Writers: Calder Willingham & Buck Henry
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross
"Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me, aren't you?" Forty years ago, the term "cougar" wasn't applied to people; if you were a guy, sleeping with a woman your parents' age was considered just plain odd, and probably inappropriate. These days, times are different, yet Nichols's sophomore work still outshines most of the competition. This film (the breakout role for Hoffman) details the postgraduate summer of a young man, seduced by a friend of his parents, who subsequently falls in love with that woman's daughter.
The cinematography is picturesque, all the actors perform incredibly (especially the 30-year-old Hoffman playing an awkward 20-year-old), and the soundtrack...well, it's all Simon and Garfunkel, which works pretty well for a late 60s film, but some people don't get into it for whatever reason.
One of my favorite things about this movie is the following anecdote, as told by Nichols in the commentary: one scene has Hoffman's character in a church, banging on a glass window, arms outstretched. Many critics at the time of the film's release said this was Nichols's deliberate choice to depict the character as a Christ figure. According to Nichols, the minister was worried that Hoffman would break the fragile window. I've always disliked people saying that this is a metaphor, or that's symbolic of something, and The Graduate is a great counterpoint to those sort of people.