By Joseph Martinez -
40 years? It can't be so. Or can it? "American Graffiti," the 1973 coming-of-age classic, turns 40 this year. George Lucas's semi-autobiographical tale of music loving teens in post-World War II California is funny, bittersweet and as nostalgic as movies get.
Told in a series of vignettes, "American Graffiti" featured a cast of actors who were relatively unknown at the time including Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss and Harrison Ford. Aside from producer Francis Ford Coppola (who was just coming off the success of "The Godfather"), the only household names in the credits were the rock-n-roll stars featured on the film's soundtrack, which included more than 40 classic songs from the era.
Shortly after it's release, the film was deemed a critical and financial success. Producers had budgeted only a little over $777,000. Lucas' passion project eventually earned an estimated return of well over $200 million in box office gross and home video sales, not including merchandising.
In 1995, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Now, lets flashback to that group of high school grads' last days of innocence and reminisce with the help of IMdb.com Trivia...take a look. (photos: The Hollywood Archive / Universal)