Recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock is trapped into an affair with Mrs. Robinson, who happens to be the wife of his father's business partner and then finds himself falling in love with her daughter, Elaine.
Release Year: 1967
Rating: 8.1/10 (106,052 voted)
Critic's Score: 77/100
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross
Ben has recently graduated college, with his parents now expecting great things from him. At his "Homecoming" party, Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father's business partner, has Ben drive her home, which leads to an affair between the two. The affair eventually ends, but comes back to haunt him when he finds himself falling for Elaine, Mrs. Robinson's daughter.
Writers: Calder Willingham, Buck Henry
Woman on Bus
The Movie That Became A Legend [Video Australia]
Release Date: 22 December 1967
Filming Locations: 607 North Palm Drive, Beverly Hills, California, USA
Box Office Details
Did You Know?
Charles Grodin was cast as Benjamin, but the deal fell apart following a disagreement over salary. Mike Nichols still offered him a part in
Catch-22, which he was already scheduled to direct.
When Benjamin and Elaine are in his Berkley room, at one point his face is full of shaving cream and he starts to shave. When he suddenly decides to stop shaving and wipes all of the shaving cream off with a towel, he has no stubble or growth on his face. He did not need to shave to begin with.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to begin our descent into Los Angeles. The sound you just heard is the landing gear locking into place. Los Angeles weather is clear; temperature is 72. We expect to make our 4 hour and 18 minute flight on schedule. We have enjoyed having you on board, and look forward to seeing you again in the near future.
A Bridge Over Troubled Waters
The Graduate (1967/Mike Nichols)
If ever a song were more appropriate for a film, besides 'All Along the
Watchtower' for "Apocalypse Now", it is 'The Sounds of Silence'
preformed by Simon & Garfunkel in Mike Nichol's "The Graduate". The
song, nearly word for word, describes the inner turmoil that the
characters of "The Graduate" face. They are lost and confused, stuck on
the bridge of life, two crossing into adulthood, and one into old age.
And that's just one way to look at it.
"The Graduate" is one of the best films I have ever had the pleasure to
witness, and I only wish I were alive when it was first released.
Dustin Hoffman, in his first major film role, plays Benjamin Braddock:
the epitome of the confused and isolated young adult male. He sits in
his room and does nothing. He lies around in his parent's pool for
hours on end. Ben, who has just graduated from college, is home for the
summer. Then, after an awkward sexual encounter with a friend of his
parents named Mrs. Robinson, a one night stand turns into a summer
romance. But betrayal soon follows as Benjamin falls for Mrs.
Robinson's daughter, Elaine.
Nichol's directorial genius (he won an Oscar for the film) really shows
in the opening party sequence celebrating Ben's arrival home. There is
a close-up of Ben's face as he stumbles his way through the event,
listening to advice and shaking hands with the faceless (much like his
future) masses. The camera moves in such a way that a feeling of
claustrophobia comes over the viewer. They are overcome by what is
going on around them, much like Benjamin is at this crossroads in his
life. Another example is when Ben first arrives at the fateful hotel
where he meets Mrs. Robinson for sex. He walks around the lobby,
suspicious that the desk clerk is on to him, and then he attempts to
walk into a room. Only a large group of the elderly walks out, and
Benjamin stands there holding the door for them. Then he proceeds
inside, only to be passed by a group of high school students. This
image once again reinforces the crossroads that Ben is at in his life.
After finally viewing this classic, I realized that many of my favorite
directors to emerge from the 90's (mainly Wes Anderson) were greatly
influenced by this film. What's more interesting is that "The Graduate"
was a landmark film for American cinema and the decade in which it was
released, sharing the same themes that Benjamin experiences throughout
the film. Most of American cinema was very conventional up until the
60's. Nothing extremely scandalous was shown in a film, and many
serious topics were not widely addressed through cinema yet. "The
Graduate" is the perfect mix of old and new. It's the 'bridge' that
separates the standard American films from the more experimental ones
that would emerge all throughout the 1970's.
The same can be said for the decade of the 1960's. America lost its
innocence the day Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. For
the next five years, the country went through a spiral of events that
led to the sexual revolution of the late 1960's. And "The Graduate"
separates the white picket fences of the 50's and early 60's from the
Rock and Roll and drugs of the late 1960's and early 70's. It's a
crossroads in the middle of the most turbulent time in American
history. In one of the films most ironic images, a tired and lonesome
Benjamin slumps on a bench on the Berkley campus (an important place
for the sexual revolution) under an American flag blowing in the wind.
The flag still waves, but Benjamin is beat. He represents the fall and
eventual metamorphosis of the American dream.
But aside from all its serious themes and deeper meanings, "The
Graduate" is a comedy at its heart. It contains one of the funniest and
most exciting climaxes in cinema. And the final image is a knockout. It
shows Benjamin and Elaine sitting at the end of a bus filled with
elders, looking ahead blankly, at the road and at their future. Then
the bus drives off in the distance. They do not know where their future
is headed, or where the bus is even going. It was the same circumstance
for America in 1967. The film closes with the same song it opened with:
"The Sounds of Silence".