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The Graduate

Promotional film poster
Directed by Mike Nichols
Produced by Joseph E. Levine
Lawrence Turman
Written by Screenplay:
Calder Willingham
Buck Henry
Charles Webb
Starring Anne Bancroft
Dustin Hoffman
Katharine Ross
William Daniels
Murray Hamilton
Music by Score:
Dave Grusin
Paul Simon
Cinematography Robert Surtees
Editing by Sam O'Steen
Distributed by Embassy Pictures (US)
United Artists (non-US)
Release date(s) December 21, 1967 (1967-12-21)
Running time 105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3 million (est.)
Gross revenue $104,397,102

The Graduate is a 1967 American comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols, based on the 1963 novel The Graduate by Charles Webb, who wrote it shortly after graduating from Williams College. The screenplay was by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, who makes a cameo appearance as the hotel clerk. The film tells the story of Benjamin Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman), a recent university graduate with no well-defined aim in life, who is seduced by an older woman, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), and then proceeds to fall in love with her daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross).

In 1996, The Graduate was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". It ranked as the seventh greatest film of all time on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies.

Adjusted for inflation, the film is #19 on the list of highest-grossing films in the United States and Canada.

Embassy Pictures distributed in North America, while United Artists handled the initial international release.


Plot summary

The soon-to-be 21 Benjamin Braddock flies back to his parents house in Pasadena LA for his graduation party. At the party, all his parents' friends want to know about what he is going to do next, something Benjamin is clearly uncomfortable and anxious about. His parents ignore this and are only interested in talking up his academic and track successes and their plans for him to go to grad school.

Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father's business partner, asks him for a lift home from the party. She invites the nervous Benjamin in and attempts to seduce him, removing her clothing. Mr. Robinson arrives home but does not see or suspect anything. A few days later Benjamin contacts her and clumsily organizes a tryst at a hotel beginning their affair. A now confident and relaxed Benjamin spends the summer drifting around in the pool by day and seeing Mrs. Robinson at the hotel by night. Benjamin discovers that they have nothing to talk about but he does learn that Mrs. Robinson was forced to give up college and marry someone she didn't love when she became pregnant with Elaine.

Mr. Robinson tells Benjamin he should relax and enjoy himself while he is young. Benjamin's parents however are keen for him to get on with his life. Both they and Mr. Robinson keep trying to set Benjamin up with Elaine, while Mrs. Robinson makes it clear that she wants him to stay away from Elaine. Benjamin eventually gives into the pressure from his parents and takes Elaine out but is intentionally mean to her. After making her cry he relents and explains he was mean only because his parents forced him to ask her out. He awkwardly kisses her to try and cheer her up and they go and get a burger at a drive-in. Benjamin discovers that Elaine is someone he is comfortable with and that he can talk to her about his worries.

Mrs. Robinson threatens to reveal their affair to destroy any chance Benjamin has with Elaine so Benjamin rashly decides he has to tell Elaine first. Upset Elaine returns to Berkeley refusing to speak with Benjamin. Benjamin decides he is going to marry Elaine and goes to Berkeley and stalks her. He contrives a meeting on a bus while she is on her way to a date with her classmate Carl. An angry Elaine later demands to know what he is doing in Berkeley after he raped her mother by taking advantage of her while she was drunk. Benjamin tells her it was her mother who seduced him, something Elaine doesn't want to hear, so Benjamin says he will go somewhere else. Elaine tells Benjamin not to leave until he has a definite plan. The next day Elaine comes into Ben's apartment in the middle of the night and asks him to kiss her. The two hang out in Berkeley while Benjamin keeps pressing her to get blood tests so that they can get married. Elaine is unsure about this and says she had told Carl she might marry him.

Mr. Robinson, who has found out everything about Benjamin and his wife's affair, goes to Ben's apartment in Berkeley where he threatens Benjamin and forces Elaine to drop out of school and takes her away to marry Carl. Benjamin is left with just a note from Elaine saying that she loves him but that her father is really angry and it can never work out. Benjamin races back to Pasadena looking for Elaine but finds Mrs. Robinson instead. She tells him he won't be able stop the wedding and calls the police. Benjamin heads back to Berkeley and finds out from Carl's friends that the shotgun wedding is in Santa Barbara and speeds off stopping at a gas station for directions to the church, but rushes off without refueling.

Consequently Ben runs out of gas and must sprint the last few blocks. He arrives at the church just as the bride and groom are about to kiss. Thinking he is too late he bangs on the glass at the back of the church and screams out "Elaine!" repeatedly. Elaine turns around, hesitates, but then screams out "Ben!" and starts towards him. A brawl breaks out as everyone tries to stop her and Benjamin leaving. Elaine breaks free from her mother yelling, "It's not too late for me!" Benjamin holds everybody off by swinging a cross ripped from the wall and the pair escape. They run down the road and flag down a bus. The elated and smiling couple take the back seat. But Benjamin's smile gradually fades to an enigmatic, neutral expression as he gazes forward down the bus, not looking at Elaine. Elaine seems unsure, looks lovingly across at Ben but notices his expression and turns away with a similar expression as the bus drives away.





Filming locations

Many of the exterior shots of Benjamin on the campus were actually filmed on the brick campus of USC in Los Angeles, as the UC Berkeley campus features buildings with gray granite exteriors. Other scenes were filmed on the Berkeley campus, on Durant Avenue in Berkeley, and on Telegraph Avenue.

The Taft Hotel scenes were filmed at Ambassador Hotel.

The church used for the wedding scene is actually the United Methodist Church in LaVerne. In a commentary audio released with the 40th anniversary DVD, Hoffman revealed that he was uneasy about the scene in which he pounds on the church window, as the owner of the church had been watching the filming disapprovingly. The residence used for the Robinsons' house was located on North Palm Drive in Beverly Hills.

The scenes of Benjamin driving to Berkeley on the San Francisco Bay Bridge were filmed on the top level of the bridge - leading into San Francisco - the opposite direction of Berkeley.


The Graduate Original Soundtrack album cover.

The film boosted the profile of folk-rock duo Simon & Garfunkel, whose soundtrack album The Graduate, on the strength of the hit single "Mrs. Robinson", rose to the top of the charts in 1968 (knocking off The Beatles' White Album). However, the version that appears in the film is markedly different from the hit single version, which would not be issued until Simon and Garfunkel's next album, Bookends. The actual film version of "Mrs. Robinson" does appear on The Graduate soundtrack LP.

According to a Variety article by Peter Bart in the 15 May 2005 issue, Nichols had become obsessed with Simon & Garfunkel's music while shooting the film. Lawrence Turman, his producer, made a deal for Simon to write three new songs for the movie. By the time they were nearly finished editing the film, Simon had only written one new song. Nichols begged him for more but Simon, who was touring constantly, told him he didn't have the time. He did play him a few notes of a new song he had been working on; "It's not for the movie... it's a song about times past — about Mrs. Roosevelt and Joe DiMaggio and stuff." Nichols advised Simon, "It's now about Mrs. Robinson, not Mrs. Roosevelt."


A.D. Murphy of Variety and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times praised the film upon its release with Murphy describing it as a "delightful satirical comedy-drama"[1] and Ebert claiming it was the "funniest American comedy of the year".[2]

For the film's thirtieth anniversary reissue, Roger Ebert retracted some of his previous praise for the film.[3] He, along with Gene Siskel, gave the film a mediocre review on the television program Siskel & Ebert.[4]

Benjamin's 1966 Alfa Romeo Spider, a graduation present from his parents, becomes a plot device as the film progresses, and also gave the vehicle widespread popularity.

Awards and honors

Dustin Hoffman earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as did Bancroft and Ross.

Along with the acting nominations, the film received nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture. Mike Nichols won the Academy Award for Best Director.

The film won the BAFTA Award for Best Film, as well as the BAFTA Award for Best Editing (to Sam O'Steen).

In 1996, The Graduate was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", and placed #18 on the list of highest-grossing films in the United States and Canada, adjusted for inflation.

American Film Institute recognition

Stage adaptation

John Reid produced a play in 2000, adapted from the movie, which was a hit both in London's West End and on Broadway and has toured the United States. There is a Brazilian version adapted by Miguel Falabella. Several actresses have starred as Mrs. Robinson, including Kathleen Turner, Lorraine Bracco, Jerry Hall, Amanda Donohoe, Morgan Fairchild, Anne Archer, Vera Fischer and Linda Gray. The Broadway production in 2002 starred Kathleen Turner, Jason Biggs, and Alicia Silverstone.

The stage production restores the section of the novel where Benjamin hitchhikes across America, not included in the original film. It also uses songs by Simon & Garfunkel not used in the film, such as "Baby Driver" as well as music from other popular musicians from the era such as The Byrds and The Beach Boys.

The play often receives media attention due to a sequence that requires the (often notable) actress playing Mrs. Robinson to disrobe and act a scene in the nude. Some productions of the play incorporate an on-stage topless love scene involving the Mrs. Robinson character.

Possibility of sequel

Charles Webb has written a sequel to his original novel titled Home School, but initially refused to publish it in its entirety because of a contract he signed in the 1960s. When he sold film rights to The Graduate, he surrendered the rights to any sequels. If he were to publish Home School, Canal+, the French media company that owns the rights to The Graduate, would be able to adapt it for the screen without his permission.[5] Extracts of Home School were printed in The Times on May 2, 2006.[6] Webb also told the newspaper that there was a possibility he would find a publisher for the full text, provided he could retrieve the film rights using French copyright law.[7] On 30 May 2006 The Times reported that Webb had signed a publishing deal for Home School with Random House which he hoped would enable him to instruct the French lawyers to attempt to retrieve his rights. The novel was published in Britain in 2007.[8]


  1. ^ [1] - A.D. Murphy, Variety review, December 18, 1967.
  2. ^ [2] - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, December 26, 1967.
  3. ^ [3] - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, March 28, 1997.
  4. ^ [4] - Siskel & Ebert review, 1997.
  5. ^,,1446288,00.html Retrieved on 2007-10-12.
  6. ^,,7-2160200,00.html Retrieved on 2007-10-12.
  7. ^ Retrieved on 2007-10-12.
  8. ^ Jack Malvern [,,2-2202109,00.html "At last, Mrs. Robinson is getting her groove back", The Times, 30 May 2006Retrieved on 2007-10-12.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
A Man for All Seasons
BAFTA Award for Best Film
Succeeded by
Midnight Cowboy


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Graduate is a 1967 film about a young and talented college graduate who embarks on an affair with the wife of his father's business partner. Along the way, he becomes increasingly disillusioned with the adult world and the future his parents have planned for him, and finds himself falling for his lover's daughter.

Directed by Mike Nichols. Written by Charles Webb, Calder Willingham and Buck Henry.
This is Benjamin. He's a little worried about his future.


Mr. Robinson

  • I'll bet you're, you're quite a ladies man...You look to me like the kind of guy who has to fight 'em off. [To Mrs. Robinson] Now doesn't he look to you like the kind of guy who has to fight 'em off?


Benjamin: I'm just...
Mr. Braddock: ...worried?
Benjamin: Well...
Mr. Braddock: About what?
Benjamin: I guess about my future.
Mr. Braddock: What about it?
Benjamin: I don't know. I want it to be...
Mr. Braddock: be what?
Benjamin: ...Different.

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There's a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?

Benjamin: Mrs. Robinson, if you don't mind my saying so, this conversation is getting a little strange. Now, I'm sure that Mr. Robinson will be here any minute now and -
Mrs. Robinson: No.
Benjamin: What?
Mrs. Robinson: My husband will be back quite late. He should be gone for several hours.
Benjamin: Oh my God.

Benjamin: For God's sake, Mrs. Robinson, here we are, you've got me into your house. You give me a drink. You put on music, now you start opening up your personal life to me and tell me your husband won't be home for hours.
Mrs. Robinson: So?
Benjamin: Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me... Aren't you?
Mrs. Robinson: Well, no. I hadn't thought of it. I feel very flattered.
Benjamin: Mrs. Robinson. Will you forgive me for what I just said?

Mrs. Robinson: Do you find me undesirable?
Benjamin: Oh, no, Mrs. Robinson. I think, I think you're the most attractive of all my parents' friends.

Mr. Braddock: Ben, what are you doing?
Benjamin: Well, I would say that I'm just drifting. Here in the pool.
Mr. Braddock: Why?
Benjamin: Well, it's very comfortable just to drift here.
Mr. Braddock: Have you thought about graduate school?
Benjamin: No.
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: You got me.

Elaine: Why don't you drag me off if you want to marry me so much?
Benjamin: Why don't I just drag you off? All right, I will. Right after we get the blood tests...

Benjamin: Listen to me. What happened between Mrs. Robinson and me was nothing. It didn't mean anything. We might just as well have been shaking hands.
Mr. Robinson: Shaking hands? Well, that's not saying much for my wife, is it?


External links

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Simple English

The Graduate
Directed by Mike Nichols
Produced by Lawrence Turman
Written by Charles Webb (novel)
Calder Willingham
Buck Henry
Music by Dave Grusin
Paul Simon (songs)
Cinematography Robert Surtees
Editing by Sam O'Steen
Distributed by Embassy Pictures Corporation /
United Artists
Release date(s) December 21, 1967
Running time 105
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3 million
IMDb profile

The Graduate is a 1967 movie based on a novel by Charles Webb, and directed by Mike Nichols.

In the movie and book, a recent college graduate (played by Dustin Hoffman) is seduced by Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the wife of his father's business partner. He later falls in love with their daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross).

The movie was Hoffman's first major role (he had appeared before in just another one). He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance.

The soundtrack album contained music by folk duo Simon and Garfunkel, and beat out the The Beatles's "White Album" for the number one position (most sales) on the music charts.

Scenes from The Graduate have been well-remembered by many people, since it appeared. In one of them, one-word advice for corporate success ("Plastics") is given by a family friend of Benjamin's. (Reportedly, sales of stock in plastics companies jumped in the months after the movie appeared.) Another scene, where Ben tries to stop Elaine from marrying another man, has been imitated and parodied in television programs, including the cartoon series Daria.

In 1998, a play based on the movie premiered in London and on Broadway; its stars included Kathleen Turner, Alicia Silverstone and Morgan Fairchild.

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