27. The Graduate (1967)
This is yet another film that crushes an idealistic time in a person's life with the harsh reality of a world filled with amoral and apathetic people who use each other for status and symbolism. Based on the novel by Charles Webb, it tells the story of recent college graduate, Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman in a fantastic screen debut), who is seduced into a love affair with his father's business partner's wife, Mrs. Robinson (played by the brilliant Anne Bancroft). When his mother sets him up on a date with Elaine, the Robinsons' beautiful young daughter, he begins a triangle that could shatter the lives of everyone around him. Directed by the phenomenal Mike Nichols, Hoffman and Bancroft play off each other so extremely well. Their affair sequences are well constructed especially in displaying the awkwardness of the situation. The supporting cast is fine especially Katherine Ross, who shines in the role of Elaine. The ensemble includes great character actors like Murray Hamilton, William Daniels, Elizabeth Wilson and Norman Fell. The film superbly symbolizes the angst and yearning for something new that the "flower generation" provided to society. It is helped by the hauntingly charming songs by Simon and Garfunkel that provide background to the movie (like "The Sounds of Silence" and the delightful tune "Mrs. Robinson"). It is a great film that has topped many people's lists (including my father's).
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