The Graduate (1967)
Critic Consensus: The music, the performances, the precision in capturing the post-college malaise -- The Graduate's coming-of-age story is indeed one for the ages.
"One word: plastics." "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. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi … More
|Genre:||Drama, Romance, Classics, Comedy|
|Directed By:||Mike Nichol, Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Elizabeth Wilson, Katharine Ross, Murray Hamilton, Norman Fell, Richard Dreyfuss, William Daniels, Mike Nichols|
|Written By:||Calder Willingham, Buck Henry|
|In Theaters:||Dec 21, 1967 Wide|
|On DVD:||Jun 19, 2001|
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as Mr. Maguire
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Critic Reviews for The Graduate
As it stands, the vacuum of that warped, moneyed Los Angeles society is too exaggerated, too incredible. But one can't help but believe in Hoffman if not in the disjointed character he portrays.
Be agog at Anne Bancroft's Mrs. Robinson in some of the most hilariously icky seduction scenes ever filmed. See Mike Nichols (with help from Simon & Garfunkel) take control of the Zeitgeist. See the mood go dark -- darker than you remember.
The Graduate gives some substance to the contention that American films are coming of age -- of our age.
The remarkably true ring of Webb's dialogue is preserved and augmented, the visual potential lifted to next power in absurdity.
The emotional elevation of the film is due in no small measure to the extraordinarily engaging performances of Anne Bancroft as the wife-mother-mistress, Dustin Hoffman as the lumbering Lancelot, and Katherine Ross as his fair Elaine.
Audience Reviews for The Graduate
Dustin Hoffman's charming performance propels this film into one of the best coming-of-age films of all time. The Graduate is highlighted with an artful direction, innocent humor, spellbinding music (soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel) and an accurate strike on reality. 4/5
You can't get more iconic than this. The Graduate is flawlessly written, deftly acted, and superbly touches us with its unconventionality and ultimate power. It captures the era of the 60s, yet is also profoundly timely. Hoffman's angst is relatable for every young adult watching the film, and the nostalgia and shallowness of American suburbia is also quite relatable to anyone who has spent at least a year living in the suburbs. Anne Bancroft is exceptional and ruthless as Mrs. Robinson, making for an unforgettable performance. The film's aura--the iconic soundtrack and iconic cinematographic choices--is captivating. Ultimately The Graduate is more than a funny, nostalgic movie: it is triumphant. It is a triumph of the human mind and the human spirit.
Could "The Graduate" be the first art-house movie of all time? Ehh, I don't think so, but it's definitely a game-changer. At its time, Hollywood dished out grand epics after grand epics with "perfect" and steady camerawork, larger than life characters, and narratives that stretch at an epic scale. But "The Graduate" does a U-turn on the traditional ways of filmmaking. Unconventional mechanics like quick zooms, strangely edited shots, and lingering close-ups are riddled about in "The Graduate". It does enough difference for it to stand out among other films alike it. But to say that the narrative is different from the rest is an understatement -- its daring, bold, and darkly challenging. Especially after the time the Production Code came to a close, "The Graduate" dives head-first into dark waters. This is a psychologically driven character-study of a young innocent boy finding his place in the world to be a "different" man.
"The Graduate" is absolutely effective in what it intends to do. Everything is cohesively crafted: strong thematic foundation, solid character development, sharp writing, and thought-provoking symbolism. Entertaining, provocative, and strangely disturbing, "The Graduate" immerses audiences into a young boy's world that's trying to make the best out of his life.
The Graduate Quotes
|Mrs. Robinson:||Oh no Mrs. Robinson, I find you very desirable. I think you are the most desirable of all my parents' friends.|
|Mr. Robinson:||I was just telling Ben here he ought to sow a few wild oats. Have a good time while he can. You think that's sound advice?|
|Mrs. Robinson:||Yes, I do.|
|Mr. Maguire:||There is a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?|
|Benjamin Braddock:||Yes, I will.|
|Mr. Maguire:||Okay. Enough said. That's a deal.|
|Mr. Braddock:||Have you thought about graduate school?|
|Mr. Braddock:||Would you mind telling me then what those four years of college were for? What was the point of all that hard work?|
|Benjamin Braddock:||You got me.|
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