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19 of 20 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

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29 of 32 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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19 of 20 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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15 of 16 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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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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get your facts right, 18 April 2011
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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 
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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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29 of 32 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" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
*** 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Youth of yore, 19 Sept. 2011
By 
Tyke (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: American Graffiti [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Innovative at the time of its release, American Graffiti is George Lucas' part autobiographical homage to his youth. It depicts overnight events in 1962 small-town America where four young friends, Curt (Dreyfuss), Steve (Howard), John (LeMat) and `Toad' (Smith) are enjoying cruising in their cars, hanging at the drive-in and listening to hit music. They live in a mostly safe world of high-school hops, cheerleaders and big cardigans with numbers on.

Curt and Steve have graduated high school and have college places awaiting in the city. Curt is undecided about whether to stay or go, while Steve is determined to conquer new and far-off pastures. His steady girl, Laurie, is hurt by his determination to leave and tries to hurt him in return.

Nerdy-but-nice Toad hopes for a rise in status when Steve entrusts his slick auto to him for safekeeping while he's away, but despite a promising start to his new appeal, Toad's evening descends into touching, comic farce.

John is the cool guy with hot wheels, beating all comers who try to race him. Despite his image, he harbours a sense of the triviality of his life and an envy of his smarter friends who have college ahead. He inadvertently finds himself babysitting an irritating adolescent, before taking on yet another out-of-town challenger (Harrison Ford) in a '55 Chevy who wants to topple him from his throne.

All the principle actors are excellent in their roles and convey a real sense of life for young kids at a turning point in their lives, in an America about to lose its innocence.

Legendary DJ Wolfman Jack's voice threads the music together and he appears in a scene which recreates a real encounter between him and Lucas when the latter was a teen.

Extras include a good documentary featuring interviews with all the main cast and with Lucas and Coppola. They explain their difficulties in working with reluctant studios, tiny budgets and a new concept. The end credits are preceded with a brief montage telling what became of the four fictional youths and this puts a sombre but somehow appropriate perspective on the film.

Picture quality good, though of necessity dark, but sound needs some tinkering with TV settings to get the best out of it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous movie, pretty good DVD, 11 Sept. 2011
By 
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This review is from: American Graffiti [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
(This is a review of the old-fashioned DVD, not the Blu-Ray.)

What can I say about American Graffitti? Most of you have probably seen it already. It's of the best-loved movies ever made, on one of the lowest budgets and shortest shooting schedules imaginable.

The extremely talented cast of (at the time!) relatively unknown actors and actresses were allowed to improvise some of their scenes, and encouraged to actually make mistakes in some others. The movie was shot almost entirely at night, which made it a challenge to get lighting and focus right. The movie's theme and settings were underpinned with a soundtrack of almost continuous pop music hits of the day -- an unusual device which provided a 'greek chorus' effect to heighten aspects of the plot as well as re-creating an authentic sense of time and place. Lucas's vision for his movie was incredibly clear -- from the opening scene to the startling end-credits -- which helped keep his constrained and sometimes haphazard shooting environment on track. Just goes to show how freshness in filmmaking is actually achieved.

Later on, George Lucas made the original Star Wars in much the same manner, with the same result; again with a huge return in profits and a fanbase which will never waver, despite his more turgid and predictable sequels and prequels and remakes. Lucas's success from his first two 'blockbuster' hits means that he now commands all the shooting time and resources he could ever want. That he chooses to spend them tinkering with his own perfection is a shame. However, he's done his bit, made two of the most popular and iconic films of the 20th century --tinker away all you want, George, if it makes you happy!

American Graffitti is still one of my very favourite movies of all time. I'm delighted to finally own it on DVD.

The DVD is pretty good. There is some loss of sound quality, but not enough to spoil the experience; however, some of the dialogue seems less clear than it was at the cinema. However, I certainly got caught up in the film once again, so this flaw was not too distracting.

While the DVD 'Bonus' material is excellent, I did find it difficult to navigate the 'retro' menu icons at first, and it took a while to figure out how to get to what I wanted. Once I did, though, the trip was worth the trouble.

The Bonus features include a "Making Of-" featurette, a reasonably up-to-date cast history section, information on Universal's website, an overview of the film and the original cinema trailer for the film, which asked: "Where were you in 62?"

The "Making Of-" Bonus was superb, containing extended interviews with Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, and all of the major actors, as well as interesting insights into filmmaking provided by the people who actually ran the cameras, helped write the screenplay, supervised the casting, etc. Unlike some Making Of features, this one doesn't waffle around, but leads us chronologically through all of the steps taken to get this film from Lucas's original idea to screen. I learned a lot from this enjoyable Bonus feature.

For those folks interested in subtitles, this DVD has them ...in many different languages. I have not watched the movie with subtitles on, so cannot comment on their quality.

Hey, this film is a classic, and deserves a spot on any movie-lover's DVD shelf.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long time ago, in a California town far, far away..., 31 Jan. 2008
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: American Graffiti [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Seen today it's hard to believe that the George Lucas who made the sharply observed American Graffiti is the same George Lucas who gave us Jar-Jar Binks. You can certainly see the seeds of that galaxy far, far away in this ensemble piece about a night a long time ago in a small town not so far, far away, but it's still got an original trilogy vibe. It could almost be the Tattoine Years, with Ron Howard an embryonic Luke Skywalker, Paul Le Mat Han Solo, Richard Dreyfuss C3PO, Charles Martin Smith R2D2, Bo Hopkins Chewbacca, Wolfman Jack Obi Wan Kenobi and Harrison Ford Greedo. Thankfully there's no Jar-Jar this time out (well, maybe Mackenzie Phillips), but there's a lot of time spent cruising Mos Eisley in landspeeders. In its day its huge profits certainly led to as many ripoffs as Star Wars, but none managed to tap into it's surprisingly edgy indie, almost nouvelle vague vibe without pushing the darkness or exploitation elements too far. At times it's almost like a Californian version of Fellini's Il Vitelloni.

The key to the film's success is its understanding of what it's like to be stuck in a small town yet also afraid to leave it at that point in life when you're suddenly aware of the real threat of failure in life. So, instead of dealing with any of the big issues on the back of their mind, its various characters distract themselves with trivia, the film to-ing and fro-ing between them as the night gradually turns into day, all linked by the simple but brilliant device of having all the characters have the same radio station on in the background with Wolfman Jack as a half-heard Greek Chorus, binding the stories together like the Force - okay, enough with the Star Wars analogies already. Paul Le Mat, the one who didn't get a sitcom, directorial career or Thighmaster infomercial deal out of it, gets the best of the script as the doomed boy racer facing up to the fact that he's strictly small town, although there's enough left over to give everyone in the cast their moment in the sun.

The DVD features a fine feature length documentary reuniting most of the key players (though it conveniently ignores the film's now-forgotten sequel), production notes and trailer.
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American Graffiti [DVD] [1973]
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