The Graduate (1967)

103 or 105 mins | Comedy-drama | 21 December 1967

Director:

Mike Nichols

Producer:

Lawrence Turman

Cinematographer:

Robert Surtees

Editor:

Sam O'Steen

Production Designer:

Richard Sylbert

Production Company:

Lawrence Turman, Inc.
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HISTORY

On 16 Mar 1964, DV announced that esteemed satirist and stage director Mike Nichols had accepted his first feature film project: an adaptation of Charles Webb’s 1963 novel, The Graduate, for independent producer Lawrence Turman. According to the 1 Jan 1967 NYT, Turman was impressed by the book’s “pertinence to the present scene” in its depiction of an affluent yet ambivalent youth, and immediately thought of Nichols for the material. Based in New York City, Nichols allegedly disliked Southern California, and planned to shoot the picture on location to “show the place as it really is.” Although a 7 Oct 1964 NYT news item stated that Embassy Pictures Corp. agreed to provide financing, the 12 Dec 1964 edition reported that Nichols had committed to directing Warner Bros. Pictures’ production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966, see entry), and The Graduate was subsequently delayed to accommodate his schedule.
       During this time, Turman and Nichols began the arduous scripting process. While the initial announcement named William Hanley as screenwriter, the 16 Oct 1964 DV claimed the pair had also met with Loring Mandel. Early the following year, the 27 Jan 1965 Var stated that Calder Willingham had been signed to write an initial draft, which a 26 Nov 1965 DV brief indicated would be revised by Peter Nelson. However, Willingham shares screen credit with Buck Henry, who, according to the 5 Feb 1967 LAT, was brought on late in development to solve certain issues with the plot. Henry also appears in the film as the room clerk at the “Taft ... More Less

On 16 Mar 1964, DV announced that esteemed satirist and stage director Mike Nichols had accepted his first feature film project: an adaptation of Charles Webb’s 1963 novel, The Graduate, for independent producer Lawrence Turman. According to the 1 Jan 1967 NYT, Turman was impressed by the book’s “pertinence to the present scene” in its depiction of an affluent yet ambivalent youth, and immediately thought of Nichols for the material. Based in New York City, Nichols allegedly disliked Southern California, and planned to shoot the picture on location to “show the place as it really is.” Although a 7 Oct 1964 NYT news item stated that Embassy Pictures Corp. agreed to provide financing, the 12 Dec 1964 edition reported that Nichols had committed to directing Warner Bros. Pictures’ production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966, see entry), and The Graduate was subsequently delayed to accommodate his schedule.
       During this time, Turman and Nichols began the arduous scripting process. While the initial announcement named William Hanley as screenwriter, the 16 Oct 1964 DV claimed the pair had also met with Loring Mandel. Early the following year, the 27 Jan 1965 Var stated that Calder Willingham had been signed to write an initial draft, which a 26 Nov 1965 DV brief indicated would be revised by Peter Nelson. However, Willingham shares screen credit with Buck Henry, who, according to the 5 Feb 1967 LAT, was brought on late in development to solve certain issues with the plot. Henry also appears in the film as the room clerk at the “Taft Hotel.”
       Casting did not begin until 1966, as the 23 Jan 1966 NYT reported that Nichols was still editing Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which had run over schedule. Items in the 11 Feb 1966 and 2 Sep 1966 DV indicated that Patricia Neal, Deborah Kerr, and Susan Hayward were among the actresses considered to play “Mrs. Robinson,” while a 16 Dec 1966 DV brief claimed the role also attracted the interest of Ava Gardner. On 9 Jan 1967, DV announced Anne Bancroft as the first member of the principal cast, leaving the filmmakers to continue their search for a young actor to play the eponymous college graduate, “Ben Braddock.”
       Michael Sarrazin was involved in early discussions, and the 28 Dec 1966 DV and 13 Aug 1967 LAT named Tony Bill and Marc Rambeau as two of the actors who read for casting consultant Lynn Stalmaster and assistant casting director Milt Hammerman during a nationwide talent search. After an unsuccessful meeting with Robert Redford, a 13 Feb 1967 DV news item reported that Nichols and Turman had flown to the East Coast to scout talent in the New York City theater scene. There, they discovered twenty-nine-year-old Dustin Hoffman, who received critical praise for his performance in an Off-Broadway production of the Henry Livings comedy, Eh? According to a 31 Dec 1967 LAT article, Hoffman questioned whether he was suited for the character, which he referred to as a “young, conventional, squarejawed, Time Magazine Man of the Year type” based on his description in the novel. Nichols, however, regarded Hoffman as an “outsider,” and was further convinced by the anxiety he displayed in his audition. As this was his first major film role, Hoffman accepted the job with no options. The 30 Dec 1967 NYT stated he received a paycheck of $20,000.
       Patty Duke told the 7 Jul 1967 LAT that she turned down an opportunity to read for the role of “Elaine Robinson” because she had taken a brief hiatus from acting to recover from illness. In his 13 Aug 1967 piece for the LAT, Marc Rambeau recalled meeting Kim Darby, Ann Ford, and Barbara Hershey at the studio before their auditions. The role ultimately went to Katharine Ross, who was still largely unknown to audiences, having only appeared in minor film roles and some television work. The 7 Apr 1967 DV announced that three weeks of rehearsals were underway on the Paramount Pictures backlot in Hollywood. At this time, Gene Hackman was attached to play “Mr. Robinson,” but was later replaced by Murray Hamilton.
       Principal photography began 24 Apr 1967, as stated in a 5 May 1967 DV production chart. On 7 Jul 1967, LAT reported that the unit was soon scheduled to film on various locations in Northern California, including San Francisco, the Oakland Bay Bridge, and the University of California, Berkeley. However, most footage of the school campus was shot at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, while a 5 May 1967 DV brief indicated that the Ambassador Hotel stood in for the site of Ben and Mrs. Robinson’s rendezvous at the fictional Taft Hotel. Additional location work was completed in Santa Barbara County, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. The 30 Dec 1967 NYT stated that photography was completed on 25 Aug 1967. Several contemporary sources listed a negative cost of $3 million.
       Editing began immediately, as the 30 Aug 1967 DV announced that Nichols had returned to New York City with editor Sam O’Steen. Despite a 5 Dec 1966 DV report that Andre Previn was assigned to work on the soundtrack, Paul Simon told the 21 Jan 1968 NYT that Nichols had intended to use the music of folk duo Simon & Garfunkel since the film’s early development. Simon agreed to compose the score, although all vocal tracks (except “Mrs. Robinson”) had already been released on Simon & Garfunkel’s 1966 Columbia record, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. A 1 Apr 1968 LAT article credited the film’s popularity for exposing the singers to a new generation of fans and boosting sales of both the soundtrack album and their previous discography.
       According to the 27 Dec 1967 Var, The Graduate premiered in New York City on 20 Dec 1967 before beginning a regular engagement at the Lincoln Art and Coronet Theatres and Los Angeles’s 4 Star Theatre the following day. After eight weeks at twenty-nine theaters, the run expanded to sixty-nine venues. Weekly earnings steadily increased over time, as demonstrated by a 26 Feb 1968 LAT article comparing local opening week returns of $21,000 to ninth-week returns of $40,000. Nichols and Turman had supposedly surrendered their portion of potential profits when production went over budget, but due to its success, Embassy Pictures president Joseph E. Levine agreed to reinstate Nichols’s ten percent share.
       In addition to becoming the highest-grossing film of 1967, The Graduate was widely revered by critics. In his 18 Dec 1967 review for the LAT, Charles Champlin praised Nichols’s directorial skills and called the picture a “dazzling comedy” that was “observant, sharp and spirited,” while Bosley Crowther’s 22 Dec 1967 NYT critique lauded the cast performances led by Hoffman, “an amazing new young star.”
       Nichols received an Academy Award for Directing, and the film earned nominations for Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Actress (Anne Bancroft), Actress in a Supporting Role (Katharine Ross), Writing (Screenplay—based on material from another medium), Cinematography, and Best Picture; as well as seven Golden Globe nominations, of which it won four. AFI ranked The Graduate #17 on the 100 Years…100 Movies—10th Anniversary Edition list of greatest American films, moving down from the 7th position it held on the 1997 list. It also placed #9 on the list of 100 Years…100 Laughs and #52 on the list of 100 Years…100 Passions, while “Mrs. Robinson” ranked #6 on the list of 100 Years…100 Songs; and two quotes (“Plastics,” and, “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?”) hold the forty-second and sixty-third positions on the list of 100 Years…100 Quotes. In 1996, it was added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.
       Popularity of The Grauate has persisted through the twenty-first century, as the motion picture was adapted into a Broadway play starring Jason Biggs, Alicia Silverstone, and Kathleen Turner, which ran at the Plymouth Theatre 4 Apr 2002—2 Mar 2003 before launching a national tour. On 30 May 2006, The Times of London, England, announced that writer Charles Webb had negotiated a book deal to publish a sequel, Home School, in the U.K. Webb was reportedly hesitant to release a follow-up story out of fear that Canal Plus, which owned film rights to any potential sequels, would produce a movie without his consent. However, he decided to move ahead with the novel to repay his debt and avoid eviction, and the 1 Jun 2007 Var confirmed its upcoming publication overseas.
       Modern sources indicated that a young Richard Dreyfuss appears as a tenant in Ben’s Berkeley boarding house.
       A scene between Ben and Mrs. Robinson features footage from the ABC television series, The Newlywed Game (1966—1974). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
16 Mar 1964
p. 6.
Daily Variety
16 Oct 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
26 Nov 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
11 Feb 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
2 Sep 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 Dec 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Dec 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
28 Dec 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
9 Jan 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 Feb 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
7 Apr 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 May 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 May 1967
p. 8.
Daily Variety
21 Aug 1967.
---
Daily Variety
30 Aug 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
12 Dec 1967
p. 4.
Daily Variety
18 Dec 1967.
---
Filmfacts
15 Jan 1968
pp. 371-373.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 1967
p. 3.
Life
24 Nov 1967
pp. 111-112.
Life
19 Jan 1968
p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
5 Feb 1967
Section C, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
7 Jul 1967
Section C, p. 1, 7.
Los Angeles Times
7 Jul 1967
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
13 Aug 1967
Section C, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
18 Dec 1967
Section C, p. 1, 30.
Los Angeles Times
20 Dec 1967
Section C, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
31 Dec 1967
Section C, p. 11, 17.
Los Angeles Times
26 Feb 1968
Section C, p. 19.
Los Angeles Times
1 Apr 1968
Section C, p. 30.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Dec 1967
p. 751.
New York Times
7 Oct 1964
p. 52.
New York Times
12 Dec 1964
p. 36.
New York Times
23 Jan 1966
p. 99.
New York Times
1 Jan 1967
p. 63.
New York Times
13 Feb 1967
p. 41.
New York Times
12 Mar 1967
p. 125.
New York Times
22 Dec 1967
p. 44.
New York Times
30 Dec 1967
p. 15.
New York Times
31 Dec 1967
p. 1, 14.
New York Times
21 Jan 1968
Section D, p. 24.
New York Times
11 Feb 1968
p. 1, 13.
New Yorker
30 Dec 1967
p. 48.
New Yorker
27 Jul 1968
pp. 34-42.
Newsweek
1 Jan 1968
p. 63.
The Times (London)
30 May 2006.
---
Time
29 Dec 1967
p. 55.
Variety
7 Oct 1964
p. 4.
Variety
27 Jan 1965
p. 5.
Variety
18 Jan 1967
p. 19.
Variety
20 Dec 1967
p. 6.
Variety
27 Dec 1967
p. 14.
Variety
1 Jun 2007.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Mike Nichols-Lawrence Turman Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Sketch artist
COSTUMES
Furs by
Spec jewelry by
MUSIC
Addl mus
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdresser
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Scr supv
Casting consultant
Prod asst
Prod secy
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Graduate by Charles Webb (New York, 1963).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"The Sounds of Silence," "Scarborough Fair (Canticle)," "Mrs. Robinson," "The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine" and "April Come She Will," words and music by Paul Simon, sung by Simon & Garfunkel.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 December 1967
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 20 December 1967
New York and Los Angeles openings: 21 December 1967
Production Date:
24 April--25 August 1967
Copyright Claimant:
Embassy Pictures Corp. & Lawrence Turman, Inc.
Copyright Date:
20 December 1967
Copyright Number:
LP40200
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
103 or 105
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Benjamin Braddock, filled with doubts about his future, returns to his Los Angeles home after graduating from an Eastern college. His parents soon have a party so they can boast of their son's academic achievements and his bright prospects in business. Mrs. Robinson, one of the guests, persuades Ben to drive her home and there tries to seduce him, but her overtures are interrupted by the sound of her husband's car in the driveway. Blatant in her seductive maneuvers, she soon has the nervous and inexperienced Ben meeting her regularly at the Taft Hotel. As the summer passes, Benjamin becomes increasingly bored and listless; he frequently stays out overnight and returns home to loll around the pool. When his worried parents try to interest him in Elaine, Mrs. Robinson's daughter, Ben agrees to date her to avoid having the entire Robinson family invited to dinner. At first Benjamin is rude to Elaine and takes her to a striptease club, but realizing how cruel he has been, he apologizes and the two begin dating. Outraged, Mrs. Robinson demands that Ben stop seeing her daughter; instead he blurts out the truth to a shocked Elaine, who returns to college in Berkeley. Although Ben follows her and tries to persuade her to marry him, Elaine's parents intervene and encourage her to marry Carl Smith, a student whom she has been dating. Ben returns to Los Angeles, but when Mrs. Robinson refuses to divulge any information about the wedding, he races back to Berkeley and learns that the ceremony will take place in Santa Barbara. Arriving at the church as the final vows are being spoken, he screams Elaine's name over the heads ... +


Benjamin Braddock, filled with doubts about his future, returns to his Los Angeles home after graduating from an Eastern college. His parents soon have a party so they can boast of their son's academic achievements and his bright prospects in business. Mrs. Robinson, one of the guests, persuades Ben to drive her home and there tries to seduce him, but her overtures are interrupted by the sound of her husband's car in the driveway. Blatant in her seductive maneuvers, she soon has the nervous and inexperienced Ben meeting her regularly at the Taft Hotel. As the summer passes, Benjamin becomes increasingly bored and listless; he frequently stays out overnight and returns home to loll around the pool. When his worried parents try to interest him in Elaine, Mrs. Robinson's daughter, Ben agrees to date her to avoid having the entire Robinson family invited to dinner. At first Benjamin is rude to Elaine and takes her to a striptease club, but realizing how cruel he has been, he apologizes and the two begin dating. Outraged, Mrs. Robinson demands that Ben stop seeing her daughter; instead he blurts out the truth to a shocked Elaine, who returns to college in Berkeley. Although Ben follows her and tries to persuade her to marry him, Elaine's parents intervene and encourage her to marry Carl Smith, a student whom she has been dating. Ben returns to Los Angeles, but when Mrs. Robinson refuses to divulge any information about the wedding, he races back to Berkeley and learns that the ceremony will take place in Santa Barbara. Arriving at the church as the final vows are being spoken, he screams Elaine's name over the heads of the startled guests. Elaine sees her parents' anger toward Ben, and realizing what their influence has done, she fights off her mother and Carl and races to Ben. After locking the congregation in the church by jamming a crucifix through the door handles, the couple leaps aboard a passing bus and rides away. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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