Mike Nichols. Release Date: December 21, 1967. DVD Release Date: June 19, 2001.
I'm always amazed when I meet people who have nothing positive to say about this movie, because in many ways I think it represents some of the finest performances since film was in its heyday back in the 40s and 50s. Do I get a little weirded out at Dustin Hoffman so young and on the make? Totally. And I try not to remember that I know Anne Bancroft better as Ms. Havisham in Great Expectations. That way lies madness.
I also find it amazing when I run across someone who feels like this movie no longer has any bearing on modern life... to which my answer is, succinctly, something akin to "say what?!" In some ways, The Graduate has reflected my own life so strongly that if The Graduate and Post Grad mated, that would actually be the story of my life.
Let's think about this. A young man has just finished college and is questioning his future. From what I've seen, most people who are just finishing their undergraduate education are wondering why they bothered to go to school. They're struggling to find work of any kind and are competing for entry level with people (like me) with Master's degrees or who have 5-10 years of work experience under their belt. Their futures are just as uncertain as Benjamin's.
Who would reject the advances of an older woman at that age? Certainly not me, although the way my life has been going the last few years I'd be suspicious of any woman who made such advances. And look at it this way... Benjamin's family is so eternally boring (especially when you consider that this was filmed and set in the 60s, which should have been more interesting by accident) that Mrs. Robinson is really the only character that has even the smallest spark of life. Well, I guess their interaction is questionable, but it all goes back to that point where poor Benjamin is eternally boring and occasionally insufferable.
But still, I've learned to love this movie over the years, and each time I watch it I learn to love it a little more and find various applications for its tale on my own existence. So to you naysayers, since when are these decisions that have to be made as we exit childhood and enter the adult world no longer applicable to our lives? Even if we made them years ago, we should be able to find some parallel between what happens in this film and what happens in our own lives.