Coming-Of-Age Films That We All Remember
The coming-of-age movie genre isn't restricted to featuring characters who fall just within the late teens to mid-20's age bracket, however. Coming-of-age movies frequently involve tween protagonists, as is the case with Director Rob Reiner's "Stand by Me" (1986), as well as slightly older characters like in 2007's "Knocked Up" starring Seth Rogen, the reigning Man-boy champion. Still, all coming-of-age films concern similar thematic content to the characteristics that Dr. Arnett described in his theory of emerging adulthood - themes that concern events like falling in love for the first time, leaving home, and losing one's childhood innocence. Coming-of-age themes are rarely all that innovative, but they tend to hold mass appeal because their banality can usually be overpowered by the sentimental experience of youthful nostalgia. The following list of films represents a compilation of some of the better coming-of-age films to grace the silver screen…
American Graffiti (1973)
Directed by George Lucas. Starring Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips, and Harrison Ford.
Set in 1962, "American Graffiti" is a bittersweet coming-of-age film for baby boomers that follows one decisive night in the lives of several recently graduated high school students from Modesto, California. The film's main focus is on the characters Steve (Ron Howard) and Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) who are each faced with the struggle of being caught somewhere in the middle of savoring and outgrowing their small hometown. Taking place just prior to the Vietnam War and the turmoil of the late 1960's, "American Graffiti" evokes a wistful yearning for the simpler, more innocent times of milkshakes, diners, and drive in movies.
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