* AwardSnub: Averted when it was nominated for five Oscars - Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Editing, and Best Supporting Actress for Candy Clark - but played straight when it lost all five. Granted, it was the same year ''TheSting'' came out.
* CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming: The radio station's night manager [[spoiler: really Wolfman Jack]] having a conversation with Curt about about going back to college - and getting out into the world - encouraging the young man to enjoy life while he can. Also constantly offering Curt a Popsicle as a kind of sacred offering.
** And offering to get Curt's message to the Wolfman so he can get it out there to the Girl in the T-Bird. [[spoiler:Which he promptly does as Curt looks back and realizes what just happened.]]
** What started off as an embarrassing prank on John - tricking him into babysitting the way-too-young Carol - ends up as a chaste romance as the two bond during the night's cruising. [[BittersweetEnding Although they both know in the end]] that the age difference between them would make it impossible for a real relationship to work.
* DawsonCasting: The only exception is for Mackenzie Phillips, who was 12 at the time of filming and played a 13 year old girl.
* HilariousInHindsight: Steve's remark about Laurie's BigBrotherAttraction, when you realize this film is made by the same guy responsible for the ''Franchise/StarWars'' movies, [[TheEmpireStrikesBack one of which]] is infamous for a passionate kiss between Luke and Leia [[ReturnOfTheJedi before they find out they're siblings.]]
* NightmareFuel: For a nostalgic comedy, the film has a few genuinely creepy scenes.
** Milner and Carol's visit to the auto graveyard.
** Toad and Debbie's walk through the woods, where she tells him about the "[[SerialKiller goat killer]]" that's supposedly loose in the area.
** Curt's mission to hook up the cable to the police cruiser's axle is accompanied by eerily-distorted train sounds.
* OneSceneWonder: Suzanne Somers as the Blonde in the T-Bird. All she does is mouth "I love you" at the camera and fans have been wondering about her character ever since.
** Although his God-like voice is present throughout the movie as background chatter, Wolfman Jack's actual appearance at the end - offering Popsicles and wisdom - counts.
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny:
** Fifties nostalgia, now old hat, was still a pretty novel subject for a film in 1973.
** The habit of movies looking back a decade or two with a nostalgic melancholy in general. ''Film/CooleyHigh'', ''Film/DazedAndConfused'', ''Film/BoogieNights'', a lot of ComingOfAge movies... it all started with this movie.
* {{Sequelitis}}: The original ''American Graffiti'' is regarded as a classic and one of George Lucas's best movies outside of the ''Star Wars'' franchise. ''More American Graffiti''? Not so much.
* TearJerker: Finding out the fates of John Milner and Terry the Toad (unless you've seen the sequel) in the epilogue.
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