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Film / Graduation

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Graduation is a 2007 American coming-of-age drama film starring Chris Lowell, Shannon Lucio, Chris Marquette and Riley Smith released theatrically in May 2008.

A group of high school friends from suburban Pittsburgh—Carl, Polly, Chauncey and Jackson-—are about to graduate. Polly and Chauncey are dating, Carl needs a date to prom and Jackson doesn't seem to know what to do with his life. When Carl's mom becomes ill and needs $100,000 for surgery, Polly comes up with a plan: rob her dad's bank. The plan seems foolproof, and graduation is the perfect alibi; all the kids need to do is steal the keys to the bank's vault. However, things get complicated when Carl falls in love with a bank teller named Suzi and Polly falls in love with Jackson. Through it all—including an unforeseen hostage crisis—the friends learn a lot about themselves.


  • Air-Vent Passageway: Carl and Chauncey crawl through the air vents to spray paint the cameras covering the lobby of the bank.
  • And the Adventure Continues: At the end of the film, Jackson is shown pursuing his new career in bank robbery after the other three go off to college.
  • Asleep in Class: Carl is asleep in biology class when the teacher calls on him.
  • Bound and Gagged: In the final scene, Jackson has the bank manager Bound and Gagged under the counter as he robs another bank.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The safe deposit box Carl gets when he opens an account at the bank: Jackson hides the stolen cash in it, allowing Carl to walk in after the robbery, open his safe deposit box, and walk out with the cash.
  • Coming of Age Story: Four best friends, about to graduate from high school, must find a way to raise money to help a family member in need. When one of them discovers her banker father having an affair, the foursome plots to rob his bank during graduation ceremonies. When things don't go according to plan, they end up learning more about themselves in one day than they ever did in school.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Jackson's primary motivation is that he has no idea what he wants to do once he graduates high school; unlike his friends. At the end of the movie, he has discovered a career to pursue: robbing banks.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: When Carl comes back to the bank to return the keys to Polly, he gets distracted by Suzie at the front counter and stops to flirt with her: oblivious to Polly frantically gesturing to him from her father's office.
  • Fakeout Escape: Jackson smashes a hole in the bank's floor in to drainage tunnel underneath, and throws the gun down there, to make it look like the robber escaped that way, while he and Chauncey pose as hostages and are rescued by the police.
  • Healthcare Motivation: Carl needs to raise $100,000 to pay for a bone marrow transplant to treat his mother's cancer. After discovering her father is having an affair with one of his staff, Polly suggests that they rob the bank he manages: stealing old currency that scheduled for destruction. Along with their best friends Jackson and Chauncey, they plot to rob the bank during their high school graduation.
  • The Heist: Four best friends plot to rob a bank during their high school graduation ceremony in order to help out one of the teen's sick relatives.
  • Hostage Situation: After the plan comes unstuck, and Carl gets shot by Chauncey, Jackson fakes a hostage situation to buy time and allow him to smuggle Carl and Suzie out of the bank under the guise of pretending to release hostages.
  • How We Got Here: The film starts with Jackson in the bank with a blood trail on the floor and a gun in his hand in the middle of a Hostage Situation, with his voice-over telling the audience this is why he is not at his graduation. The film then goes back to explain how he ended up in this situation.
  • Money to Burn: Jackson sets sets fire to cash awaiting destruction in the vault as part of his escape. It both covers the amount of money stolen, and sets off the alarms and sprinklers.
  • One-Word Title
  • Vehicular Sabotage: To stop Barbara getting to the bank on the morning of the robbery, the teens sabotage the steering on her car, causing her to drive into a tree.