90 Days of Oscar Nominees #89 – The Graduate (1967)

In my attempt to have a more prolific repertoire of Oscar Nominated Films, I have taken it upon myself to watch 90 new Best Picture Nominees that I’ve never seen before between 5 Dec 2017 and The 90th Annual Oscars on 4 Mar 2018.

Here is my 89th review of the 90 chosen Films…

“It’s like I was playing some kind of game, but the rules don’t make any sense to me. They’re being made up by all the wrong people. I mean no one makes them up. They seem to make themselves up. ” – Benjamin

Number of Times Seen – Between 3-5 Times (Cable in the 90’s, 6 Jul 2000 and 1 Mar 2018)

Brief Synopsis – A recent college graduate spends the summer contemplating his future which carrying on an affair with his father’s law partner’s wife.

My Take on it – I have seen this film a few times and something always bothered me about the fact that so many people hail this as an amazing film.

I agree that it’s quite good and does a fine job telling its story yet something constantly feels missing from the way the story is told.

Perhaps it’s something that was more effective when it came out because that was the decade of the free spirit and where many people were just trying to find themselves.

This film ultimately has remained in most people’s minds due to a few iconic scenes and quotes and of course due to its music that showcases the talents of Simon & Garfunkle.

The cast is great with Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross each giving career defining performances.

The songs by Simon & Garfunkle (most notably Mrs. Robinson) have been largely associated with this film (and vice versa) and are all amazing to listen to especially within the context of the film.

This film does have some great scenes, but something still makes it come across as being disjointed and not as interesting as one would hope throughout the entire runtime.

This film was nominated for 7 Oscars, but Mike Nichols was the only one able to win.  His win was for Best Director for this film which makes him the last director (as of 2017) to have been the sole winner for a film at the Oscars.

This film did win Best Pictre at both the Golden Globes (Musical or Comedy) and the BAFTA’s that year.

Bottom Line – This film is more iconic for a few of its scenes and its music but still isn’t as amazing as some claim.  Cast is great with Hoffman, Bancroft and Ross all giving career defining performances.  The music is amazing and the Simon & Garfunkel songs have always been associated with this film (and vice versa).  There are some really great scenes in this film, but something just seems off in the way that the story is told. Nichols won Best Director for this film, but the film failed to win any of the other 6 nominations.  Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Robert Redford screen-tested with Candice Bergen for the part of Benjamin Braddock, but was finally rejected by director Mike Nichols. Nichols did not believe Redford could persuasively project the underdog qualities necessary to the role. When he told this to Redford, the actor asked Nichols what he meant. “Well, let’s put it this way,” said Nichols, “Have you ever struck out with a girl?” “What do you mean?” asked Redford. “That’s precisely my point,” said Nichols. Redford told Nichols that he perfectly understood the character of Benjamin, who was a social misfit. He went on and on about his ability to play the part. Nichols finally said to him, “Bob, look in the mirror. Can you honestly imagine a guy like you having difficulty seducing a woman?” (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)


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8 thoughts on “90 Days of Oscar Nominees #89 – The Graduate (1967)

  1. You hit the proverbial nail when you said that maybe it was “more effective at the time it came out”. I saw it when it came out – and trust me – it killed. Made Nichols a star director. Hoffman a star, Ross a star, resurrected Bancroft’s career (after Doris Day turned down the role). The use of long focus lenses hit big, the ambiguous ending, “plastics”… For me – it holds up. You don’t have the proper mindset perhaps, to see it through the lens of the 60s and the shape the world was in then. Also – add to your trivia – or look again – the scene when Ross comes to his apt. and freaks out and the landlord – Norman Fell knocks on his door – the kid behind him who asks, “Should I call the cops?” – is future Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss.


  2. I wanted to enjoy The Graduate but I had some issues with it. First of all I just couldn’t buy Hoffman as a romantic lead. He’s such a very tiny little man and so all his posturing and performing kind of made me want to giggle. I know that’s really shallow of me but I just couldn’t take him seriously. I also found the bit where he basically turned up at Elaine’s college and stalked her to be really weird.


    • I’d say you’re in a big minority here. The movie was made in 1967. It was considered trend-setting at the time. And it made Dustin Hoffman a movie star. Not sure I’d quantify any actor as “posturing” in a Mike Nichols directed film. The whole plotline was about a bored, aimless college “Graduate” having way too much time on his hands and falling into a one-sided relationship after being seduced by an older woman – only to discover that he’s in love with her (much more age appropriate) daughter – which would explain his pursuing her at college after she discovers him with her mother. I think he was looking for forgiveness and a second chance – not “stalking”. And considering that Elaine becomes a runaway bride for him at the end – I’d say the feeling was mutual. As to Hoffman’s stature – I think you’d be shocked at the list of leading men movie star actors who are in the same general height range (Pacino, DeNiro, Downey, Jr). As a matter of fact, the actor originally considered for the role of Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate – was Robert Redford – and Nichols decided to go in another direction – is about 5’6″ and change. I was told this by someone who once met his stunt double and I stood next to him at a screening. So it’s true.


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