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Visual Index ~ American Graffiti's Best Shot(s)

Where were you on 7/2? Hopefully watching American Graffiti (1973) to better appreciate today's edition of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", our collective series in which we invite anyone who loves movies  'round the web to select their favorite image from a pre-selected movie. [Next Wednesday we'll be discussing the brilliant and disturbing Dead Ringers (1988) so do not miss that.] This week we return to simpler times...

1962 by way of 1973, in point of fact, courtesy of George Lucas's first Best Picture nominee, the very fine nostalgia fest American Graffiti which we thought an appropriate choice for the 4th of July Holiday. more...


The 10 'Best' Images follow from 12 articles


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I admit I was quite surprised to see this early scene -- a significant one in terms of the plot (if you can call it that) -- feature in four of the entries but that's what's so interesting about group efforts... the way opinions diverge and/or converge and how even when they converge it's not always for similar reasons. But here's what I find extra amusing: The blonde in the car is Suzanne Somers making American Graffiti the sort of ur movie for 1970s television sitcoms: Somers would go on to mega fame in Three's Company four years later; Ron Howard would lead Happy Days immediately after American Graffiti exploded (the film was hugely popular); and Cindy Williams would headline Laverne & Shirley a couple of years after that.

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Have you seen American Graffiti? If so, which shot would you choose?

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Reader Comments (13)

Love this movie!

Man, just what the fuck happened to George Lucas? I really hope there's some way the guy who made this and Star Wars comes back. 0

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermike

I'm a little surprised by some of the choices so far--looking forward to reading the articles, definitely--my choice for shot of the movie is either the very end of the movie (Curt, looking wistfully into the distance after seeing the T-Bird from the airplane--it's just such a perfect encapsulation of the entire night--the decisions made and not made, and the constant sense of longing for what might have been, no matter what) or the shot of Curt looking into the booth where Wolfman Jack sits, unbeknownst to Curt (that shot seems to really sum up the idea that these kids are growing up and becoming adults, and have to start making their own decisions, and not rely on the comfort of the past and the mythical figures of their youth--that whole scene in the radio station (my favorite in the movie) is such a great encapsulation of what seems to me to be the main theme of the movie, that of confronting reality an leaning to move on. Not that the myths of the past disappear, as the scene brilliantly demonstrates--sometimes, we just have to take the initiative ourselves.). My God, I love this movie so much.

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterOptramark

Follow-up--the shot of Milner and Toad after the race is also an amazing, transcendent shot.

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterOptramark

I love this movie ... probably because it defined me as a teen ... and I coud relate to every character ..

Is it a classic movie? a big YES

Is it a great movie... maybe!!

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrick

This is the first time I saw it.

My favourite shot:

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterremy

mike -- i was very pleasantly surprised by it. I had always expected it to be bad somehow but i totally enjoyed it. a movie you just end up kind of tagging along with and finally you're apart of it.

remy - me too!

July 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

optramark -- thanks for such an indepth comment. I was hoping fans of this movie would appear. I kept thinking i only thought it was "ok" and then the longer it played hte more i was inside of it. So glad I watched it finally.

July 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

True story: I wasn't that big of a fan when I first saw it on DVD many years ago. Then I saw a cinema release in 4K and I was blown away. Mesmerising. I went twice more and have since watched it again on blu-ray. One of my favourite films.

Of course, better late than never 'ey? Here's my selection - Candy Clark's mournful twilight gaze.

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Glenn, where did you see it in 4k? I hadn't heard of a 4K restoration of American Graffiti, but considering Lucas's influence it's not surprising that it's gotten the royal restoration treatment, so to speak.

Nathaniel, I'm with you. I thought I wouldn't like it, but I was drawn in. I'm even going to see it again at the Academy in a few weeks!

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

I echo that Candy Clark scene, dangling out the car, smoking a cigarette. (Boy, was she ever marvelous in this film.) Cindy Williams also gave good emotion with her dance scene.

And let's not forget Mackenzie Phillips, who went on to star in another huge '70s sitcom: One Day at a Time. What a bumper crop of future sitcom stars!

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

My favorite shot was when Milner and Carol decided to follow the girls car and rip the hell off that car. It was so free-spirited and everyone seems really to enjoy that moment. Furthermore those two were my favorite "couple" in the movie.

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTombeet

tombeet -- yeah, i LOVED that pair of actors. it's weird that i don't even mention them in my article. funny how that happens.

July 4, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Anne Marie, it was actually probably just 2K. I saw it at the Astor Theatre in Melbourne, Australia. It screened for a week iand since) in a double feature with TWO-LANE BLACK TOP.

July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

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