Why it’s famous:
An unavoidable classic that perfectly embodies the feeling that comes with finishing a period of one’s life and dealing with the apprehension of a terrifying new one. The Graduate examines the coming of age ennui and being completely uncertain of what to do next.
Benjamin: Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.
Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Why you haven’ t seen it:
Either you read the book, or you haven’t heard of this story at all, in which case, it’s time for you to seriously rethink your priorities in life. Really, who hasn’t seen The Graduate?
Why it might be tough to get through:
Not only is Dustin Hoffman painfully awkward in his role as Benjamin Braddock, but this film is also a challenging one to handle for the simple reason that it’s just so relatable. While most of us haven’t engaged in an affair with the wife of our dad’s business partner, most students, especially those who have recently graduated, have felt absolutely lost, confused, and unsure that they’re going anywhere in life.
Why you should see it anyway:
Familiarity is paradoxically also the element that makes this movie so profound. Not only is it the film perfectly set to all the best Simon & Garfunkel hits, but it has also been pointed to as a profoundly philosophical existential commentary about the languor of human existence.
• When Dustin Hoffman showed up at Joseph E. Levine’s office for a casting interview, the producer mistook him for a window cleaner, so Hoffman, in character, cleaned a window.
• This movie marked the first time a director was paid a flat salary (not including points) of $1 million.
• The leg in the poster for The Graduate belongs to actress Linda Gray from the Dallas television series, uncredited.