Among the wittiest Generation Gap films ever made, The Graduate launched the career of actor Dustin Hoffman and earned Mike Nichols an Academy Award for Best Director. A deliciously irreverent social satire and a timeless classic, boasting an iconic song score by Simon & Garfunkel. And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know…
»Dustin has always said he could never get a reading out of me when we were making it… ‘Am I doing okay? Does he like what I’m doing?’ And I always thought, are you crazy? They had to move me to a different soundstage when we shot because I would ruin takes by laughing too loud. I’m not kidding, I had to eat handkerchiefs during some scenes to keep from cracking up. He could be absolutely hilarious while hardly moving a muscle – which was exactly what I was after, without being able to specifically describe it before I saw him do it. /…/ We wrote out that famous montage sequence shot by shot. /…/ But it wasn’t until we laid Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound of Silence’ over it that we knew the scene worked. I’d been listening to their album every morning in the shower before I’d go to work, and then one morning it just hit me: ‘Schmuck! This is your soundtrack!’ [Film editor] Sam O’Steen worked on weekends, so the next Saturday I brought the track over and it was like, holy shit, this fits exactly and it’s twice as powerful! It’s one of those miraculous moments you get when you’re making a movie, where everything somehow comes together. It’s better than sex. Okay, maybe not better, but it’s indescribably fantastic.«
- Mike Nichols, Time Out
»/…/ a film that is not only one of the best of the year, but also one of the best seriocomic social satires we've had from Hollywood since Preston Sturges was making them.
/…/ Mark it right down in your datebook as a picture you'll have to see – and maybe see twice to savor all its sharp satiric wit and cinematic treats. /…/ Funny, outrageous, and touching, The Graduate is a sophisticated film that puts Mr. Nichols and his associates on a level with any of the best satirists working abroad today.«
- Bosley Crowther, The New York Times
»The Graduate, the funniest American comedy of the year, is inspired by the free spirit which the young British directors have brought into their movies. It is funny, not because of sight gags and punch lines and other tired rubbish, but because it has a point of view. That is to say, it is against something. Comedy is naturally subversive, no matter what Doris Day thinks. Most Hollywood comedies have non-movie assumptions built into them. One of the most persistent is that movie characters have to react to funny events in the same way that stage actors do. So we get Jerry Lewis mugging. But in the direct style of new British directors, the audience is the target of the joke, and the funny events do not happen in the movie – they are the movie. This theory is based upon a belief that audiences, having seen hundreds of movies, come into the theater with an instinctive knowledge of film shorthand. So the new-style British comedies (The Knack, Morgan, Alfie, Tom Jones, A Hard Day's Night) go against standard practice, and their use of film itself is part of the comedy. When something funny happens, the actors don't react; the movie itself reacts by what it shows next. This is the case with The Graduate, in which Mike Nichols announces himself as a major new director.«
- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times