The Graduate is a novel by Charles Webb, made into a 1967 film of the same name directed by Mike Nichols.
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 (played by Anne Bancroft) and then falls in love with her daughter Elaine (played by 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 90's the project was revived as a play and appeared in London and Broadway, as well as touring companies, starring such names as Kathleen Turner.
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!" don't garner much response at first, but when Elaine gives the return cry "Ben!" all hell breaks loose. (An interview with Hoffman later revealed that he was uneasy about his window-pounding antics, as the owner of the church had been watching the filming disapprovingly.)
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, 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, and has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
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 still-beautiful famous older actresses starred as Mrs. Robinson.
Last updated: 05-17-2005 23:50:20