Having had to put up with the 'ordinary' DVD which was grainy, blurry and a poor transfer if you
ask me. Having said that the original film was made in 1973 so Universal can be forgiven as I suppose it's
way better than VHS.
Any road up, what a difference, it's amazing, the picture is pin-sharp most of the time, you can actually
read the car number plates now. What a great re-mastering job Universal have done to an already brilliant
film.
Also George hasn't messed this one up as with his Star Wars bodge jobs. The film has been kept true to its
original release. No Jar Jar Binks in this one.
Mr Lucas says in the extras "the film was three hours long" before he had to cut it down.
I wish I could have seen that one and I'm surprised the Blu-ray hasn't got hours of deleted scenes included.
If you've never seen this film then you're missing a real jem and if you've been thinking about buying it
then go for the blu-ray if you have a BR player, if not get the DVD as it's still an amazing piece of film-
making. The atmosphere has been captured beautifully and filmed and lit just as well.
As the title is a little misleading if you've never seen the film, it's not an all out action, thriller,
shoot-em-up movie at all. It's a great little innocent story as only George Lucas could tell it.
Watch the 'making of' documentary in the extras to truly appreciate the movie.
Oh! and John Milners piss yellow/puke green Ford Deuce Coupe was pure genius (I WANT ONE). I've ordered the
number plates from ebay already...... Well it's a start, now who's got a Ford pop for sale?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "All summer long...", 28 Mar 2011
By 
This review is from: American Graffiti [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Another film recommended to me and another classic I've only just seen for the first time.

Made on a minuscule budget "American Graffiti" tells a series of interwoven tales about a group of teenagers over a single night and features a cast of youthful faces, some of whom went on to make it big: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron(nie) Howard and an incredibly young looking Harrison Ford... the only one who seems to have kept his hair. My one surprise was Paul Le Mat. He's charismatic and his strand is (in my opinion) the best... and yet I've never heard of him. What happened to his career? Come to think of it, what happened to all the girls in the film?

I'd call "Graffiti" an editor's film as it was clearly shot at speed with lots of pick-ups and multi-angles, all put together in post-production. I don't mean that derogatively; in fact, it's all rather ingenious. I guess a lot of it was shot using only existing light or maybe with just a few fill-lights. These two elements give it a documentary feel, making the action seem much more realistic than your average teen film.

The film is also wonderfully textured with moments of teenage angst, high drama and laugh-out-loud comedy: I loved the bit where the liquor store is held up! I won't give away the closing shot - all blue screen and text - but I found it rather moving.

Overall: a real treat. A combination of snazzy film making, Americana and some great 60s tunes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars American Charm, 7 Jan 2010
By 
William Cohen (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: American Graffiti [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
This is an art-house American film, which is rather rare. The characters are intriguing and, while there is no plot as such, the story reaches a satisfactory conclusion. It's style and subtlety make it a great film.
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American Graffiti [DVD] [1973]
American Graffiti [DVD] [1973] by George Lucas (DVD - 2000)
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