The Graduate is a comedy, drama and romance all rolled into one. Throw in a classic soundtrack from Simon and Garfunkel and you have one great movie to rent with your girlfriend and have her swooning over you by the end of the evening.
It tells the story of Ben Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman) who is a recent college graduate with no real aim in life. His aimlessness starts off the movie on a comedy note which quickly turns to drama when he is seduced by Mrs. Robinson (played by Anne Bancroft).
This development also became the theme of the famous lyrics by Simon and Garfunkel “God bless you please Mrs. Robinson” as Ben actually falls in love with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter Elaine (played by Katharine Ross).
Ben is humorously uncomfortable with his sexuality but he is drawn into the affair with the older, but still attractive, Mrs. Robinson. During one of their secret meetings, Mrs. Robinson forces Ben to promise that he will never date her daughter Elaine but Ben cannot resist the pressure from his parents to take Elaine out.
He is essentially forced to date her against Mrs. Robinson’s wishes and tries to ensure his date is a disaster. This complex state of affairs ironically leads to love between Ben and Elaine and make for a true romance that every girl adores.
In the famous conclusion of the film, Benjamin undertakes a desperate drive across California near Berkeley to head off a wedding between Elaine's and another suitor. The soundtrack to the movie is what really makes the romance a big hit. It has taken on cult status and a history which developed into further movies like Rumor Has It starring Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Costner.
In the 1960’s many other actors auditioned for the roles of The Graduate such as Warren Beatty Robert Redford and Charles Grodin. Natalie Wood and Sally Field also auditioned for the role of Elaine but were turned down. Even Marilyn Monroe and Doris Day had also been slated to play Mrs. Robinson at different times.
The Graduate Original Soundtrack rose to the top of the charts in 1968 knocking off The Beatles' White Album and Hoffman earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as did Bancroft and Ross.
Along with the acting nominations, the film also received nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture. Mike Nichols won the Academy Award for Best Director. Check out the Graduate with your date and you are going to score some big points in the romance department.