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The Graduate

Guaranteed To Leave You In A Cheerful Mood

See this for Anne Bancroft, a brilliant and underrated actress in one of her most memorable roles.

The Graduate by Mike Nicholls and with Anne Bancroft / Dustin Hoffman

Few films have defined a generation as much as The Graduate did. The alienation, the nonconformity, the intergenerational romance, the blissful Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack - they all served to lob a cultural grenade smack into the middle of 1967 America, ultimately making the film the third most profitable up to that time. Even seen from a later perspective, it's still a joy to see Dustin Hoffman's bemused Benjamin and Anne Bancroft's deliciously decadent, sardonic Mrs Robinson. Mike Nichols, who won an Oscar for his direction, has just the right, light touch.


This is one of the defining films of my generation, and of course I saw it when it came out in 1967. Seeing it again after all these years I was struck by both how funny it is and by the brittle, cynical and brilliant performance by Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson. She really is flawless in a part that might easily lend itself to overacting. Instead she is subtle, controlled, focused, and authentic in a way that is both sexy and chilling with just a hint of ironic humor. The maternal manner with which she treats virginal Benjamin Braddock emphasizes the creepy, almost incestuous nature of their sterile affair.

Dustin Hoffman's confused and drifting Benjamin, worried about his future and suffocated by his parents' generation, knocked everybody out in those days with his dead-panned, literal delivery of one-liners, some of which were written by Buck Henry, who plays the desk clerk at the rendezvous hotel. I especially loved Ben's answer when his father, enquiring about his Quixotic plan to marry Mrs. Robinson's daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross), asks, "Isn't this a half-baked idea?" In dead seriousness, Benjamin says, "No, sir. It's completely baked."

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