The Graduate

The Graduate is a novel by Charles Webb, made into a 1967 film of the same name directed by Mike Nichols from a screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry.

Benjamin Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman in the film), a recent college graduate with no well-defined aim in life, is seduced by Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) and then falls in love with her daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross).

The film was the breakthrough role for Hoffman, who had previously acted in The Tiger Makes Out (1967). The thirty-year-old also earned an Oscar nomination for his efforts.

The film also made superstars out of Simon and Garfunkel, whose soundtrack rose to the top of the charts in 1968, (beating The Beatles' White Album).

Some scenes and themes in the film have become deeply embedded in the popular consciousness, even decades after its release, and have been widely parodied. One such scene involves the one-word career advice given to Benjamin by family friends—"Plastics", "Aggregates," etc.—offered as a self-explanatory key to a certain life of corporate success.

In the late 1990s the project was revived as a play and appeared in London and Broadway, as well as touring companies, starring such names as Kathleen Turner.



The film explores the life of Benjamin Braddock shortly after earning his bachelor's degree. The movie starts at a party at his parent's house celebrating his graduation. Benjamin is visibly uncomfortable at the party attended by mostly his parent's friends. One family friend, Mrs. Robinson, asks him to drive her home.

Arriving at her home, she asks him to come inside. Once inside, she exposes herself to him and offers to have an affair with him. Initially flustered, he flees. A few days later he calls her and their affair begins.

Benjamin is clearly uncomfortable with sexuality, but he is drawn into the affair with the older, but still attractive, Mrs. Robinson. Their affair appears to last most of the summer.

Meanwhile Benjamin is hounded by his father to select a graduate school to attend. Benjamin clearly is not interested in any more schooling and actually seems lost without any real direction. His affair may serve as an escape from his lack of direction or ambition.

His parents also encourage Benjamin to date the Robinson's daughter, Elaine. Knowing getting involved with the daughter of his lover could be disastrous, he tries to avoid getting involved with her. However, because of his parents' plans, he is more or less forced to date her. Therefore, he tries to ensure his date with her will be a disaster so she would not want to pursue a relationship with him. He takes Elaine to a strip club where she is openly offended.

After she storms out of the establishment, overcome with guilt, he pursues her and apologizes. What follows is a relationship with the young Robinson, exactly what Benjamin (and Mrs. Robinson) was trying to avoid.

From here, Benjamin's life falls apart. His affair is discovered and he is barred from seeing Elaine any further. She proceeds to become engaged to another man—one her parents find acceptable.

In the famous conclusion of the film, Benjamin undertakes a desperate drive to somehow head off Elaine's wedding. He is forced to stop for directions, his car runs out of gas, and he is ultimately forced to run the final few blocks. He arrives just as the bride and groom are exchanging vows, and stands looking down at the couple from an upper window. His screams of "Elaine! Elaine!" do not garner much response at first, but when Elaine gives the return cry "Ben!" all hell breaks loose.

After a violent struggle with a large cross, Ben and Elaine escape on a public bus. The escaping couple sits smiling at the back of the bus, the other passengers stare at them in mute disbelief, and the movie closes with a shot through the back window of Ben and Elaine's smiles fading to an enigmatic neutral expression, and Simon and Garfunkel's soundtrack. This scene has been parodied numerous times, in Wayne's World, The King of Queens, Family Guy and The Simpsons.

The film is consistently in the Internet Movie Database's top 250 films, ranked #9 on the American Film Institute's list of 100 Years, 100 Laughs, #7 on their list of 100 Years, 100 Movies, and has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.


An interview with Hoffman revealed that he was uneasy about his window-pounding antics, as the owner of the church had been watching the filming disapprovingly.

In the hotel where the disinherited Braddock ends up living, the owner of the hotel is Norman Fell, who would later gain fame as "Mr. Roper" on the popular 1970s sitcom Three's Company. One of the tenants is Richard Dreyfuss, still an unknown in 1967.

We never learn Mrs. Robinson's first name; she is never referred to as anything else during the course of the film.

Robert Redford tested for the part of Benjamin, but he and director Mike Nichols decided they needed someone else who was more uncomfortable with his sexuality.

In the opening of The Player, a writer (Buck Henry) can be heard talking to Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) discussing making a sequel to The Graduate with the same actors reprising their roles. Presumably, Mrs. Robinson, now elderly, would be forced to move in with Benjamin and Elaine, who by now have an adult daughter.

Famous Quotes

Mr. McGuire: "I want to say one word to you. Just one word."
Ben Braddock: "Yes, sir."
Mr. McGuire: "Are you listening?"
Ben Braddock: "Yes, I am."
Mr. McGuire: "Plastics."

Mr. Braddock: "Don't you think that idea is a little half-baked?"
Benjamin Braddock: "Oh no, Dad, it's completely baked."

On the stage

The movie was adapted as a play in 1998, which was a hit both in London's West End and on Broadway and has toured the United States. Several older actresses starred as Mrs. Robinson.

External links

es:El graduado pl:Absolwent (film) pt:A primeira noite de um homem sv:Mandomsprovet zh:毕业生


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