Graduate

Graduate

4.2 17
Director: Mike Nichols

Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross

     
 

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"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… See more details below

Overview

"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.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Rachel Saltz
In this archetypal '60s comedy, Mike Nichols provided laughs to accompany the malaise of a generation obsessed with the generation gap. What, after all, is a well-meaning young man with a college degree supposed to do -- go into plastics? Dustin Hoffman's Benjamin Braddock, the graduate of the title, assumes there must be something more to life. And there is: seduction in the form of the older Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) and love in the form of her daughter (Katharine Ross). Dustin Hoffman's Benjamin is so vivid that the role made him a star, and he's well-matched by Anne Bancroft's needy and naughty suburban matron Mrs. Robinson, a character who has entered our folk mythology. Together they have some of the sharpest, funniest older woman/younger man scenes in all of film. A huge hit when first released, The Graduate, which won Nichols an Academy Award for Best Director, is a perennial favorite that continues to delight audiences.
All Movie Guide
The image of young Benjamin Braddock appearing at his parents' swank pool party fully clad in scuba gear remains one of the most satisfying images of youthful alienation ever captured on celluloid. Confused, cut off, and trapped in the claustrophobia of trying to figure out what he's going to do with himself, Benjamin is a model of dissatisfied aimlessness caught up in the whirl of parental and societal expectation. Not surprisingly, his character struck a chord with 1967 audiences, and The Graduate became the highest-grossing film of 1968 and a landmark in the cinema of hip, New Wave, antiestablishment disillusionment. While an enduring classic for its perpetual topicality, and a harbinger of similar dissections of youthful disenchantment that permeated the late '60s and 1970s, The Graduate was also remarkable for providing an unrevolutionary revolution. Benjamin is ultimately a bored, confused young man who has an affair with an older woman (played by an actress only six years Dustin Hoffman's senior), discovers he loves her daughter, and impetuously absconds with the girl to a future offering yet more disillusionment. To top it off, Benjamin's not even that great a guy, more of a conflicted muddle than a viable counter-culture hero. He doesn't want to end up like his parents, but he happily drives around in the Alfa Romeo they give him as a graduation present. He even ends up running off with the very girl they picked for him in the first place. But while it's easy for contemporary viewers to regard the film's message as compromised, The Graduate was something new and provocative for late '60s audiences, a slyly wrapped package of antiestablishment sentiment. Benjamin Braddock's very imperfections made him a believable vehicle for youthful malaise in the first place; to a generation disillusioned with the prosperity in which they had been raised by indulgent parents, Benjamin's brand of resentful ennui resonated on a visceral level. In painting a portrait of an imperfect youth rejecting an equally imperfect world, Mike Nichols and Buck Henry offered only satirical possibilities instead of self-affirming answers. Instead of driving off into the sunset in his Alfa, Benjamin and his beloved board a dirty city bus, hesitant to look either at each other or at the future they have chosen.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/05/1999
UPC:
0027616772336
Original Release:
1967
Rating:
PG
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dustin Hoffman Benjamin Braddock
Anne Bancroft Mrs. Robinson
Katharine Ross Elaine Robinson
William Daniels Mr. Braddock
Elizabeth Wilson Mrs. Braddock
Murray Hamilton Mr. Robinson
Brian Avery Carl Smith
Walter Brooke Mr. Maguire
Norman Fell Mr. McLeeiry
Alice Ghostley Mrs. Singleman
Elisabeth Fraser Second Lady
Marion Lorne Miss DeWitt
Buck Henry Hotel Clerk
Mike Farrell Actor
Jonathan Hole Mr. DeWitt
Richard Dreyfuss Hotel resident (uncredited)
Eddra Gale Woman on Bus
Harry Holcombe Minister
John Neilson Actor

Technical Credits
Mike Nichols Director
Dave Grusin Score Composer
Milt Hamerman Casting
Buck Henry Screenwriter
Harry Maret Makeup
George R. Nelson Set Decoration/Design
Sam O'Steen Editor
Paul Simon Songwriter
Lynn Stalmaster Casting
Robert Surtees Cinematographer
Richard Sylbert Production Designer
Lawrence Turman Producer
Calder Willingham Screenwriter
Patricia Zipprodt Costumes/Costume Designer

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