THE GRADUATE stands almost by itself as the backdrop for the popular cultureís sexual revolution of the late 1960s. Highlighting Dustin Hoffmanís scandalous affair with the Mrs. Robinson made famous by the hit music of Simon and Garfunkle, THE GRADUATE is a funny and shocking story of a young man rebelling against vapid materialism.
Nominated for a 1967 Academy Award for Best Picture, THE GRADUATE depicts an innocent young honors graduate, Ben (Dustin Hoffman), who returns from college to his parentsí upper middle class home. He is distressed and undecided about his future, and wants to spend some time alone. An only child, Ben is overwhelmed by the fawning and pawing of his parentsí friends at their welcome home party, who ply him with questions about his future which he is unprepared to answer. One guest even takes him aside to give him one hilarious word of counsel: ìPlasticsî, which has become one of Hollywoodís most famous lines of dialogue.
He retires to his room for some time to collect his thoughts. Enter predatory Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the estranged wife of Benís fatherís law partner, who inveigles him into driving her home and coming with her into her house, on the pretext that she is afraid of the dark. Cajoled by Mrs. Robinson into viewing her daughterís bedroom picture, Ben is further enticed as she disrobes in front of him and offers him sex. At first, he refuses, but later he invites her to a hotel, where he awkwardly takes a room, after a hilarious interchange with the hotel desk clerk. There, he and Mrs. Robinson have discreet sex.
Burdened with a guilt he cannot share regarding his carnal knowledge of his fatherís partnerís wife, who, in turn, prohibits him from dating her daughter, Elaine (Katherine Ross), Ben faces a dilemma when his parents pressure him to take Elaine out when she comes back on summer break from Cal-Berkeley. Under the hostile glare of her mother, who likewise cannot share her shameful secret, Ben escorts Elaine on an awkward date. He likes her, and she likes him. They agree to meet again. When he comes by on a rainy day to pick up Elaine once again, an enraged Mrs. Robinson threatens to tell Elaine about their affair. Fearing the sabotage of their nascent relationship. Ben tells her first, and she is revolted. He pursues her to Berkeley, where he catches up to her, as she goes to meet another man at the zoo.
Her father finds out about Benís affair with his wife, confronts him in Benís rooming house and spirits his daughter out of Benís reach for a hastily arranged marriage to the other man. Frantic, Ben importunes the other manís fraternity buddies for information as to the location of Elaineís wedding, and arrives at the Santa Barbara church just as the groom is about to kiss the bride. Positioning himself on the balcony window, Ben calls out her name, and Elaine turns to run toward him, away from her wedding party. Ben fights off the angrily cursing Robinsons, bolts shut the church doors with a large metal cross and elopes with his bride-to-be in a conveniently passing bus.
The fourth most profitable film of the 1960s, THE GRADUATE is a landmark movie. Morally, it exemplifies the 1960ís rebellion against the hypocritical values of the established, ìplastic,î materialistic, American culture, which paid lip service to religion, but lacked real integrity, or obedience to God. The outstanding musical score plays a crucial role as it underscores the futility of the vapid materialism of Benís parents, and their equally insipid materialistic friends, the Robinsons, whose marriage was patently devoid of love.
THE GRADUATE is also historic in that it represents one of the first films ever made after the Academy of Motion Pictures renounced the Motion Picture Code in 1966, a voluntary agreement by which the film studios had agreed to limit the prurience and violence of feature films from 1933 to 1966. In that era, an elder woman seducing a younger man was a scandal. In THE GRADUATE, Mrs. Robinson blatantly breaks her marriage vows to seduce the impressionable and relatively inexperienced young Ben. Her adultery was a scandal, according to 1960ís standards.
Although Mrs. Robinsonís adultery was punished by her husbandís decision to divorce her, Benís participation in the affair was never punished. Ben blithely graduates from fornicating with the mother to eloping with the daughter, with no consequences, except enduring the momentary wrath of Elaineís parents, who rage at him with futile curses from the bolted church glass window as he spirits Elaine away. So, the movie subtly transgresses the moral boundaries of the Motion Picture Code, since Benís adultery is implicitly justified because he is never punished for it.
Even so, this movie is delightful as cinematic art, the acting is superb and the music superlative. The 1997 colorized version looks the same as the 1967 movie, except for one scene at Cal-Berkeley.
In the movie, Dustin Hoffmanís character, Ben, exemplified the 1960ís moral drifter, who rebelled against the materialism of his parents to find true romantic love, but somehow evaded the deeper questions of lifeís true purposes.. Rebelling against hypocrisy is all well and good if it takes the path of the one true antidote to hypocritical materialism ( the way of the Cross.
(Ro, Pa, L, V, S, N, A, M, B, C) Romantic worldview with the pagan theme of an older woman seducing a younger man; 1 obscenity & 4 blasphemies; man fights off crowd of angry church folk; depicted and implied sex; upper female nudity & upper male nudity; people drink cocktails; smoking; and, some biblical & Christian elements.
Nominated for a 1967 Academy Award for Best Picture, THE GRADUATE depicts an honors graduate, Ben (Dustin Hoffman), who returns from college and is overwhelmed by his parentsí welcome home party. Eventually, the predatory Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) inveigles him into fornicating. Then, she prohibits him from dating her daughter, Elaine (Katherine Ross). Mr. Robinson spirits his daughter to a hastily arranged marriage. Ben arrives at the church and calls out her name, and Elaine turns to run toward him. Ben fights off the angry Robinsons, bolts the church doors with a large cross and elopes with Elaine.
THE GRADUATE is a landmark movie, exemplifying the 1960ís rebellion against the hypocritical values of the ìplasticî American culture, which paid lip service to religion, but lacked integrity. The outstanding musical score underscores the vapid materialism of Benís parents. This movie is delightful as cinematic art, the acting is superb and the music superlative. Dustin Hoffmanís character, Ben, exemplified the 1960ís moral drifter, who rebelled against his parents to find true romantic love, but somehow evaded the deeper questions of lifeís real purposes. Rebelling against hypocrisy is all well and good if it takes the path of the one true antidote to hypocritical materialism ( the way of the Cross