|On a promotional tour, Cindy Williams poses with Milner's coupe. 1973.|
|College students do the twist on a Fort Lauderdale beach. March 20, 1962.|
|Civil rights leader Malcom X|
|The Vietnam War lead many Americans to lose faith in the government.|
The two main characters, Steve and Curt are making decisions about what they want to do in life. They are prepared to go to college on the east coast by leaving their small hometown, their families, and everything they know behind. They want to leave but they are also afraid to leave. Each is ambivalent; having feelings of sadness about letting go of the safety of their familiar world but also exhilarated at the sense of new possibilities. They're on the brink of change, just as American culture was in 1962. The film ends with one of them breaking away, and leaving behind his sheltered, insulated hometown. He is, in a sense, leaving behind an old era and moving forward towards a new age on the horizon.
With “Graffiti,” the young film auteur presented the issue of growing up, moving out, and taking responsibility in an accessible manner that influenced a generation of filmmakers. It clearly inspired countless films but what about the film that inspired Lucas to make “Graffiti?” Making a film that explores this “breaking away” trauma with a group of friends is an idea that was clearly inspired by Fellini’s, “I Vitelloni.” We'll stop here for now. To learn more about the film that inspired American Graffiti continue on to Part III.
- Artifacts from the Future: The Making of THX: 1138. Prod. Dir. and Ed., Gary Leva. Supplementary to THX: 1138 Director’s Cut. DVD. (1970, 1998). Warner Brothers.
- Baxter, John. (1999). Mythmaker: The Life and Work of George Lucas. New York. Avon Books.
- Greenspan, Roger. (Aug 13, 1973). American Graffiti. New York Times.
- Levy, Emanual. (1999). Cinema of Outsiders. New York. New York University Press.
- Margolis, Jon. (1999). The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964 – The Beginning of the “Sixties.” New York. William Morrow and Company, Inc.
- Pollock, Dale. (1983,1999). Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas. Updated Edition. New York, DeCapo Press.