19761

The Graduate

1967 Comedy Drama

"Just one word: plastic." "Are you here for an affair?" These lines and others became cultural touchstones, as 1960s youth rebellion seeped into the California upper middle-class in Mike Nichols' landmark hit. Mentally adrift the summer after graduating from college, suburbanite Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) would rather float in his parents' pool than follow adult advice about his future. But the exhortation of family friend Mr. Robinson (Murray Hamilton) to seize every possible opportunity inspires Ben to accept an offer of sex from icily feline Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). The affair and the pool are all well and good until Ben is pushed to go out with the Robinsons' daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross) and he falls in love with her. Mrs. Robinson sabotages the relationship and an understandably disgusted Elaine runs back to college. Determined not to let Elaine get away, Ben follows her to school and then disrupts her family-sanctioned wedding. None too happy about her pre-determined destiny, Elaine flees with Ben -- but to what? Directing his second feature film after Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Nichols matched the story's satire of suffocating middle-class shallowness with an anti-Hollywood style influenced by the then-voguish French New Wave. Using odd angles, jittery editing, and evocative widescreen photography, Nichols welded a hip New Wave style and a generation-gap theme to a fairly traditional screwball comedy script by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham from Charles Webb's novel. Adding to the European art film sensibility, the movie offers an unsettling and ambiguous ending with no firm closure. And rather than Robert Redford, Nichols opted for a less glamorous unknown for the pivotal role of Ben, turning Hoffman into a star and opening the door for unconventional leading men throughout the 1970s. With a pop-song score written by Paul Simon and performed by Simon & Garfunkel bolstering its contemporary appeal, The Graduate opened to rave reviews in December 1967 and surpassed all commercial expectations. It became the top-grossing film of 1968 and was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Actor, and Actress, with Nichols winning Best Director. Together with Bonnie and Clyde, it stands as one of the most influential films of the late '60s, as its mordant dissection of the generation gap helped lead the way to the youth-oriented Hollywood artistic "renaissance" of the early '70s. more..

Director: Mike Nichols

Starring: Dustin Hoffman,Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Murray Hamilton

Reviews

  • The funniest American comedy of the year.

    Roger Ebert - The Chicago Sun-Times

    27 April 2013

  • The Graduate is a flawlessly acted and produced film.

    Ethan Alter - TV Guide

    27 April 2013

  • Dustin Hoffman gives the inspired performance that launched his movie career, and director Mike Nichols shows a gift for social satire that has never glistened quite so brightly since.

    David Sterritt - Christian Science Monitor

    27 April 2013

  • Funny, outrageous, and touching, The Graduate is a sophisticated film that puts Mr. Nichols and his associates on a level with any of the best satirists working abroad today.

    - The New York Times

    27 April 2013

  • The Graduate is a delightful, satirical comedy-drama about a young man's seduction by an older woman, and the measure of maturity which he attains from the experience.

    - Variety

    27 April 2013

Awards

  • Best Director

    Academy Awards (1968)

  • Best Direction

    BAFTA Awards (1969)

  • Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures

    Directors Guild of America (1968)

  • Best Motion Picture - Musical/Comedy

    Golden Globes (1968)

  • Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture

    Grammy Awards (1969)