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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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Infrequent use of, for example, "goddamn," "hell," and "ass" and the epithet "wop."
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Products & Purchases
Celebration of elaborate gifts (Alfa Romeo, scuba gear).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some drinking and smoking. Mrs. Robinson says she's an alcoholic.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Graduate 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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.