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In American Graffiti, George Lucas rewinds us to the early 1960s to an unnamed suburban town in Northern California where, under the warm dusk and night skies, teenagers cruised the streets as the primary form of socialization and courtship. Each of the separate stories of these characters produces remarkably profound emotions of our own youth.
While Lucas equally distributes his running time to the other characters, he seems to identify most with Richard Dreyfuss’s conflicted Curt.
Just as profound as the emotional journey for these characters is the look, sound and feel of Lucas’s vision. It might be an overused term, but American Graffiti truly is a timeless film, invisible to age and impossible to forget.
George Lucasa€™ masterful sophomore effort, American Graffiti resonated with critics and audiences alike. Set in Modesto, California, in 1962, a time and place of early rock na€™ roll, drag races, and diners, American Graffiti follows four friends over the course of one summer night. American Graffiti  was supposed to be shot in San Rafael, California, but after complaints from a local bar owner, production was moved to Petaluma. Production was not easy — in a makeshift camera car, Lucas, the sound man, and cameraman were forced to ride in the trunk. With a budget of only $700,000 and over $50 million in rental earnings, American Graffiti is one of the most profitable films of the modern era. Inspired by similar restaurants serving motorists in Los Angeles, Mel Weiss and Harold Dobbs founded Mel’s Drive-In restaurants in 1947 in San Francisco, California. In 1972, the original Mel’s located at 140 South Van Ness in San Francisco was selected as a feature location by filmmaker George Lucas for his 1973 coming of age film American Graffiti. When filming began, in spite of popular belief, Mel’s Drive-In (aka Burger City) had been not been closed for years and was not slated for demolition either. So George decided to lease the location and bring it back to its 1962 look, even if it was just for 2 hours on the big screen. Last photo titled Mel?s Drive-in Restaurant was not really taken in 1953, Some cars in the picture are from 1957 and 1958. Ultra Swank is a magazine styled blog that takes you back in time into the kitsch, chic, swank and camp living of the 1940s to the 1970s.

THX 1138, his first, though not commercially successful, is a magnificent low budget production in experimental science fiction. Perhaps influenced by the seminal ensemble film by Federico Fellini, I Vitteloni (1951), Lucas follows four male friends over the course of one night on the last day of summer before everyone splits and goes away to college.
Ron Howard is Steve, the popular all-American kid who can’t wait to experience college life but needs to dump his girlfriend first. Even today, which is much different than 1960 and 1973, the feeling that each of Lucas’s characters experiences about this moment between childhood and adulthood is so identifiable and strong. Dreyfuss’s quiet but powerful performance is magnificent, representing Lucas's window through which we can look back at our own youth.
Watch carefully and notice the consistency in his compositions and his use of light across the three aforementioned films.
It’s one part of the remarkable legacy of influential and inspired films from George Lucas in the 1970s. This film probably led to Happy Days, unfortunately, but as a standalone bit of nostalgia, it's great. Innovative in structure and at times both hilarious and poignant, this coming of age tale remains a classic today. They navigate relationships, their futures, and the post-high school decisions that will impact both.
Featuring 41 songs by 35 groups, it used pop songs of the day to reinforce the period setting. Although the movie takes place in Modesto, California, most of its scenes were actually shot in the nearby city of Petaluma. Weeks after filming was completed, they called and said some film had been lost on the cutting room floor, so we had one more night of filming. The restaurant remained opened for several years after filming wrapped, but eventually closed up and was torn down by bulldozers. The most famous ones are however probably the somewhat cheesy replicas located at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL and Hollywood, CA. Has a crush on mid-century graphic design, defunct airlines, Disneyland and the Century 21 Exposition.

The only information I found on that photo was 1953, but it must have been taken later judging from the cars. We mostly focus on the design, style, and fashion of the happy-go-lucky and space-age-living mentality of that era – but also on the music and movies that takes you back to happier times. Terry (Martin Smith) is the meek nerd who still has one more year left in high school and gets the surprise of his life when Steve offers up his revered '58 Chevy Impala to use while he's away. Look at the magnificent reflections off his muscle cars cruising the night streets, an effective cue that reminds us of the play of light off Darth Vader’s black helmet in Star Wars or the faceless policemen in THX 1138.
And check out Richard Linklater's take on high school graduation, Dazed and Confused, which has a lot of similar echoes.
The only reason this drive-in was selected was because it was the only one of the era that could be found that had trees high enough behind it to block out the modern buildings in the background. However, the prominent play given to the location has been credited with saving Mel’s from possibly going totally out of business.
Is a collector of easy listening music from the 60s and 70s and a Swedish expat living in Barcelona, Spain. And in the middle stands American Graffiti, which was then one of the highest grossing and most profitable films ever made, as well as a multiple Academy Award nominee.
And each time Dreyfuss looks away or hesitates in his dialogue it produces an emotional reaction for the audience. I’m so glad that I was able to watch this movie because it really did illustrate a wonderful time to grow up without any real worries. These are three markedly different films in genre, subject matter and tone, but all still recognizable as Lucas’s unique vision. Instead, he stuck around to work as a mechanic riding the coattails of his former glory as a high school A-lister.
Sadly, he wouldn't direct a film of his own again until he started doing Star Wars prequels in the 2000s.

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