main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
YMMV: The Graduate
  • Adaptation Displacement: Yes, it is based on a novel. (By Charles Webb: his Ben is a good deal stronger than movie-Ben)
    • Ben in the book is a blond jock. No wonder they auditioned Robert Redford for the role, and no wonder Mel Brooks was confident Dustin Hoffman would fail his audition, and be available to work in The Producers.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The diving suit scene.
    • The diving suit scene was meant to link Ben to the little diver figure in his aquarium he was looking at earlier on. Notice that when he sinks to the bottom of the pool, he stops moving and just lays there stiffly.
    • There is also a bizarre moment when the camera stops focusing on Ben and zooms in on a gorilla in the background.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: So many. Especially the ending.
    • Ben's initial attempt to procure a room at the Taft Hotel is another prime example.
  • Designated Hero: Much of Ebert's re-review is about feeling 30 years later that there's absolutely nothing good or admirable about Ben.
  • Iconic Character, Forgotten Title: The Graduate has been referred to as "the Mrs. Robinson movie".
  • Jerkass Woobie: Mrs. Robinson, and to a certain extent Ben.
  • Memetic Mutation: [bangs on church window] ELAIIIIIIINE!
    • What about "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me, aren't you?"
      • "I am not trying to seduce you..." *
    • Don't forget: "Just one word: Plastics."
  • Misaimed Fandom: Kids from the 1960's cheered Ben. Twenty years later, they cheered for Mrs. Robinson, when they realized What an Idiot Ben was. (Roger Ebert notes this in his re-review ). A more modern perspective, and presumably closest to the original vision of the film, is that they're all messed up and not terribly likeable.
  • Moment Of Awesome: Ben fighting people off with a cross in the wedding scene. Dude, sweet.
    • Elaine's gutsy "Not for me!", after being slapped and told "It's too late!" by her mother in the same scene, is pretty cool too.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Sure, Ebert saw nothing admirable about Ben after 30 years, but Mrs. Robinson undeniably crosses the MEH by pulling Elaine out of college simply because Ben was getting too romantically attracted to her. Granted, she wanted to make sure the two were separated forever, but going so far as to deny her own daughter a college-level education, even in order to achieve such means? That just proves what vision the filmmakers were apparently going for (as mentioned under Misaimed Fandom above).
    • It's also possible she crossed it earlier when she hijacks Ben's car after his date with Elaine and threatens to lie to Elaine about him if he ever sees Elaine again. When he doubts that she'd go to such lengths? "Then you'd better start believing me."
    • She won't stop at False Rape Accusation, either; later in the movie, when Ben stops by looking for Elaine, she SWATs her own house purely as an intimidation tactic.
  • Most Annoying Sound: Elaine's screaming, particularly in the argument at the boarding house, where her screaming "OKAY!" sounds like it nearly took out one of the boom mikes.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Look closely at the boarding house resident who offers to get the cops after Elaine screams. It's a very young Richard Dreyfuss.
    • Not to mention the realization that William Daniels played Ben's father, at least for those who grew up watching him as Mr. Feeny or KITT first.
    • A young Mike Farrell (aka B.J. Hunnicutt) can be briefly glimpsed as one of the hotel staff greeting "Mr. Gladstone" when Ben takes Elaine there for a drink.
    • Both Aunt Clara and Esmerelda are on the receiving line for the Singleman party at the hotel.
    • Mr. Roper is Ben's landlord in Berkeley.
    • Elaine May can be seen bringing the "Dear John" Letter from Elaine to Benjamin.
  • Strawman Has a Point: The film is much like Mike Nichols' films - they're more subversive that they seem to be at the time. For example, the advice "Plastics"? It's good advice.
    • The part about plastics was unintentional - shortly after the movie was released, new advances in plastics production (that the script writers were highly unlikely to know about) caused the industry to grow at an extremely rapid pace. The fortuitous timing did result in the entire plastics industry becoming a Periphery Demographic.

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy