The Films That Made Us: The Graduate
The Graduate (1967)
This is Benjamin. He's a little worried about his future.
So reads the tagline from Mike Nichols’ iconic 1967 film about disaffected youth. I share the same Christian name as Dustin Hoffman’s title character and, coincidentally, I was the same age (21*) the first time I saw it. The major difference is that I was not a graduate at the time. In fact, I'd recently dropped out of university after becoming disillusioned with the prospect of a career in I.T., so to say that I was a little worried about my future back then would have been a massive understatement.
Like Benjamin Braddock, I was at a loss as to what to do with my life, though my backdrop was somewhat less glamorous - I did not compound my inertia by cruising the streets of Beverly Hills at night in a red Alfa Romeo convertible, nor spend long summer days drifting along on a lilo before rolling into bed with a married older woman.
One thing that I did do was consume a lot of films and The Graduate - one of my first ever DVD purchases in fact - is one which really struck a chord with me. There was something very reassuring about Ben’s naivety and toe-curling awkwardness that told me it was okay to be young, foolish and reckless, to be directionless and to make mistakes.
Thankfully, all those movies came good in the end as I eventually went back to university to study film.
*Fun fact: Hoffman was, in fact, already 30 when he made his breakout performance in this film - only six years younger than Anne Bancroft despite the fact he was meant to be half her age.
[Ben Lyndon, Curzon Head Office]
The Graduate makes a timely return to our screens on Friday 23rd June with a pristine 4K restoration, in celebration of its 50th anniversary.