“American Graffiti” (1973) at the Cerrito on Thursday, May 19

See a night in the life of American kids about to embark on adulthood in “American Graffiti,” at the Cerrito on Thursday, May 19, at 7 p.m.

Before George Lucas started making space epics, he made “American Graffiti,” about a group of American high school graduates having a last night out after summer vacation.

Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) and Steve (Ron Howard) are both about to go off to college, but each has reasons to want to stay. Steve and his girlfriend Laurie (Cindy Williams) try to figure out how to continue their relationship while heading in different directions. Curt encounters a beautiful woman (Suzanne Somers) in a T-Bird, and spends the rest of the night trying to find her again while being coerced into some bad behavior by a local gang whom he’s managed to tick off. Steve gives Terry his car for safekeeping while he’s off at college, and Terry uses the fancy wheels to impress a girl (Candy Clark) who’s out of his league (and gets himself in trouble along the way). John (Paul Le Mat), the local hot rod legend, wants to cruise the main but is saddled with looking after twelve-year-old Carol (Mackenzie Phillips) for the night, as Bob Falfa (Harrison Ford) looks for John to challenge him to a race.

“American Graffiti” has a soundtrack full of period hits, and features legendary DJ Wolfman Jack. The movie was nominated for Academy Awards for best picture, best supporting actress (Candy Clark), best director (George Lucas), best original screenplay, and best editing. In 1995 it was named to the National Film Registry as a “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant film.”

“American Graffiti” will play only once at the Cerrito, on Thursday, May 19, at 7:00 p.m. Moviegoers are strongly advised to buy advance tickets at the box office or online, as the movie may sell out. All seats are $9.50. Arriving early is a good idea, in order to choose your seat and order delicious food, wine, and beer.

Upcoming Classics

The Cerrito Classics series is going on hiatus in June and July. It will begin again in August with a fresh set of films.


Rialto Cinemas Cerrito requires proof of vaccination for all attendees age 12 and up. Please read the details of the policy here, on the Rialto web site.