The Graduate (1967)

Review by Carson Hearne

Running Time: 1 hour 46 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG

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(based on The Graduate by Charles Webb)

Written by: Calder Willingham and Buck Henry

Directed by: Mike Nichols

Starring: Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, and Katharine Ross

The Graduate, the sophomore effort of Mike Nichols following the Oscar winning Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe?, is one of the greatest American films in history. The Graduate had an unforgettable cultural impact that influences young filmmakers to this day (including myself). This film is easily the most relateable and entertaining film that I’ve ever seen, and still remains my all time favorite film. Mike Nichols won his first (and only) Oscar for Best Director due to his brilliant attention to detail in this comedic masterpiece.

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Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) is a little worried about his future. After coming home from graduating college, his parents bring all their friends over and throw huge parties to celebrate “him” and he begins to feel lost in his own shoes. Until he begins to have an affair with a friend of the family, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). Then, he begins to realize that he is falling in love with her daughter (Katharine Ross) who has no clue about the fling that ensued.

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The brilliant cinematography that was mostly fueled through Mike Nichols vision, makes the film so visually interesting. The soundtrack completely made up of songs by Simon and Garfunkel creates an appropriate melancholic atmosphere. The performance given by Dustin Hoffman is so honest and he fits his role perfectly. The on screen chemistry between Hoffman and his lovers feels so awkwardly realistic. Especially a scene where Hoffman grabs Bancroft’s boob and then repeatedly bangs his head on the wall (which in the moment was Hoffman trying his best not to laugh).

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The character growth is a great aspect of this film as well. The final shot is one of the most memorable final shots in cinema history, leaving you with the same uncertain feelings you’re sure that they feel. The opening shot as he gets off his airplane and stands on the moving walkway puts you in just the right mood as The Sound of Silence plays and mixes with Hoffman’s blank stare.

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The Graduate is an unbelievable film that I would recommend to anyone who hasn’t given it a chance yet. Every time I think about certain parts of this film, it just makes me want to pull it back out and view it again. Also, the Criterion release is a great copy of the film with new interviews, one of which is the widow of the cinematographer. Now, that’s enough from me about this film, go watch it… like, as soon as you can.

Grade: A+

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