Reading American Graffiti

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1973) is a key film of the New Hollywood moment, which spanned more than a decade and is typically regarded as having begun with Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967) and The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967). The era saw a new degree of creative freedom for directors to make personal films that foregrounded cinematic style. Although American Graffiti may not be the first film that comes to mind as a touchstone of the New Hollywood, a perusal of its credits reveals the presence of many of the key figures of this period across multiple crew roles, including producer Francis Ford Coppola (director of The Godfather, 1972, and Apocalypse Now, 1979), editors Marcia Lucas (Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Martin Scorsese, 1974; Taxi Driver, Scorsese, 1976) and Verna Fields (Jaws, Steven Spielberg, 1975), visual consultant Haskell Wexler (cinematographer of In the Heat of the Night, Norman Jewison, 1967; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Milo Forman, 1975; Days of Heaven, Terrence Malick, 1978; director of Medium Cool, 1969) and casting director Fred Roos (Five Easy Pieces, Bob Rafelson, 1970; Two-Lane Blacktop, Monte Hellman, 1971; The Godfather; producer of The Conversation, Francis Ford Coppola, 1974; The Godfather: Part II, Coppola, 1974; and Apocalypse Now). American Graffiti is also an important transitional work for Lucas, as its nostalgic mode represents a break with the contemporary realism of the New Hollywood period, anticipating his next film, Star Wars (1977), which in turn heralded the blockbuster mode of production that has prevailed ever since.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)118-123
    Number of pages6
    JournalScreen Education
    Issue number74
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


    • Motion picture actors and actresses
    • Motion pictures -- casting
    • Characters and charcteristics in motion pictures


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