The Graduate is a 1967 film directed by Mike Nichols from a screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Charles Webb. The Graduate was the breakthrough role for Dustin Hoffman, whose sole previous film role was in The tiger makes out (1967).
The nearly thirty-year old also earned an Oscar nomination for his performance. His next big success (and nominations) came from Midnight Cowboy, Lenny, and All the Presidents men. The film also boosted the profile of folk-rock duo Simon and Garfunkel, whose soundtrack album (The Graduate Original Soundtrack), on the strength of the hit single “Mrs Robinson”, rose to the top of the charts in 1968 (knocking off The Beatles’ White Album).
21 year old Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman) has just earned his bachelors degree, despite his parents (and all of there friends) being very happy, Benjamin remains miserable and confused at what exactly the future holds for him. Everybody’s initial assumption is that graduate school awaits young Benjamin, but still unsure he’s determined to take time and think about it. However when “friend of the family” Mrs Robinson (Anne Bancroft) makes it clear that she would like to have sexual relations with Benjamin, his world is turned upside down.
Curiosity takes reluctant Benjamin to a hotel room where he and Mrs Robinson decide to continue a sexual relationship on a regular basis, but when Mrs Robinson’s daughter Elaine comes back from college, Benjamin unwillingly goes on a date with her. Despite his best efforts to resist, he begins to “fall for Elaine” but Mrs Robinson has other ideas, and untruthfully claims to have been raped by Benjamin, which keeps him away from the family, and away from Elaine. Will Benjamin see Elaine again? Or will love and determination prove to conquer all?
The Graduate is a great film, and has remained among the elite of cinematic history when enlisted in various “best film” polls. Dustin Hoffman gives an outstanding performance and despite losing to Rod Steiger, there is consolation in director Mike Nichols scooping the directors award. This film has created such a following even for its notoriousness. The line “Mrs Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?” has been parodied so much, it’s become famous on it’s own. I really like the film, and the soundtrack is breathtaking.