The Graduate (1967) Movie Poster

Trivia for The Graduate (1967)

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  • Lee Stanley screentested for the role of Benjamin and was seriously considered for the part.
  • Sally Field screentested for the role of Elaine.
  • In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #17 Greatest Movie of All Time.
  • Mike Farrell's (bellhop in hotel lobby) movie debut.
  • When Elaine tracks down Ben in his gloomy room and he causes her to scream, several other tenants gather behind the landlord in the doorway. One says, "Shall I get the cops? I'll get the cops." It's Richard Dreyfuss in one of his earliest film roles.
  • Grayson Hall was considered for the role of Mrs. Robinson.
  • According to Susan Hayward's biographers, Mike Nichols originally wanted her for the role of Mrs. Robinson, but she declined because she wanted to avoid modifying her screen image. After Doris Day and Patricia Neal also turned it down, Nichols eventually offered it to Anne Bancroft.
  • When Benjamin is shown banging on the church window with his arms raised and extended, many reviewers felt he was portrayed as a Christ-like image. In actuality, this was a compromise with the Minister of the church. The Minister had threatened to throw everyone out when the scene was rehearsed with Benjamin pounding his fists on the fragile window, which had been a gift to the church.
  • In the famous promotional still for this film, Dustin Hoffman is seen in the background framed by Mrs. Robinson's shapely leg. The leg in that photo didn't belong to Anne Bancroft, however; it belonged to a then-unknown model, Linda Gray, who later played Mrs. Robinson in a London stage musical of The Graduate.
  • The red Italian sports car Benjamin drives throughout the movie is a 1966 Alfa Romeo Spider 1600, also known as the Duetto.
  • Two interesting camera techniques are used in the film. In the scene where Benjamin is running, he is shown at some distance running straight at the camera, an effect which makes him look as if he is getting nowhere as he's running. (This technique is accomplished with a very long telephoto lens, which foreshortens distances in relation to the camera.) In another scene, Benjamin is walking from the right side of the screen to the left, while everyone else in the scene is moving from left to right. In western culture, things that move left to right seem natural (think of the direction you read words on a page), those that move right to left seem to be going the wrong way. These two visual techniques echo the themes of the film, Benjamin is going the wrong way, and getting nowhere in life.
  • Dustin Hoffman was already set to play a role in Mel Brooks The Producers (1967) when the opportunity to audition for this movie came up. Deferentially, Hoffman asked Brooks' permission to audition for the part in the other film. Through his wife, Anne Bancroft (already cast), Brooks was familiar with the story of this movie. He allowed Hoffman to audition, blithely confident he'd be found unsuitable for the role of Mrs. Robinson's lover.
  • Paul Simon wrote two songs for the film that Director Mike Nichols rejected: "Punky's Dilemma" and "A Hazy Shade of Winter". Both appear on the Simon and Garfunkel "Bookends" album. The song "Mrs. Robinson" was not written for the movie. It was a song Simon was then writing (originally called "Mrs. Roosevelt", and about Anna Eleanor Roosevelt) and Nichols decided to include it. Simon and Art Garfunkel only sing the chorus, but none of the verses of the later hit song. Additionally, the chorus portion sung contains some lyrics not featured in the more popular "final" version of the song.
  • Sources vary on precisely what the truth is about the possibility of Doris Day playing Mrs. Robinson. One rumor says the property was acquired with her in mind as Mrs. Robinson, and Producer Lawrence Turman sent the novel to her manager and husband, Martin Melcher, wanting to know their opinion of Day in the role, but Melcher was so disgusted by the thought, that he refused to even mention it to her. Doris Day wrote in her 1975 memoir, which is probably more accurate, that she was actually offered the role, but "I could not see myself rolling around in the sheets with a young man half my age whom I'd seduced."
  • The model frogman in the aquarium is toppled over when Mrs. Robinson tosses in the keys.
  • Dustin Hoffman felt wrong for the role, and worried that his screentest was not going well. In a questionable effort to lessen the tension, he patted and pinched Katharine Ross's behind, which angered her, and she audibly berated him for it. As he left thinking he didn't get the role, his awkwardness was just what Director Mike Nichols needed for Benjamin Braddock.
  • According to Dustin Hoffman at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts Graduation 2003, his friend and former roommate Gene Hackman was cast as Mr. Robinson, but was fired after the first week of rehearsals. Mike Nichols decided he was too young for the role. He was actually a year older than Anne Bancroft, who was playing his wife, but for whatever reason, it wasn't working. As it turned out, it was probably the best thing that could have happened to Hackman, as it allowed him to join the cast on Bonnie and Clyde (1967), which garnered him an Oscar nomination and provided him the springboard to a successful career.
  • Robert Redford screentested 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, Redford 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?"
  • Within a year of the movie's release, plastic manufacturing companies became enormously successful. Many people attribute this to Walter Brooke's quote about "plastics". Brooke himself once told his nephew that he would have invested in plastics, if he had known that the remark would lead to such success.
  • Although Mrs. Robinson is supposed to be much older than Benjamin, Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman were just under six years apart in age. He looked naturally boyish, and she was made up to look older. Bancroft was only eight years older than her "daughter" Katharine Ross. William Daniels (Mr. Braddock) only ten years older than his "son" Hoffman.
  • Burt Ward had to turn down the role of Benjamin Braddock due to his commitment to Batman (1966) and the studio (Twentieth Century Fox) wouldn't lend him.
  • During rehearsals of Dustin Hoffman's and Anne Bancroft's first encounter in the hotel room, Bancroft did not know that Hoffman was going to grab her breast. Hoffman decided to do it because it reminded him of schoolboys trying to nonchalantly grab girls' breasts in the hall by pretending to put their jackets on. When Hoffman did it, Director Mike Nichols began laughing loudly. Hoffman began to laugh as well, so rather than stop the scene, he turned away and walked to the wall. Hoffman banged his head on the wall, trying to stop laughing, and Nichols thought it was so funny, it stayed in the finished film.
  • The movie's line "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you?" was voted as the #63 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100), and as the #5 of Premiere's "100 Greatest Movie Lines" in 2007.
  • None of the older characters is called by a first name in the film; only the younger characters of Benjamin, Elaine and Carl do, increasing the sense of a generation gap.
  • The movie's line "Plastics" was voted as the #42 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
  • Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft were not quickly chosen for the leads of this film. Warren Beatty was originally going to be the lead, but after he did not get the role, Robert Redford was mentioned. Patricia Neal was considered, but reportedly declined because she was uneasy about playing a lead role so soon after having a stroke.
  • Some of the scenes of Benjamin in "Berkeley" were filmed at UCLA and the University of Southern California.
  • Charles Grodin was asked to audition as Benjamin, but was never screentested. Mike Nichols still offered him a part in Catch-22 (1970).
  • Ava Gardner sought the role of Mrs. Robinson, and reportedly called Mike Nichols saying,"I want to see you! I want to talk about this Graduate thing!" Nichols did not seriously consider her for the role (he wanted a younger woman, as Bancroft was thirty-six and Gardner was forty-five), but did end up visiting her hotel. He later recounted that "she sat at a little French desk with a telephone, she went through every movie star cliché. She said, 'All right, let's talk about your movie. First of all, I strip for nobody.'"
  • The movie is full of womb imagery. From Benjamin's constant desire to stay immersed in his parent's swimming pool, to the slow close-up shot of the hips of Elaine's roommate as she brings the "Dear John" letter to Benjamin, to returning to the actual womb of the elder and maternal Mrs. Robinson.
  • When Dustin Hoffman showed up at Producer Joseph E. Levine's office for a casting interview, Levine mistook him for a window cleaner, so Hoffman, in character, cleaned a window.
  • Mike Nichols initially wanted French actress Jeanne Moreau to play Mrs. Robinson. The idea behind this was that in the French culture, "older" women tend to "train" younger men in sexual matters. Producers Joseph E. Levine and Lawrence Turman were completely opposed to the idea. Mike Nichols was even more set on having Simon & Garfunkel do the integrated soundtrack for the film. Nichols agreed to switch actresses for Mrs. Robinson as long as he could still use Simon & Garfunkel.
  • The name plate on the hotel desk reads "Mr. Kranze". Don Kranze was the film's Assistant Director.
  • Marion Lorne's (Miss DeWitte's) final feature film.
  • Other actresses considered for the part of Elaine were Natalie Wood and Candice Bergen.
  • Although Calder Willingham and Buck Henry share screenwriting credit, Buck Henry wrote the shooting version of the screenplay without assistance, and Henry was not even aware of Willingham's draft. Henry was the fourth screenwriter asked to try to adapt Charles Webb's novel, however, and Willingham filed a challenge with the Writer's Guild for screen credit after the movie was completed. Because Webb's novel consists of large passages of dialogue, and both writers lifted various lines that appeared in each version, Willingham's challenge was successful.
  • At the AFI tribute to Mike Nichols, Dustin Hoffman recounted that when he was first called to discuss auditioning for the role of Benjamin, he told Nichols that he thought he was being made fun of, considering how "wrong" he seemed for the character described in the source novel. "'It (the book) says he's five-foot-eleven or something, and he's a track star, and he's head of the debating club, and he's from Boston or something, he's a WASP, and I... it feels like this is a dirty trick, sir.' And in his inimitable way, he says, 'You mean, you're Jewish'. And I said, 'Yes'. 'And that's why you don't think you're right.' I said, 'Yes'. And he said, 'Well maybe he's Jewish inside'. And I then got the part, after a screentest."
  • This movie marked the first time a director was paid a flat salary (not including points) of one million dollars.
  • Mike Nichols realized one reason he had so much difficulty casting Benjamin Braddock, when he read the Mad Magazine parody of his film. One of the jokes was Benjamin asking his parents why he was Jewish and they were not, and Nichols, who is Jewish, realized that his film had a subconsciously autobiographical element about being an ethnic outsider in a privileged WASP society.
  • Keir Dullea, Robert Duvall, Harrison Ford, George Hamilton, Albert Finney, Gene Wilder, Steve McQueen, Jack Nance, Anthony Perkins, Robert Wagner, and Jack Nicholson were all considered for the part of Benjamin Braddock.
  • Claire Bloom, Angie Dickinson, Sophia Loren, Judy Garland, Rita Hayworth, Susan Hayward, Anouk Aimée, Jennifer Jones, Deborah Kerr, Eva Marie Saint, Rosalind Russell, Simone Signoret, Jean Simmons, Lana Turner, Eleanor Parker, Anne Baxter, and Shelley Winters were all considered for Mrs. Robinson.
  • Ann-Margret, Jane Fonda, Tuesday Weld, Carroll Baker, Sue Lyon, Lee Remick, Suzanne Pleshette, Carol Lynley, Elizabeth Ashley, Yvette Mimieux, Pamela Tiffin, Hayley Mills, and Julie Christie were considered for the role of Elaine Robinson.
  • The song "Macarena" by Los del Río sampled one of Bancroft's lines ("I am not trying to seduce you!").
  • The favorite film of the late Christopher Reeve.
  • Mike Nichols said that the scene of Ben's (Dustin Hoffman's) seduction by Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) "was all about him being stalked. We talked about it being a jungle, and it was a jungle. There were all these plants and the Beverly Hills garden behind the glass that surrounded the sun porch. And we talked about her being the tiger in the jungle and she had a tiger-striped dress on and it was all built to be a trap, a tender trap. We wanted to find a way to express the fact that she was being provocative. And there was her leg and it was up and it seemed logical."
  • Dustin Hoffman found it difficult to make the film because he was used to acting on stage. Mike Nichols would tell him what he was doing was good but to try it again without doing anything. Hoffman said he soon adapted to Nichols' minimalist style, which turned out to be just right for his character.
  • Many of the exterior campus shots were of the University of Southern California, which served as a stand-in for UC Berkeley. Some of the scenes, however, were actually filmed on the Northern California campus, and in the town of Berkeley.
  • The wedding scene was filmed at a Methodist church in LaVerne, California, a suburb thirty miles east of Los Angeles.
  • Dustin Hoffman rehearsed the scene in which he knocks on the glass wall of the church by pounding heavily, causing the entire thing to shake. At that point, the frustrated church's priest or pastor threatened to throw the entire film company out. A crew member suggested that Hoffman spread his arms wide and knock softly. This posture has led many to opine that the moment was invoking a crucifixion, rather than being careful of the plate glass.
  • Mike Nichols said that the use of images to suggest Ben is "underwater" and out of his depth in life (the fish tank, the pool, the scuba outfit) was deliberate, although he didn't care if anyone understood this or not. He also used glass barriers to represent people cut off from each other and from the life around them.
  • Mike Nichols and Production Designer Richard Sylbert talked at length about how to accurately capture the look of middle class Southern California in a unique way, and not just what had been seen in movies for twenty years, "like a Doris Day picture." In a later interview, he said, "California is like America in italics, like a parody of everything that's most dangerous to us."
  • Anne Bancroft loved Mike Nichols' description of Mrs. Robinson as someone who was angry with herself for giving up who she really was, in exchange for wealth and security. This was the aspect of the book that really captured his interest. When they shot the scene where Mrs. Robinson and Ben discuss art in the hotel room, Bancroft had forgotten Nichols' initial revelation about the character, but managed to capture that anger and regret on subsequent takes. Nichols thought this was very important because he really wanted to drive home the point about the character having bargained away her life. "That seems to me the great American danger we're all in, that we'll bargain away the experience of being alive for the appearance of it."
  • The film takes a different visual approach before and after Ben falls in love with Elaine. According to Mike Nichols, the first part is meant to have a cold, glassy, plastic look, while the romantic scenes were done with long lenses and diffused shots (although he later noted it was time to retire that pictorial style for good).
  • Cinematographer Robert Surtees was given license to experiment with filming techniques, such as shooting Dustin Hoffman running toward the camera in extreme depth with a telephoto lens. Even though Hoffman is running very fast as his character races to prevent Elaine's marriage to someone else, the effect of the shot is that he is furiously running in place, getting nowhere.
  • Mike Nichols wanted to change the notion of a musical score by using popular songs that didn't necessarily correlate to the scene, but set a certain mood. He secured the rights to several previously released Simon & Garfunkel recordings. Paul Simon also wrote one song specifically for the film, "Mrs. Robinson" (although some sources say it was a song he was already working on with the tentative title "Mrs. Roosevelt"). Dave Grusin, who had written music mostly for television shows prior to this, was hired to compose the incidental score for scenes not using Simon & Garfunkel songs.
  • Raquel Welch and Joan Collins wanted the role of Elaine Robinson.
  • Faye Dunaway was considered for Elaine Robinson, but she had to turn it down in order to star in Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
  • Joan Crawford inquired about playing Mrs. Robinson. Lauren Bacall, Angela Lansbury, and Audrey Hepburn were also interested.
  • Carroll Baker screentested for Elaine, but was said to have been too old to portray Anne Bancroft's daughter.
  • Gene Hackman was originally cast as Mr. Robinson, but just before filming began, Mike Nichols decided he was too young, and decided to replace him. Marlon Brando, Howard Duff, Brian Keith, George Peppard, Jack Palance, Frank Sinatra, Walter Matthau, and Gregory Peck were all the other choices for the role that Murray Hamilton eventually played.
  • Yul Brynner, Kirk Douglas, Jack Lemmon, Robert Mitchum, Karl Malden, Christopher Plummer, and Ronald Reagan were all considered for Mr. Braddock before William Daniels was cast.
  • The Taft Hotel scenes were filmed at the Ambassador Hotel.
  • Susan Hayward was the first choice for Mrs. Braddock.
  • Geraldine Page turned down the role of Mrs. Robinson.
  • Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • At just over one hundred four million dollars, this was the highest grossing movie of 1967.
  • Anne Bancroft said that for many years after doing this movie, young men would tell her that she was the first woman they had sexual fantasies about.
  • According to Bobbie O'Steen, Editor Sam O'Steen's wife, Mike Nichols was influenced by Director George Stevens.
  • Near the beginning of the movie, there is a shot of Ben in his room with a fish tank behind him. His head is below the water level, indicating he feels as though he is figuratively drowning.
  • Sam O'Steen directed the scene on the bus at the end of the movie.
  • Charles Webb's mother-in-law, Jo Rudd, bitterly resented the implication that she was the real-life Mrs. Robinson and denied it vehemently, as did Webb, until her death.
  • Dustin Hoffman was only paid seventeen thousand dollars to make the film, and after taxes and living expenses, he had only four thousand dollars left. An overnight success in this movie, he nevertheless found himself collecting unemployment checks after its release. It wasn't long, however, before he landed his next major feature role, Ratso in Midnight Cowboy (1969), a part Mike Nichols warned him not to take for fear it would ruin his image and emerging career.
  • In his review, Roger Ebert called the songs by Simon & Garfunkel "unmemorable". He joked about it years later.
  • Dustin Hoffman was told before his screentest that all of the other actors who screentested had agreed to a six-picture contract, but he refused, telling his agent he would rather do it for free and not be obligated to appear in movies he didn't like. He ended up getting paid seventeen thousand dollars without further contracted films.
  • Dustin Hoffman said his screentest for the role of Ben was a disaster, but that Mike Nichols saw something in him that was right for the movie. "Panic, maybe?" Nichols said Hoffman was chosen because he had a face that suggested suffering. Hoffman was sure he was wrong for the role, however, because after reading the book he found Ben to be "a young, conventional, square-jawed Time Magazine Man of the Year type".
  • Mike Nichols said he screentested several actors who were the actual age of the character, but he chose thirty-year-old Dustin Hoffman because he had enough distance from his early twenties to have an attitude about that period in his life and "get rid of that self-pity".
  • Mike Nichols said what convinced him that he wanted to make the film was one moment in the book, when Ben and Mrs. Robinson are trying to have a conversation, and she is reluctant to discuss art. We find out shortly afterward that art was her major in college, where she met her husband and became pregnant. "That tiny moment allowed me to see a Mrs. Robinson I knew very well, a woman who had been one kind of person and had consciously moved away from what she was into something for which she had contempt, a woman who had a very low opinion of herself, who was now almost parodying herself out of anger with herself for having left who she had been," Nichols told Leonard Probst in an interview for the book "Off Camera".
  • Producer Lawrence Turman read about the novel in the New York Times, picked up a copy, and decided he could make a good film out of it while remaining almost entirely faithful to the book.
  • Mike Nichols said he felt bad for the gentle and very shy Dustin Hoffman, who became an instant celebrity after the film, because he would see his great discomfort and reticence while being interviewed on television. "He seemed exactly like the boy in the picture."
  • In The Player (1992), Buck Henry, who co-wrote the screenplay, pitches a sequel to a studio executive in which Ben and Elaine are married, and Mrs. Robinson lives with them after suffering a stroke.
  • In the 1970s, a bus on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio bore a plaque that said "Movie Star," claiming it was the bus used in the final scene when Ben escapes with Elaine. The bus was a 1953 GMC TDH 4512, previously owned by the City of Santa Monica and leased to the movie studio for the movie. In 1967, Kent State University purchased five used buses from Santa Monica, and they were driven to Kent State (largely on the famous Route 66, as far as St. Louis, Missouri). While being refurbished for use in the fledgling KSU Campus Bus Service, it was discovered that one of the five had been recently repainted. KSU inquired to see if the bus had been repaired after some sort of accident, and that's when it was disclosed that it had been used in the movie. The bus's role was certified, and a plaque was affixed to the bus. Its back seat immediately became the most popular back seat in the entire fleet.
  • This was the last time a film won the Best Director Oscar without winning any other category. Usually, the Best Director award goes either two ways: winning along with the Best Picture or winning without Best Picture but taking other categories along. Mike Nichols was the only person to win an Oscar for his work in this movie, which received six other nominations.
  • Simone Signoret was considered for the role of Mrs. Robinson.
  • Sam O'Steen, who was primarily the editor on this film, became a sort of Second Unit Director for the final bus scene, and appears in it as a passenger when the camera looks up the aisle from Ben and Elaine's point of view. He's in the light-colored jacket on the right, near the rear door of the bus.
  • Director Mike Nichols had only recently come from a stage background, this was only his second film, and he had the cast learn and rehearse all of their lines in advance. "We knew every single word before we started shooting", Dustin Hoffman said in the commentary of the 40th Anniversary Edition DVD. Hoffman adds that Katharine Ross expressed the opinion that they were so well prepared, they could have taken the show on the road.
  • In the bottom-of-the-swimming-pool scene, Dustin Hoffman later said his right hand is behind him because he had to hold onto something to keep from floating up and out of frame as the camera slowly pulled away.
  • Katharine Ross wore all of her own clothing in the campus scenes, because Director Mike Nichols felt whatever she came to the shoots in was perfect for the character of Elaine.
  • Mike Nichols and Dustin Hoffman reported that many of the scenes that ended up in the finished film, for example, the scenes on the sidewalk outside of the strip club, several of the medium to long shots on the "Berkeley" campus, involved "guerrilla shooting", where the rest of the people in the frame were not extras and didn't know they were being filmed, partly because the production couldn't get permission to shoot on some of the campuses. In fact, at the start of a scene where Elaine walks toward the camera at the zoo, and is later intercepted by Benjamin, Katharine Ross is shown turning away from a passing man who tried to pick her up, not knowing they were on camera for a movie.
  • The cast was not shown any of the dailies during production. Since Dustin Hoffman had never been in a film before this project, the first time he saw himself on-screen, ever, was at an early screening of the finished film in southern California.
  • In his commentary for the 40th Anniversary Edition DVD, Dustin Hoffman reports that Bancroft had contracted not to do any topless scenes, and was adamant when it came to the early confrontation between Mrs. Robinson and Benjamin in Elaine's bedroom. So shooting stopped while someone went out to find a stripper on Sunset Strip who was willing to do the shots as a stand-in. But the first stripper who was brought in refused to remove her pasties, so the production had to find a second woman to do the shots.
  • In the sequence where Benjamin is running to stop Elaine's wedding at the church, Dustin Hoffman said he did "about twenty takes" of the sequence, on a hot day, and at the end, he fainted and was given oxygen.
  • Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
  • When Ben runs into Elaine's room after talking to Mrs. Robinson, then Elaine sees her mother; there is a nice visual metaphor when the camera goes from soft focus to crystal clarity as she realizes what's been (no pun intended) going on.
  • Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
  • Spoofed by multiple episodes of The Simpsons (1989). One is season two, episode nineteen, "Lisa's Substitute", with Dustin Hoffman (as "Sam Etic") playing a substitute teacher who, after she hits on him, says, "Mrs. Krabappel, you're trying to seduce me!" Another is season two, episode eleven, "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish", which has Homer (believing he has only a few hours to live) running down a street to get home to Marge, accompanied by a guitar solo resembling the one played as Benjamin runs to the church. He then pounds on his living room window and shouts, "Marge, Marge!" Another is season five, episode twenty-one, "Lady Bouvier's Lover", which has Grandpa Simpson pounding on a church window to stop Marge's mother, Jacqueline Bouvier, from marrying Mr. Burns, repeatedly shouting "Mrs. Bouvier!" They both run out of the church and jump onto a bus. The episode's closing song parodies "The Sound of Silence".
  • The first film to win Best Director at the Academy Awards, Directors Guild of America Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Golden Globe Awards.
  • Katharine Ross' only Oscar nominated performance.
  • Anne Bancroft, the best known of the actors and actresses cast, was nominated for a Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar. If she had been nominated in the category of Best Actress in a Supporting Role, she could have most likely won that year's race, which went to Estelle Parsons for Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
  • In interviews Mike Nichols has said he originally interviewed and was considering Robert Redford for the role of Ben Braddock. Braddock was originally a blond Nordic wasp type character, a far cry from Dustin Hoffman. Just trying to get inside Redford's head; and trying to see if he could understand and feel the rejection Benjamin winds up feeling in this story when Elaine rebuffs him at the ending; Nichols asked Hoffman "Have you ever been stood up?" "How do you mean?" Redford asked. The concept of rejection from a female was so foreign to Redford at that point he didn't even understand the question. It was at that point that Nichols decided Redford was wrong for the part.
  • It has been suggested that one of two strippers was hired as a body double for Anne Bancroft's nude flash-shots in Elaine's bedroom. However, the tan lines on the nude body are identical to Bancroft's other shots, and no self-respecting stripper would ever work with such contrasts in skin tones.
  • Bancroft's nomination for "Best Actress in a Leading Role" is category fraud, since she's barely in the second half of the movie. The part of Mrs. Robinson is properly a supporting role.
  • Despite its enormous critical and box-office success, Anne Bancroft didn't appear in another movie until Young Winston (1972).
  • Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross became first-time mothers in their forties. Bancroft gave birth to son Max Brooks in May 1972, four months before she turned forty-one. Ross gave birth to daughter Cleo Elliott in September 1984, four months before she turned forty-five.
  • One of the few scenes in Buck Henry's script that did not make the final cut, according to Mark Harris's "Pictures at a Revolution" (2008), was a long, "overexplicit prologue" in which Benjamin the valedictorian gives the commencement speech at his college graduation. As he builds toward describing the purpose of the four years of schooling he and his classmates have just completed, the pages of his speech blow away and he panics, forgetting and never reaching the climactic answer. Nichols decided to cut this scene so the first words in the film are the airline pilot's "Ladies and gentlemen, we're about to begin our descent into Los Angeles." In an interview with Harris, Nichols explained: "It's a statement of theme that you don't really hear, even though it's perfectly loud and clear.... It's my thesis, but it's invisible, which is just the way I want it."
  • Like the "Please don't tease" sign on the chimpanzee cage much later, there's a subliminal message on a sign very early in the film. At the conclusion of the title sequence and the first rendition of Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence," the camera smoothly tracks Benjamin's suitcase along a baggage conveyor. Just before it drops into the carousel, a sign flashes by: "Do They Match?" . . . a potential question about several couples in the movie, and perhaps even Benjamin and his entire world.
  • The "Mrs. Robinson" theme appears three times in the movie with instrumental backing: first in Berkeley, merely whistled over an acoustic guitar after Elaine says "Maybe we are, maybe we're not" (getting married) and Ben goes shopping for a ring and flowers; second, with Simon and Garfunkel singing "dee, dee-dee-dee, dee dee..." over slashing guitar chords when Ben is racing his Alfa Romeo along the coast highway; and finally, with a sung chorus as he blows out of the tunnel onto the Bay Bridge on his way to the church. But its very FIRST appearance in the film is a little earlier and more subtle: Ben siss-whistles a snatch of it through his teeth as he's driving through the pouring rain to the Robinsons to pick up Elaine, just before a very wet and angry Mrs. Robinson jumps into the car.
  • Buck Henry interviewed in a TCM "Word of Mouth" about the casting process for Elaine Robinson: "... and then some guy, uh, brought in Katharine Ross and immediately all our hearts started beating really fast. And I think they thought sort of the same thing I did; I didn't care if she could act. I just wanted to look at that face and that hair for an hour and a half. And, um, that was that."
  • Richard Dreyfuss who played one of the students in the hallway after Eliane screams, would later be in Jaws (1975) also starring. Murray Hamilton.
  • The most pivotal scene of The Graduate had a great example of using focus pulling. Ben rushes into the house and up the stairs with Mrs. Robinson pursuing close behind. When he finds Elaine, he begins to confess the identity of the woman he's been having an affair with. "That older woman that I told you about? The married woman. That wasn't just some woman." When Mrs. Robinson approaches the door, Elaine turns to looks at her; the camera is now focused on her mother. Then Elaine turns to look at Ben as her out-of-focus face slowly comes into focus; she realizes who he is having an affair with.
  • Back then, audiences had no idea that Katharine Ross was 27 (she turned 28 soon after the film opened) - a mere eight years younger than onscreen mother Anne Bancroft. Like many starlets, Ross lied about her age and was able to get away with it until the late '00s, when public records became readily available online.
  • Benjamin uses a cross to block the doors of the church when he and Elaine are escaping. A cross is traditionally used in folklore to repel evil.
  • Dustin Hoffman was arguably (and is still arguably) the most critically acclaimed and respected actor ever; winning two academy awards for Kramer Vs Kramer and Rain Man; and getting raves for his performances in movies like Tootsie and the the Graduate, and plays like Death of a Salesman; and being one of the most versatile actors of his generation. His career abruptly came to an end in November of 2017 in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein and Me Too Scandals in Hollywood; when various women came forward and accused him of sexual misconduct. He has not worked or appeared publicly since then and has kept mostly a low profile. Time will tell whether he will ever be able to revive his career again; skeptics are saying he won't.
  • Katherine Ross was definitely the "It"girl of the 60s and 70s, starring in Graduate, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Stepford Wives; all major releases during that period.
  • When famed film critic Roger Ebert saw The Graduate in 1967 he hailed it as "the funniest movie of the year" and gave it four stars. When he saw it thirty years later for the 30th anniversary re-release; which Siskel and Ebert covered in 1997, he dismissed it as "dated" and a "lesser movie": " It is a movie about a tiresome bore and his well-meaning parents. The only character in the movie who is alive--who can see through situations, understand motives, and dare to seek her own happiness--is Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). Seen today, "The Graduate'' is a movie about a young man of limited interest, who gets a chance to sleep with the ranking babe in his neighborhood, and throws it away in order to marry her dorky daughter." Ebert goes on to say that the movie was "of it's time"; but it's time has passed. He asks" What murky generational politics were distorting my view the first time I saw this film?...'Is "The Graduate'' a bad movie? Not at all. It is a good topical movie whose time has passed, leaving it stranded in an earlier age. I give it three stars out of delight for the material it contains; to watch it today is like opening a time capsule. To know that the movie once spoke strongly to a generation is to understand how deep the generation gap ran during that extraordinary time in the late 1960s. There were true rebels in movies of the period (see "Easy Rider"), but Benjamin Braddock was not one of them. I wonder how long it took him to get into plastics.'"
  • Pauline Kael said this movie starts out great; when Benjamin and Mrs. Robinson have the affair; but then turns into a manipulative melodrama once Ben professes an interest in Elaine, the daughter. At that point Mrs. Robinson becomes a stereotype; and the plot becomes predictable; and begins to pander to the teenage audience: "As Mrs. Robinson (whose name was used for the title of one of the Simon and Garfunkel songs on the sound track), Anne Bancroft is tremendous fun, at first. She's the amusingly voracious middle-aged woman who seduces the naïve Benjamin, and when he's in bed with her and wants to talk about art, the comic moments click along with the rhythm of a hit Broadway show. But then the movie deliberately undercuts its own hip expertise and begins to pander to youth. Benjamin falls in love with Mrs. Robinson's fresh, wide-eyed daughter (Katharine Ross), and the mother is turned into a vindictive witch. (And the comedy turns into melodrama.) Commercially, this worked: the rejection of upper-middle-class values had a special appeal for upper-middle-class college students. The inarticulate Benjamin became a romantic hero for the audience to project onto." Roger Ebert said similar things about the movie; that Mrs. Robinson was (when Ben was having a relationship with her) the most interesting thing in the movie; but Ben is "boring" and Elaine is "dorky"; and the plot itself is unimaginitive.
  • A moment of real-life sexual assault is actually seen onscreen in "The Graduate." In a scene in which Braddock ineptly tries to seduce Mrs. Robinson, Hoffman puts his hand on her right breast - an action that was not in the script and that Bancroft did not know was going to happen. In a prankish way, Nichols asked Hoffman to feel her up during that sequence - and they both kept the plot twist secret from Bancroft. However, Bancroft got her digs in during another part of the film, when she was lying in bed with Hoffman and angrily clawed at him in a way that was also not scripted.

Spoilers

  • On Inside the Actors Studio (1994), Director Mike Nichols claimed that the final "sobering" emotion that Benjamin and Elaine go through was due to the fact that he had just been shouting at the two of them to laugh in the scene. The actor and actress were so scared that after laughing they stopped, looking visibly nervous. Nichols liked it so much, he decided to keep the cameras rolling and cut it into the final movie.
  • In the novel, Ben interrupts the wedding before Elaine says "I do". Screenwriter Buck Henry suggested that the scene would be even more shocking if Ben were to arrive after Elaine had already gotten married. Director Mike Nichols was shocked by the suggestion at first, but later warmed up to the idea. However, at that time, Henry had gotten cold feet and wanted to go with the ending as described in the novel, but Nichols refused, reassuring Henry that his first instinct had been correct.
  • Mike Nichols often remarked about how Ben and Elaine in the final scene looked frightened and confused after their initial elation over escaping on the bus. Yet during an appearance on Inside the Actors Studio (1994), he said the looks on their faces were due to being nervous and scared after he shouted at them to laugh during the scene. He liked it so much, he decided to keep the cameras rolling and cut it into the final movie.
  • In the scene where Ben tries to tell Elaine his affair was with her mother, Mrs. Robinson, the shot of Elaine is out of focus and slowly comes into focus as she realizes what he is telling her.
  • When the film was first released in Portugal, it was cut to end with Ben behind the glass at the church, watching Elaine get married. The ruling military regime at the time did this to preserve Catholic doctrine and to let no suggestion pass that church, state, and parents could be opposed.
  • The bus used in the final "escape" scene was a 1953 GMC TDH 4512, owned by the City of Santa Monica and leased to the movie studio for the movie. In 1967, Kent State University purchased five used buses from Santa Monica, and they were driven (largely on the famous Route 66 as far as St. Louis, MO) to Kent State. While being refurbished for use in the fledgling KSU Campus Bus Service, it was discovered that one of the five had been recently repainted. KSU inquired to see if the bus had been repaired after some sort of accident, and that's when it was disclosed that it had been used in "The Graduate". The bus's role was certified, and a plaque was affixed to the bus (I don't remember the exact wording, but I don't believe it was "Movie Star"). The back seat of that bus immediately became the most popular back seat in the entire fleet.
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