The Original Scene
The Re-Creation Scene
Our Cop Car
Where You Can See The Cop Car


The Original Scene

The Destruction of The Cop Car Scene

The destruction of Officer Holstein’s police car is the most remembered and certainly the most hilarious scene in American Graffiti. This scene was filmed in the empty lot located on Petaluma Boulevard North, between the McNear and LanMart Buildings, downtown Petaluma.

Today, 36 years later, this lot, owned by Richard and Angela DeCarli, remains essentially the same…empty. It is used as a parking lot for adjacent building tenants.

It all begins when Curt is sitting atop the hood of a DeSoto watching an episode of Ozzie and Harriet on several TV screens in an appliance store window.

Suddenly, three tough guys wearing Pharaohs jackets surround him.


What-a-ya doin’ creep?

Who Me?

No, I’m talking to the other fifty creeps here.

You know Gil Gonzales?

Gil Gonzales? No. No I don’t.

Don't know Gil? Well, you oughta, He's a friend of ours and that's his car you’ve got your butt parked on.

I'm sorry. It's really not much of a scratch. I don't think he'll even…

It ain't the size that's in question here. It's the principle. Jeez, this is tough...what should we do with ya?

Tie him to the car and drag him.

This is going to take some thinking. You better come with us maybe….take a ride with the Pharaohs.

No listen, I’d really like to, but I I I …

I know just how ya feel.


The Miniature Golf Course

After cruising around a bit, Curt and the Pharaohs arrive at a miniature golf course.

Whata we doin’ here?

We’re outta gas man.

They don’t….they don’t sell gas here.

We’re outta money, too.

Hey, whata you punks doin’? What’s goin’ on here?

Hey, hi. Mr. Gordon, what's up?

Henderson--Curt Henderson? You with these punks?

These are friends of mine. We were just...

Huh huh…huh, huh, you had me nervous there for a second.


Back of Jerry’s Cherries Used Car Lot

Listen Carl


Curt, Curt…Despite ya scratching Gil's car, I like you. And I know what you'd like more than anything right now. Like every guy in town, you got the same secret dream, right?

Ya want to be a Pharaoh. Huh? Go ahead, you can admit it--you'd like to--but you never dreamed it could be possible, did you? Hah?

Well, tonight, I'm goin' to give you your chance.

Now you got three choices. One, you chicken out. In that case, I let Ants tie you to the car and drag you around a little bit. And you don't want that, right?


Two, you foul up and Holstein ‘ill get you and you don’t want that, right?

No I don’t.

Three, you are successful and you join the Pharaohs with a car coat, and the blood initiation and all that.

Wait….what blood initiation?


Stand By For Justice!

After successfully securing one end of the cable to a light pole and the other to the axle of the cop car, Curt and the Pharaohs jump into the ’51 Mercury and tear down the street in front of Jerry’s Cherries Used Car Lot and the cops. As they pass the lot, Curt leans way out of the window, raises his arm and yells, “Stand by for justice!”

When the cops peel out to chase them…

As the Wolfman howls…
“Ooooooh, I can’t believe it! Feeling so good ‘cause your sixteen!”