Ron Howard as Steve Bolander, conflicted high school graduate
Modesto, California, Summer 1962
Film: American Graffiti
Release Date: August 11, 1973
Director: George Lucas
Costume Designer: Aggie Guerard Rodgers
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
“Where were you in ’62?” asked the promotional materials for American Graffiti, widely released 50 years ago today on August 11, 1973. George Lucas followed his directorial debut THX 1138 with a neon-lit nostalgic ode to his rock-scored youth cruising the streets of Modesto, California in the early 1960s.
The film centers around four recent high school graduates who meet in the parking lot of Mel’s Drive-In on the last night of summer vacation: even-keeled Curt Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss), confident drag-racer John Milner (Paul Le Mat), the fittingly nicknamed Terry “the Toad” Fields (Charles Martin Smith), and the aloof Steve Bolander (Ron Howard), who lends his stunning white ’58 Impala to Terry while he’s away at college.
It’s a moody night for Steve, battling with his decision to leave both Modesto and his relationship with Laurie (Cindy Williams), summing up the movie’s thesis when he observes “you just can’t stay seventeen forever.” Continue reading