Study Guide

Almost Famous Coming of Age

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Coming of Age

Almost Famous, at its core, is a coming of age film. We watch the story unfold through William's eyes, and we accompany him on his transformative journey. William, however, is hardly your average fifteen-year-old kid. For one thing, probably not too many of his high-school peers got to cruise around the country on tour with a bunch of rock stars and groupies (sorry, Band Aids). William's forced to grow up quickly, learning about everything from responsibility and trust to professionalism, love, and heartbreak on the way.

Of course, William's not the only character who grows throughout the film—it seems like just about everyone changes for the better by the time all is said and done.

Questions About Coming of Age

  1. What are some of the most important lessons William learns throughout the story?
  2. In what ways do some of the other characters in Almost Famous, like Russell and Penny, also have coming-of-age experiences?
  3. Why do you think Lester decides to mentor William? How does his guidance help shape the young journalist?

Chew on This

Cameron Crowe chose to emulate the title sequence of To Kill a Mockingbird, perhaps the greatest coming-of-age story in American cinema, to set the coming-of-age tone from the very start.

William isn't only a learner in this coming-of-age tale; he's also a teacher, helping other characters in the story realize their own potential, too.

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