American Pie (film)

This article is about the original 1999 film. For the film series, see American Pie (film series).
American Pie

Group picture of the cast. Alyson Hannigan has a flute in hand.

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Paul Weitz
Chris Weitz
Produced by Chris Weitz
Paul Weitz
Chris Moore
Warren Zide
Craig Perry
Written by Adam Herz
Starring Jason Biggs
Shannon Elizabeth
Alyson Hannigan
Chris Klein
Natasha Lyonne
Thomas Ian Nicholas
Tara Reid
Seann William Scott
Mena Suvari
Eddie Kaye Thomas
Eugene Levy
Music by David Lawrence
Cinematography Richard Crudo
Edited by Priscilla Nedd-Friendly
Zide/Perry Productions
Summit Entertainment
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • July 9, 1999 (1999-07-09)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $11 million
Box office $235,483,004[1]

American Pie is a 1999 teen sex comedy film written by Adam Herz and directed by brothers Paul and Chris Weitz, in their directorial film debut. It is the first film in the American Pie theatrical series. The film was a box-office hit and spawned three direct sequels: American Pie 2 (2001), American Wedding (2003), and American Reunion (2012).[2] The film concentrates on five best friends (Jim, Kevin, Oz, Finch, and Stifler) who attend East Great Falls High. With the exception of Stifler (who has already lost his virginity), the guys make a pact to lose their virginity before their high school graduation. The title is borrowed from the song of the same name and refers to a scene in the film, in which the protagonist is caught masturbating with a pie after being told that third base feels like "warm apple pie". Writer Adam Herz has stated that the title also refers to the quest of losing one's virginity in high school, which is as "American as apple pie."

The film's theme song is Laid by James, which is also the theme for the entire franchise.

In addition to the primary American Pie saga, there are four direct-to-DVD spin-off films bearing the title American Pie Presents: Band Camp (2005), The Naked Mile (2006), Beta House (2007), and The Book of Love (2009).

In response to the success of American Reunion, a fifth theatrical film, under the working title American Pie 5 was announced on August 4, 2012.[3]


Five high school seniors from West Michigan are good friends: Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs), an awkward, nerdy and sexually naïve character whose dad Noah (Eugene Levy) attempts to offer sexual advice including purchasing and giving him pornography; Chris "Oz" Ostreicher (Chris Klein), a member of the high school lacrosse team; Kevin Myers (Thomas Ian Nicholas), the nerdy leader of the group who wants to lose his virginity to his girlfriend Vicky (Tara Reid); Paul Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), a mochaccino-drinking sophisticate and nerd; and Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott), a raucous jock who often throws wild parties when his mother is away, and is also the only one of the five who has lost his virginity. At Kevin's prompting, Oz, Finch, Jim, and Kevin make a pact to lose their virginities before their high school graduation after a dorky classmate, Chuck Sherman (Chris Owen), claims to have done so at a party hosted by Stifler.

Vicky later accuses Kevin of being with her only for sex, so he must try to repair his relationship with her before the upcoming prom night, when the four plan to lose their virginity. He eventually succeeds. Oz, meanwhile, joins the school jazz choir in an attempt to find a girlfriend. From a college girl he tried to seduce, Oz learns about sensitivity and that it is about asking girls questions and listening to what they say. He soon wins the attention of Heather (Mena Suvari), a girl in the choir. However, he runs into problems when Heather learns about Oz's reputation and breaks up with him, although he manages to regain her trust when he leaves the lacrosse championship to perform a duet with her in a choir competition.

Jim, meanwhile, attempts to pursue Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), an exchange student from Slovakia who asks Jim for help to study for an upcoming history test. After being told by Oz that third base feels like "warm apple pie", he practices having sex with a pie, only to be caught by Noah (who lets him keep it a secret from his mother). Stifler persuades him to set up a webcam in his room so that they can all watch Nadia changing clothes. The plan suffers a hiccup, though, when Nadia discovers Jim's pornography collection and sits half-naked on his bed to read and masturbates to it. Jim is persuaded to return to his room, where he joins Nadia, unaware that he accidentally sent the webcam link to everyone on the school list. Nadia is interested in him, but he suffers premature ejaculation twice and is unable to have sex with her. Nadia's exchange family sees the video and sends her back home, now leaving Jim dateless for the upcoming prom and without hope of losing his virginity before high school is over.

In sheer desperation, Jim asks band camp geek Michelle Flaherty (Alyson Hannigan) to the senior prom as she is apparently the only girl at his school who did not see what happened. Finch, meanwhile, pays Vicky's friend, Jessica (Natasha Lyonne), $200 to spread rumors around the school of his sexual prowess, hoping that it will increase his chances of success. Unfortunately, he runs into trouble when Stifler, angry that a girl turned him down for the prom because she was waiting for Finch to ask her, puts a laxative into Finch's mochaccino. Finch, being paranoid about the lack of cleanliness in the school restrooms, and unable to go home to use the toilet as he usually does, is tricked by Stifler into using the girls' restroom. Afterwards, he emerges humiliated before a crowd of fellow students and is also left dateless.

At the prom, things seem bleak for the four boys until Vicky asks the girl that Chuck Sherman claimed to have bedded about her "first time." She proclaims to everyone at the prom that she and Sherman did not have sex at Stifler's party, leaving Sherman embarrassed and making him wet himself. The revelation takes the pressure off of Jim, Kevin, Oz and Finch, and they head to the post-prom party at Stifler's house with new hope.

At the after-party, all four boys fulfill their pledges. Kevin and Vicky have sex in an upstairs bedroom. Vicky breaks up with Kevin afterwards on the grounds that they will drift apart when they go to college. Oz confesses the pact to Heather, and renounces it, saying that just by them being together makes him a winner. They reconcile and wind up having sex. Oz, honoring his newfound sensitivity, never confesses to what they did.

Jim and Michelle have sex after he finds out that she is actually not as naïve as she let on and that she saw the "Nadia Incident" after all. She accepted his offer to be his date because of it, knowing he was a "sure thing" but makes him wear two condoms to combat his earlier "problem" with Nadia. Jim is surprised at Michelle's aggressiveness in bed. In the morning he wakes up to find her gone and realizes that she had used him for a one-night stand, which Jim thinks is "cool".

Dateless, Finch strays downstairs to the basement recreation room where he meets Stifler's mother (Jennifer Coolidge). She is aroused by his precociousness, and they have sex on the pool table. The next morning, while Stifler searches for his mom, he finds her on the pool table with Finch, and is so shocked that he faints. The morning after the prom, Jim, Kevin, Oz, and Finch eat breakfast at their favorite restaurant where they toast to the "next step".

From Slovakia, Nadia watches Jim stripping on his webcam: Noah walks in (to which Jim is completely oblivious) but happily walks out and also starts dancing.



Bill Murray was considered for the role of Noah Levenstein.[4]


Northwest view of the Los Cerritos house.

Much of the film is based on the writer's days at East Grand Rapids High School in Michigan.[5][6] In the film, the town is called "East Great Falls", and the high school sports the same school colors — blue and gold — along with a similar mascot — the Trailblazers instead of the Pioneers. The restaurant hangout, "Dog Years", is based on Yesterdog, a popular hot dog restaurant in the nearby Eastown neighborhood of Grand Rapids.[7] The "Central Chicks" and "Central" Lacrosse team that East Great Falls plays against is an amalgam of nearby Forest Hills Central High School and Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School.[8]

The film was actually shot in Southern California, most notably in Long Beach using Long Beach Unified School District area high schools. Millikan High School, whose school colors are blue and gold, was used for exterior shots, and Long Beach Polytechnic High School was used for interior shots. Located in Los Cerritos, Long Beach, California, both schools are within five miles of the Virginia Country Club and Los Cerritos Neighborhood (where Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Donnie Darko were filmed).[9]


Box office

Despite insiders claiming it to be a potential sleeper hit, Universal Pictures sold off the foreign rights in an attempt to recoup its budget. American Pie was sold successfully to foreign distributors at the Cannes International Film Festival.[10] The film took in a gross worldwide revenue of $235,483,004,[11][12] $132,922,000 of which was from international tickets. In North America, it was the twentieth highest-grossing film of 1999. In Germany, it was the most successful theatrical release of 2000 before Mission: Impossible II and American Beauty.[13]

In home video rentals, the film has grossed $109,577,352 worldwide, with $56,408,552 of that coming from sales in the US.[14]

Critical reception

The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Based on 123 reviews Rotten Tomatoes gives American Pie a score of 61% considered "Fresh".[15] and a score of 58 ("mixed or average reviews") from Metacritic based on reviews from 30 critics.[16] The more negative reviews include Stephen Holden of The New York Times who felt American Pie was "one of the shallowest and the most prurient teen films."[17] Robert Horton of wrote that American Pie "had a few amusing bits, however the audience should strongly note that the movie is really awful, and that it was not worthy of guilty pleasure status."[16] Jim Sullivan of The Boston Globe wrote that American Pie is a "gross and tasteless high school romp with sentimental mush."[16] Roger Ebert was more supportive, awarding it three out of four stars. He noted that "[i]t is not inspired, but it's cheerful and hard-working and sometimes funny, and—here's the important thing—it's not mean. Its characters are sort of sweet and lovable."[18]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
2000 American Comedy Award Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Eugene Levy Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Supporting Comedy Actor Eugene Levy Won [19]
Favorite Actress Mena Suvari Nominated [19]
Favorite Actor Alyson Hannigan Nominated [19]
Bogey Awards Bogey Awards in Platinum Universal Pictures Won
Casting Society of America Artios Award for Best Casting for Feature Film Universal Pictures Won
CFCA Award Best Promising Actor Chris Klein Nominated
Csapnivalo Award Golden Slate Award for Best Teen Movie Universal Pictures Won
Golden Screen Universal Pictures Won
Golden Screen with 1 Star Universal Pictures Won
MTV Movie Awards Best Comedic Performance Jason Biggs Nominated [20]
Breakthrough Female Performance Shannon Elizabeth Nominated [20]
Breakthrough Male Performance Jason Biggs Nominated [20]
Best Movie Universal Pictures Nominated [20]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Actor Jason Biggs Nominated
Choice Breakout Performance Chris Klein Nominated
Choice Comedy Universal Pictures Nominated
Choice Liar Chris Klein Nominated
Choice Sleazebag Seann William Scott Nominated
Young Hollywood Awards Best Ensemble Cast Jason Biggs Won
Breakthrough Female Performance Mena Suvari Won
Best Soundtrack Uptown Records & Universal Records Won


The film's soundtrack peaked at number 50 on the Billboard 200 chart.[21]

American Pie: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released June 29, 1999 (1999-06-29)
Genre Pop punk, alternative rock
Length 46:02
Label Uptown, Universal
Various artists chronology
American Pie: Music from the Motion Picture
American Pie 2: Music from the Motion Picture
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic [22]
No. TitleWriter(s)Performed by Length
1. "New Girl"   Third Eye Blind 2:16
2. "You Wanted More"   Tonic 3:52
3. "Mutt"   Blink-182 3:23
4. "Glory"   Sugar Ray 3:29
5. "Super Down"   Super TransAtlantic 4:07
6. "Find Your Way Back Home"   Dishwalla 4:04
7. "Good Morning Baby"   Dan Wilson of Semisonic & Bic Runga 3:34
8. "Stranger by the Day"   Shades Apart 4:02
9. "Summertime"   Bachelor No. 1 3:46
10. "Vintage Queen"   Goldfinger 3:04
11. "Sway"   Bic Runga 4:23
12. "Wishen"   The Loose Nuts 3:04
13. "Man with the Hex"   The Atomic Fireballs 3:01

The following songs were included in the film but were not featured on the soundtrack:

See also


  1. American Pie at Box Office Mojo
  2. TMZ report
  3. "American Pie 5 cooking at Universal". Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  4. Locke, Greg W. (26 August 2011). "The Top 25 Roles Bill Murray Didn't Take". Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  5. Adam Herz — Biography
  6. "The Michigan Daily Online". 2008-02-29. Archived from the original on February 29, 2008. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  7. "History Page "Good Ole Hot Dogs" at 1505 Wealthy, Grand Rapids, Michigan, restaurant". Yesterdog. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  8. (2000-05-28). "American Pie Reunion". Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  9. "American Pie Filming Locations". Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  10. "Foreign Strategy May Burn Universal." Los Angeles Times thru Orlando Sentinel (June 13, 1999).
  11. American Pie (1999) Box Office Mojo
  12. American Pie – Box Office Data, Movie News, Cast Information The Numbers
  14. American Pie (1999) – Box office / business
  15. American Pie Rotten Tomatoes
  16. 1 2 3 American Pie Metacritic
  17. "'American Pie': The Road to Manhood, Paved in Raunchy Jokes and Pie". The New York Times. 1999-07-09. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  18. Roger Ebert. "American Pie". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  19. 1 2 3 "Blockbuster Entertainment Award winners". Variety (magazine). May 9, 2000. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  20. 1 2 3 4 "2000 MTV Movie Awards - Past Movie Awards- Awards Show Highlights and Winners -".
  21. "American Pie – Original Soundtrack – Awards – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  22. American Pie at AllMusic

External links

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