YMMV / American Graffiti

  • Award Snub: 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 The Sting came out.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: The radio station's night manager 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. 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. Although they both know in the end that the age difference between them would make it impossible for a real relationship to work.
  • Dawson Casting: The only exception is for Mackenzie Phillips, who was 12 at the time of filming and played a 13 year old girl.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Steve's remark about Laurie's Big Brother Attraction, when you realize this film is made by the same guy responsible for the Star Wars movies, one of which is infamous for a passionate kiss between Luke and Leia before they find out they're siblings.
  • Nightmare Fuel: 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 "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.
  • One-Scene Wonder: 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.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny:
    • 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. Cooley High, Dazed and Confused, Boogie Nights, a lot of Coming of Age 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.
  • Tear Jerker: Finding out the fates of John Milner and Terry the Toad (unless you've seen the sequel) in the epilogue.