'The Graduate' turns 50: Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
Mike Nichols' The Graduate was released 50 years ago.
By STEVE IERVOLINO
December 22, 2017, 3:35 PM
• 5 min read
-- A small film featuring an unknown star, based on an obscure book, and helmed by a newbie director, became a counterculture classic following its release 50 years ago today: Mike Nichols' "The Graduate."
Based on the book by Charles Webb, the movie featured a then-unknown New York stage actor named Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate seduced by his girlfriend's mother.
In the book, Benjamin was supposed to be more of a Robert Redford type, and in fact, Redford wanted the role.
Nichols, who died in 2014, recalled in a 2008 Vanity Fair interview, that he told Redford he couldn't have the part because he felt Redford could "never play a loser."
"I said, 'OK, have you ever struck out with a girl?' and [Redford] said, 'What do you mean?'" Nichols said. "And he wasn’t joking."
Though the late Anne Bancroft was just six years older than Hoffman in real life, she was made to appear decades older. Her character of Mrs. Robinson, of course, inspired the Simon and Garfunkel hit of the same name. It was one of five songs by the duo on the film's soundtrack.
"The Graduate" went on to rack up a slew of honors, including Oscar nominations for best picture along with nods for Bancroft, who was already an Oscar winner for "The Miracle Worker," and Hoffman. The two actors did win Golden Globe Awards.
Earlier this year, Hoffman, now 80, was accused of decades-old inappropriate behavior toward women.
"I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation," his statement read. "I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am."