Turner Classic Movies
Graduate, The-40th Anniversary Edition DVD
Written by Diana Saenger   

thegraduatedhtank.jpgThe Graduate (1967) was an offbeat film about a college student (Dustin Hoffman) seduced by an older woman (Anne Bancroft). The coming-of-age sex/comedy, adapted from Charles Webb's novel, was directed by Mike Nichols - who had made only one film previously - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? He put quite an unexpected spin on the satirical comedy The Graduate, and much to everyone's surprise it won the Oscar for Best Picture and was nominated for six other Academy Awards. The film ranks as #7 on AFI's (American Film Institute) 100 greatest American movies of all time.

Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) has just graduated from college, and now must listen to his parents tell him what's next in his life. While spending days in the pool, Ben is sure of one thing. The, "my friends are your friends," adage certainly doesn't ring true of his parent's friends that keep hanging around the house offering advice.

Before Ben can figure things out he's propositioned by Mrs. Robinson
Anne Bancroft & Dustin Hoffman

(Anne Bancroft), one of his family's affluent friends. Ben is so taken back by the sophisticated and detached woman coming onto him, he is easily seduced and soon the two are into a full blown affair. And Ben can't feel guilty since it is Mr. Robinson (Murray Hamilton) who encouraged Ben to take advantage of every opportunity that comes his way.

While Mrs. Robinson wants to hold onto the youthful Ben, he falls for her daughter Elaine, (Katharine Robinson). During one scene when he and Elaine are in his car he asks, "Want to have a drink or something?" he's so excited he runs over the curb. He follows Elaine to college, where she plays him against her other beau - one that her mom keeps throwing at her as the perfect catch - Carl (Brian Avery).

Katharine Ross

When Mrs. Robinson learns Elaine is considering marrying Ben, she goes to the college and threatens Ben that she will tell Elaine about their affair if does not leave her alone. Ben looks at her nonchalantly and says, "It was nothing. We might as well have been shaking hands."

Ben knows he's head over heels for Elaine and tells her, "You're the first person I could stand to be with. My whole life is just nothing." She says she might marry him.

To the tune of "Are you going to Scarborough Fair?" by Simon and Garfunkel, Ben mopes for days, going through the movements of living. Finally he tells his parents he and Elaine are gong to get married. In truth she's marrying Carl.

All through the last portion of the film, Simon and Garfunkel's song "Mrs. Robinson," continues to play as Ben becomes more unglued. He races to Elaine's wedding only to run out of gas, so he runs to the church just as Elaine and Carl are kissing.

The scene where he stand upstairs over the wedding party rattling the glass and yelling, "Elaine" over and over. His eerie scream ranks up there with Marlon Brando's "Stella," is performed brilliantly by Hoffman and is a foreshadowing of the many films he has excelled at since then.thegraduatedhyell.jpg

Anne Bancroft turned what could have been an ordinary role into one of film's most memorable characters. She never lets the reality that she's older get in the way and goes for the tarnished womanizer with gusto.  Each layer of a faithful wife and dutiful mother peels away like an onion.

Likewise for Hoffman. One only has to hear the song "Mrs. Robinson" to have the many images of Ben pop into their head Ben is like a bobble head doll for much of the movie, trying to deal with Mrs. Robinson, pursuing Elaine, trying to pacify his parents and finding his own path.

The Graduate was an influential film for its fearless slant on society's values, the beginning of younger directors helming Hollywood films and of course giving us phenomenal performances by Hoffman and Bancroft. In addition to winning the Oscar for Best Picture, other nominations include Best Actor in a Leading Role - Dustin Hoffman; Best Actress in a Leading Role - Anne Bancroft; Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Katharine Ross; Best Cinematography - Robert Surtees; Best Picture - Lawrence Turman; Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium - Calder Willingham, Buck Henry.

The two-disc 40th Anniversary Edition will remind everyone what a ground breaking film this is and includes some great bonus features that are worth watching. Disc two, a very nice addition to this set, includes a sampler CD of the movie's soundtrack.

Special Features


— Audio commentary by Mike Nichols and Steven Soderbergh - Nichols talks about finishing Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf? before starting this film.   He explains some of the water scenes are a metaphor of he's in danger of drowning, and how he stuck the "theme" into the film. Nichols also talks about little nuances while filming. He never dreamed it would be a hit. Nichols talks almost non-stop with Soderbergh mostly agreeing and saying very little or asking Nichols questions.

— thegraduatelegshot.jpgAudio commentary by actors Dustin Hoffman and Katharine Ross - Each actor talks about the first time they saw the film. Hoffman admits he was petrified at the start of the film. Hoffman talks about working with Anne Bancroft and some of the provocative moves she made and the peculiar film angles they used. He admits to having a cruse on Ross, and feeling some of those of his character. He talks about why Bancroft had a body double for some shots. Ross talks about the subject matter when the film opened. She doesn't talk much but adds a few points here and there.

— Students of the Graduate featurette - as clips flash on screen as filmmakers - Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day), Marc Forster (Monster's Ball), Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton (Little Miss Sunshine), David Russell (I Love Huckabees), Bruce Block (film professor), Lawrence Turnam (producer - The Graduate), Buck Henry (screenwriter - The Graduate), Owen Gleiberman (film critic), Vivian Sobchack   (film professor), David Ansen (film critic) talk about how the film was magic, very modern, how they see new things each time they watch it, how Mike Nichols worked and other comments. A very interesting segment.

— The Seduction featurette - Some of those who participate in the previous featurette OVER analyze the sexual elements of the movie.

— thegraduatebfdh.jpgOne on One with Dustin Hoffman featurette - Hoffman talks about The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, a play he did where his performance was like Buster Keaton. He talks about his experience in casting the part, and recalls moments while filming. Hoffman is articulate and humorous as usual.

— The Graduate at 25 featurette - Hoffman mentions a woman at the premiere who told him his life would never be the same. Hoffman and others talk about the casting.

— Original Theatrical Trailer


— Sound Track CD - Includes 4 songs from original soundtrack

"The Sound of Silence"

"Mrs. Robinson"

"Scarborough Fair/Canticle"

"April Comes She Will"

Director: Mike Nichols

 Writers: Buck Henry, Calder Willingham - screenplay; Charles Webb - novel.

Cast Members: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Elizabeth Wilson, Murray Hamilton  

 Rating: PG - probably best for 13 and over

DVD Release Date: 09/11/2007

Classic Movie Guide Rating: 4 our of 5 stars

 Run Time: 106 minutes

 Studio: MGM

 Format: Color - widescreen

Photo credits: MGM




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