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  • And You Thought It Would Fail:
    • Universal thought so little of the film (not knowing how to market it, and certain that as it had no stars it would flop), that it sat on the shelf for six months before the studio finally decided to release it. To their great surprise, it became enormously successful at the box-office.
    • Richard Dreyfuss thought at the time that this was just another film.
  • 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 and The Exorcist came out.
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  • Awesome Music: The entire soundtrack, really, but special mention has to be made of "Green Onions" by Booker T. and the M.G.'s accompanying the climactic drag race.
  • "Common Knowledge": The film is often cited as being the inspiration for Happy Days, when in fact it was more or less the other way around. Grafitti was inspired by an episode of Love, American Style starring Ron Howard, and then its success inspired Garry Marshall to expand that episode into a whole show.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • While Curt is cruising with the Pharaohs, they pass a car driven by Bob Falfa, the man in the cowboy hat. One of the Pharaohs remarks that the driver looks like a wimp – hilarious when one remembers that Falfa is played by Harrison Ford, who nearly embodies the cool leading man archetype in later films.
    • 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.
      • Additionally, Cindy Williams (Laurie) was one of the many actresses who auditioned to play Princess Leia!
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    • Ron Howard would later direct a Star Wars movie, but only after some serious drama between the studio and the original directors that Lucas himself would be proud of. For extra hilarity, said movie? Solo, the origin story for Harrison Ford's character!
    • Bob Falfa wears a Cool Hat because Harrison Ford was unwilling to cut his hair for a period-appropriate hairstyle. This would be oddly inverted when Ford starred in Blade Runner nine years later; there, Deckard was supposed to wear a Cool Hat, but Ford deliberately had his hair cut to avoid this, especially because he'd recently starred as another hatted hero.
  • 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. It was even more so at the time, as his appearance was the first time his legions of fans got to see what he looked like after two decades of his radio show.
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  • Retroactive Recognition: For a big chunk of the cast.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
  • Sequelitis: The original American Graffiti is regarded as a classic and one of George Lucas' 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.
    • In the sequel, Toad is drafted to Vietnam, and he so desperately tries to get back home (to the point of self-inflicted injuries). Then in order to get out of the war, he fakes his own death (with everybody, including his friends and family, thinking he's dead) and becomes a deserter in the jungles of Vietnam, never to be seen again.

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