American Pie (film)

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American Pie
Group picture of the cast. Alyson Hannigan has a flute in hand.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Weitz
Written byAdam Herz
Produced by
CinematographyRichard Crudo
Edited byPriscilla Nedd-Friendly
Music byDavid Lawrence
Distributed byUniversal Pictures (English-speaking territories)
Summit Entertainment (International)[2]
Release date
  • July 9, 1999 (1999-07-09)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$11 million[3]
Box office$235.5 million[3]

American Pie is a 1999 American coming-of-age teen sex comedy film directed and co-produced by Paul Weitz (in his directorial debut) and written by Adam Herz. It is the first film in the American Pie theatrical series and stars an ensemble cast that includes Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Alyson Hannigan, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Seann William Scott, Eugene Levy, Shannon Elizabeth, and Jennifer Coolidge. The film's story centers on a group of five classmates who attend the fictional East Great Falls High School. The youths make a pact to lose their virginity before their high school graduation.

The film's title refers to a scene 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 was a box-office hit and spawned three direct sequels: American Pie 2, American Wedding, and American Reunion. In 2017, Scott said in an interview that the fourth film probably had not made enough at the domestic box office to warrant another film.[4] In addition to the primary American Pie saga, there are five direct-to-DVD spin-off films bearing the title American Pie Presents: Band Camp, The Naked Mile, Beta House, The Book of Love, and Girls' Rules.


The story centers on five high school seniors and friends from fictional East Great Falls, Michigan: Jim Levenstein, an awkward and sexually naïve nerd whose dad offers him pornography and awkward sexual advice; Chris "Oz" Ostreicher, overconfident star of the lacrosse team; Kevin Myers, the calm leader of the group seeking to lose his virginity with his girlfriend Vicky; Paul Finch, a mochaccino-drinking sophisticate; and Steven Stifler, a popular but raucous jock who often throws wild parties and is the only one of the five who is not a virgin.

When dorky classmate Sherman claims that he lost his virginity at a party hosted by Stifler, Kevin prompts Oz, Finch, and Jim to join him in making a pact. They pledge that they will lose their virginity by high school graduation.

Vicky accuses Kevin of wanting her only for sex so he has to repair their relationship before senior prom, now the target day for the four. Kevin's older brother tells him about a book hidden in the library that has been compiled by students giving sex tips; he shares the information with his friends and gives Vicky cunnilingus after studying the book. Oz joins the school choir to find a girlfriend and learn about sensitivity. He gains the attention of choir girl Heather, who asks him to prom but then learns about Oz's reputation and breaks up with him. Jim pursues Nadia, a Czech foreign exchange student.

After Oz tells Jim that third base feels like "warm apple pie", Jim has sex with a freshly baked pie in his kitchen, but is interrupted when his father walks in and catches him in the act. At school, Nadia asks Jim to help her study, and Stifler persuades Jim to set up a webcam in his room so that they can all watch Nadia changing clothes after coming over to study following her ballet class. Watching, they see Nadia discover Jim's pornography collection and while sitting half-naked on his bed, she starts to masturbate to it.

Jim is persuaded to return to join Nadia, unaware that the webcam link has been sent to everyone on the school list. He fails to cover the webcam and when he joins a willing Nadia he experiences premature ejaculation twice. Nadia's sponsors see the video and send her back home, leaving Jim dateless for the prom and the laughing stock of the school.

Jim, believing school band geek Michelle is unaware of the webcam incident, asks her to the prom. Finch pays Vicky's friend, Jessica, $200 to spread a rumor of his sexual prowess, hoping that it will increase his chances of success. Stifler is turned down by a girl because she wants Finch to ask her, so he spikes Finch's mochaccino with a laxative. Stifler directs Finch into the girls' bathroom where Finch has loud diarrhea. As he leaves, he is laughed at by Stifler and a crowd of students. Oz makes the decision to leave his lacrosse championship game to join Heather for a duet performance and they reconcile.

At prom, Sherman's virginity conquest is revealed to be a lie and he urinates in his pants in front of everyone in attendance. Jim becomes annoyed by Kevin's obsession to have them fulfill their pledge. At Stifler's post-prom party, after Kevin tells Vicky he loves her, they have sex in an upstairs bedroom, and afterwards she breaks up with him, saying they will drift apart when they go to different colleges. Oz confesses the pact to Heather and renounces it, and they share a romantic night together by the lake.

Jim learns that Michelle accepted his offer because she saw the "Nadia incident" and thought he was a "sure thing". Michelle then has aggressive sex with Jim. Finch meets and propositions Stifler's mother and they have sex on the pool table. Stifler later walks in on them and faints. The morning after the prom, the group discuss their successful pledge while eating at their favorite restaurant. Honoring his newfound sensitivity, Oz does not divulge to his friends whether or not he and Heather had sex. The friends then toast to the "next step".

Later, Jim strips for Nadia via webcam. He is oblivious of his father's walking in, who then walks out of the room and starts dancing as he calls for his wife to join him.



  • Blink-182 make a cameo appearance as the band watching Jim and Nadia during their webcast, though drummer Travis Barker is incorrectly credited as former Blink-182 drummer "Scott Raynor". Also, when their song "Mutt" is credited, Barker's name is misspelled as "Travis Barkor". The parts were given when Tom DeLonge's acting agent reported the film needed a band.
  • Casey Affleck as Tom Myers, Kevin's older brother.
  • Stacy Fuson, Playmate of the Month for February 1999, appears in the crowd laughing at Finch when he exits the girls' restroom.


Northwest view of the Los Cerritos house.

Much of American Pie 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 bears 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.[8] The working title for the film had been "East Grand Rapids".[9]

Adam Herz wrote the screenplay, tentatively titled Untitled Teenage Sex Comedy That Can Be Made For Under $10 Million That Most Readers Will Probably Hate But I Think You Will Love, in six weeks using Porky's and Bachelor Party as inspiration.[10] Principal photography on the film, now titled Great Falls, begun on July 21 and wrapped on September 11, 1998. The film originally received an NC-17 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America until edits were made to secure an R rating.[11] During the casting of the film, Bill Murray was considered for the role of Noah Levenstein, Jim's dad.[12] Jonathan Taylor Thomas was considered for the role of Jim Levenstein.[13][14] When Eugene Levy was cast, he insisted on being allowed to improvise his lines, as he disliked how his character was written in the script. In the final film, most of his lines were improvised.[15]

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).[16][17]


Box office[edit]

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.[18] It earned $18.7 million during its opening weekend and defeated Wild Wild West to reach the number one spot.[19] The film grossed $235,483,004 worldwide,[3][20] $132,922,000 of which was from international tickets. In the United States and Canada, it grossed $102,561,004 and was the twentieth highest-grossing film of 1999. In Germany, distributed by Constantin Films, it was the most successful theatrical release of 2000 with a gross of $33.5 million.[21][22]

In home video rentals, the film has grossed $109,577,352 worldwide, with $56,408,552 of that coming from sales in the US.[23]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, American Pie has an approval rating of 61% based on 129 reviews, with an average rating of 5.80/10. The critical consensus reads, "So embarrassing it's believable, American Pie succeeds in bringing back the teen movie genre."[1] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 58 out of 100 based on 30 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[24] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of A− on a scale of A to F.[25]

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."[26] Ernest Hardy 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."[27] Jim Sullivan of The Boston Globe wrote that American Pie is a "gross and tasteless high school romp with sentimental mush."[28] 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."[29]


Year Award Category Recipients Result Ref.
2000 American Comedy Awards Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Eugene Levy Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Comedy Actor Eugene Levy Won [30]
Favorite Actress Mena Suvari Nominated [30]
Favorite Actor Alyson Hannigan Nominated [30]
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 [31]
Breakthrough Female Performance Shannon Elizabeth Nominated [31]
Breakthrough Male Performance Jason Biggs Nominated [31]
Best Movie Universal Pictures Nominated [31]
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

Home media[edit]

American Pie was released on DVD and Blu-ray in both rated and unrated versions.[citation needed] A new two-disc Ultimate Edition DVD release of the film debuted on July 31, 2001, to coincide with the release of its successor American Pie 2.[32]


The film's soundtrack peaked at number 50 on the Billboard 200 chart.[33]

Professional ratings
Review scores
No.TitlePerformed byLength
1."New Girl"Third Eye Blind2:16
2."You Wanted More"Tonic3:52
4."Glory"Sugar Ray3:29
5."Super Down"Super TransAtlantic4:07
6."Find Your Way Back Home"Dishwalla4:04
7."Good Morning Baby"Dan Wilson of Semisonic & Bic Runga3:34
8."Stranger by the Day"Shades Apart4:02
9."Summertime"Bachelor No. 13:46
10."Vintage Queen"Goldfinger3:04
11."Sway"Bic Runga4:23
12."Wishen"The Loose Nuts3:04
13."Man with the Hex"The Atomic Fireballs3:01

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


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[35] Silver 60,000*
United States (RIAA)[36] Gold 500,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "American Pie". Rotten Tomatoes. April 27, 2021. Archived from the original on October 10, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2010.
  2. ^ Minns, Adam (February 23, 2000). "UPI floats Bullwinkle, Hannibal". Retrieved August 22, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c American Pie at Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ Thompson, Simon Y. (April 9, 2018). "Seann William Scott Talks 'Goon' Sequel, More 'American Pie' And 'Dude, Where's My Car?'". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  5. ^ "Adam Herz". IMDb. Archived from the original on October 28, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  6. ^ "The Michigan Daily Online". February 29, 2008. Archived from the original on February 29, 2008. Retrieved April 21, 2012 – via Web Archive.
  7. ^ "History Page "Good Ole Hot Dogs" at 1505 Wealthy, Grand Rapids, Michigan, restaurant". Yesterdog. Archived from the original on September 17, 2019. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
  8. ^ (May 28, 2000). "American Pie Reunion". Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
  9. ^ Karon, Paul (July 9, 1998). "Elizabeth 'Falls' for U teen sex comedy". Variety. Archived from the original on September 25, 2019. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  10. ^ Staff, Movieline (June 1, 1999). "Adam Herz: His Piece of the Pie". Movieline. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  11. ^ "16 Delicious Facts About American Pie". July 8, 2015. Archived from the original on March 24, 2020. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  12. ^ Locke, Greg W. (August 26, 2011). "The Top 25 Roles Bill Murray Didn't Take". Archived from the original on November 25, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  13. ^ "Jason Biggs Almost Lost 'American Pie' Role to Jonathan Taylor Thomas". November 16, 2017.
  14. ^ Kaplan, Ilana (July 9, 2019). "'American Pie' at 20: That Notorious Pie Scene, From Every Angle". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  15. ^ Branch, Chris (March 17, 2015). "The 'American Pie' Dad Was Originally A Much Creepier Character". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  16. ^ "American Pie Filming Locations". Archived from the original on April 28, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
  17. ^ Armitage, Helen (April 25, 2022). "Where Was American Pie Filmed? All Locations". ScreenRant. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  18. ^ "Foreign Strategy May Burn Universal." Archived January 8, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Los Angeles Times thru Orlando Sentinel (June 13, 1999).
  19. ^ "'American Pie' Cuts Biggest Slice". Los Angeles Times. July 13, 1999.
  20. ^ American Pie – Box Office Data, Movie News, Cast Information Archived November 10, 2013, at the Wayback Machine The Numbers
  21. ^ "Jahrescharts Deutschland". Archived from the original on March 25, 2017. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  22. ^ Groves, Don (October 8, 2001). "'Pie' flies as sequels score o'seas". Variety. p. 14.
  23. ^ "American Pie". Archived from the original on March 16, 2020. Retrieved June 30, 2018 – via
  24. ^ "American Pie". Metacritic. Archived from the original on August 20, 2012. Retrieved February 20, 2010.
  25. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on July 22, 2018. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  26. ^ Stephen Holden (July 9, 1999). "'American Pie': The Road to Manhood, Paved in Raunchy Jokes and Pie". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 15, 2006. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
  27. ^ Ernest Hardy (May 5, 2001). "Review of American Pie by Ernest Hardy". Archived from the original on May 5, 2001. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  28. ^ Jim Sullivan (September 7, 1999). "Sex, comedy are main dishes served with "American Pie"". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on September 14, 2001. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  29. ^ Roger Ebert. "American Pie". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on November 1, 2019. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  30. ^ a b c "Blockbuster Entertainment Award winners". Variety. May 9, 2000. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  31. ^ a b c d "2000 MTV Movie Awards - Past Movie Awards- Awards Show Highlights and Winners -". MTV. Archived from the original on May 25, 2012. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
  32. ^ "'American Pie,' and then some". Detroit Free Press. July 31, 2001. p. 25. Archived from the original on April 23, 2023. Retrieved April 23, 2023 – via open access
  33. ^ "American Pie – Original Soundtrack – Awards – AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  34. ^ American Pie at AllMusic
  35. ^ "British album certifications – Original Soundtrack – American Pie". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  36. ^ "American album certifications – Soundtrack – American Pie". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved April 28, 2022.

External links[edit]