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The Graduate



Influential coming-of-age sex comedy has mature themes.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1967
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

 Blond, blue-eyed WASP America tacitly indicted for oblivious privilege. Some may consider Ben's use of a cross in a church blasphemous.

Positive role models

No one behaves admirably. Feeling hollow and aimless after college graduation, Ben has an adulterous affair with an older woman, which makes him feel more aimless and hollow. His parents' generation seems unhappy, superficial, and devoted to material things. At best, Ben seeks more meaning in life, but even when he wins Elaine, their living meaningful lives happily is far from assured. Mrs. Robinson is a self-described alcoholic who seduces her friends' son. Breaking and entering, stalking, going by an assumed name, and premarital pregnancy all featured.


Ben rams his shoulder into a mob at a church, then grabs a large cross on the wall and wields it threateningly to keep the crowd back. Once outside, he uses the cross to bar the door.


Sex is an ever-present topic. Ben has an affair with a married woman, then falls in love with her daughter. Mrs. Robinson, in bra, unbuttons Ben's shirt as he lies in bed, then rubs his bare chest. A few seconds of the nude Mrs. Robinson are on display. A topless dancer at a bar is covered only by tassels on her nipples while she does a seductive dance for several seconds.


Infrequent use of, for example, "goddamn," "hell," and "ass" and the epithet "wop."


Celebration of elaborate gifts (Alfa Romeo, scuba gear).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking and smoking. Mrs. Robinson says she's an alcoholic.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a unique classic comedy charting an affair between a young man and a married friend of his parents. Much time is spent on the initial seduction and subsequent clandestine meetings in hotel rooms. Though no graphic depictions of intercourse are shown, there are brief shots of female nudity during the seduction and later in a nightclub scene, where a woman strips down to underwear and pasties. Language is fairly restrained, with a few minor curse words, such as "ass" or "damn" used sparingly. Many of the adults drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes very casually.

What's the story?

After Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) graduates from college, he's disinterested in everything, career-related or not. A family friend, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), propositions him with an offer of casual sex. The affair seems to bring Benjamin a certain level of contentment. Soon Ben finds problems with their relationship and develops an interest in the Robinsons' daughter, Elaine (Katherine Ross), much to Mrs. Robinson's disapproval.

Is it any good?


This intriguing comedy was influential in that the plot seems to build toward an energetic climax, but the actual closing moments are listless, providing little closure. This way of leaving a film open-ended and unsettled, above all else, influenced many of the cinematic treasures of the late 1960s and early 1970s, a period that most look back on as golden days of motion-picture history.

Much has been said about the success and aftershocks of the release of THE GRADUATE in 1967. Certainly its deadpan humor and the main character's palpable sense of unease resonated with audience members steeped in the rising counterculture movement. It stands as a document of an era. The lush soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel underscores a pervasive melancholy while also giving certain quiet moments an astounding serenity -- a marriage of pop music and film that influenced many later films.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how well this movie has aged. Does Benjamin's lack of direction upon graduating seem applicable today, or is it more reflective of the state of youth in the '60s? 

  • Parents definitely will want to address Ben's complicated relationship with Mrs. Robinson. Does she seem genuinely interested in Benjamin? If not, what might her motives be in seducing him?

  • Why does Elaine seem to gain appeal for Benjamin when Mrs. Robinson forbids him to see her?

  • Would you consider this movie to be a classic? Why, or why not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 22, 1967
DVD/Streaming release date:December 7, 1999
Cast:Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross
Director:Mike Nichols
Topics:Misfits and underdogs
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byFightClub September 4, 2010

git r done

Great film! watched it two hours ago! higly reccomend for movie fans
Teen, 14 years old Written bymiranda1993 April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written byBigGreenMovieMachine July 16, 2011

Great Film!

Great film, very entertaining, but by todays standards the film would receive a PG-13 instead of a PG.


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