Forty-five years later, it’s hard to appreciate what a revolutionary film “The Graduate” was. Not just for its depiction of driftless youth and the sexual revolution, but that it starred a regular guy like Dustin Hoffman. As NY Times critic A.O. Scott said in 2009, casting Hoffman “helped redefine what kind of person could become a movie star.”

However, the movie could have been very different: Originally, the role of college graduate Ben Braddock was going to go to Robert Redford (Hoffman’s future “All the President’s Men” co-star), and Candice Bergen (who’d star in Nichols’ 1971 film “Carnal Knowledge”) was going to play Elaine. And what about Doris Day as Mrs. Robinson and Marlon Brando as Mr. Robinson? We can’t begin to picture that.

Scott argues that the film “never felt dated,” although Roger Ebert wrote in 1997 that its “time has passed.” Either way, it’s been a major influence on countless movies, from “Say Anything” to “Garden State.”

After its release on December 21, 1967, “The Graduate” would rack up seven Oscar nominations, including a Best Director win for Mike Nichols. It’s still ranked as Hoffman’s eighth highest-grossing film and is No. 21 on the all-time adjusted box office chart.

In honor of the classic, lets take a look back at the cast of “The Graduate.”

PHOTOS:

  • Dustin Hoffman (Ben Braddock)

  • Dustin Hoffman (Ben Braddock)

    The role put Hoffman on the map and earned him the first of his seven Academy Award nominations. He’d always considered himself a Hollywood outsider, as he said in his Best Actor acceptance speech for “Kramer vs. Kramer” in 1980. By 1989, when he won again for “Rain Man,” maybe he believed he’d finally made it. He’s worked steadily since the ’60s, playing anti-heros in “Midnight Cowboy” and “Straw Dogs,” a crusading reporter in “All the President’s Men” and a difficult actor (inspired by his own reputation) in “Tootsie.” (See our “<a href=”http://news.moviefone.com/2012/12/26/tootsie-movie-cast-where-are-they-now_n_2365797.html”>Where Are They Now</a>” for the 1982 comedy.) Most recently, he starred as Ben Stiller’s father in “Meet the Fockers” and an estranged dad in the bittersweet “Barney’s Version.”

  • Anne Bancroft (Mrs. Robinson)

    As the predatory Mrs. Robinson, Bancroft at one point says she’s “twice as old” as Ben, but in real life, the two actors were only six years apart. Bancroft had already won a Best Actress Oscar for her role in “The Miracle Worker” and her work as the quintessential older woman in “The Graduate” secured her a third nomination. She later starred in “The Turning Point” and “Agnes of God,” with supporting roles in “Point of No Return,” “Honeymoon in Vegas” (as Nicolas Cage’s controlling mother) and “Home for the Holidays.” She also co-starred with husband Mel Brooks in “To Be or Not to Be.” Sadly, she died in 2005 of uterine cancer.

  • Katharine Ross (Elaine Robinson)

  • Katharine Ross (Elaine Robinson)

    Her role as Elaine earned her an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe as “most promising female newcomer.” She went on to play Paul Newman’s love interest in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” She also starred in “The Stepford Wives” in 1975, “Madame Sousatzka,” TV’s “The Colbys,” and the “Graduate”- inspired “Secrets of a Mother and a Daughter,” in which she played the Mrs. Robinson-esque character. More recently, she portrayed Jake Gyllenhaal’s therapist in “Donnie Darko.”

  • William Daniels (Mr. Braddock)

  • William Daniels (Mr. Braddock)

    Although Daniels is only 10 years older than Hoffman, he was convincingly overbearing as his lawyer father. He went on to play (and sing!) as John Adams in the musical “1776.” His other credits include “The Parallax View,” “The Blue Lagoon” and “Reds,” but TV fans will know him best as the voice of K.I.T.T. on “Knight Rider,” Dr. Mark Craig on “St. Elsewhere” and George Feeny on “Boy Meets World.” This year, he had a guest arc on “Grey’s Anatomy” as Cristina Yang’s unlikely mentor, Dr.Thomas. The Emmy-winning actor has also served as the president of the Screen Actors Guild.

  • Murray Hamilton (Mr. Robinson)

    The character actor played Anne Bancroft’s clueless husband, who foolishly advises Ben to “sow a few wild oats. Have a good time with the girls.” Previously, he had supporting parts in “Anatomy of a Murder,” “The Hustler” and “The FBI Story.” After “The Graduate,” his most well-known role is probably the misguided mayor in “Jaws” who ignores Roy Scheider’s request to close the beaches. Hamilton died from cancer in 1986 at the age of 63. His final role was in “The Last Days of Patton,” starring opposite his friend, George C. Scott.

  • Elizabeth Wilson (Mrs. Braddock)

    <em>(Pictured left)</em>

  • Elizabeth Wilson (Mrs. Braddock)

    Wilson, now 91, made her Broadway debut in “Picnic” in 1953, then made her screen debut reprising her stage role in the 1955 film adaptation. Her other credits include “The Birds,” “Catch-22″ (also directed by Nichols), “Nine to Five” (as Dabney Coleman’s eavesdropping assistant, Roz ) and “Quiz Show” (as the mother of Ralph Fiennes’s character). Her latest movie, “Hyde Park on Hudson,” in which she plays Franklin Roosevelt’s mother, Sara Ann Delano Roosevelt, is currently in theaters.

  • Walter Brooke (Mr. Maguire)

    Brooke doesn’t have a big part in the film, but he does utter one immortal line: “Plastics,” his advice to young Ben about what he should be investing in. Brooke also had roles in “Tora! Tora! Tora!,” “Yours, Mine and Ours” and the 1977 comedy “Fun With Dick and Jane.” He also had recurring roles on “The Green Hornet,” “The Waltons” and “The Incredible Hulk.” His last film was the 1985 Glenn Close thriller “Jagged Edge.” Brooke died in 1986 at the age of 71.

  • Buck Henry (Hotel Clerk)

  • Buck Henry (Hotel Clerk)

    Henry is the hotel clerk who asks a nervous Ben “Are you here for an affair?” He also co-wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay. As an actor, he’s appeared in more than 40 films including “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” “Defending Your Life” and “Grumpy Old Men.” He co-directed “Heaven Can Wait” with Warren Beatty, in which he played an angel escort. His writing credits include “What’s Up, Doc?”, “Catch-22″ (again for Nichols) and “To Die For.” His reunion with Beatty for 2001′s “Town and Country” was unfortunately a flop. Most recently, he appeared on “Hot in Cleveland” and played Liz Lemon’s dad on “30 Rock.”

  • Norman Fell (Mr. McCleery)

    A decade before he became cranky Mr. Roper on “Three’s Company,” Fell was the suspicious guy who reluctantly rented a room to Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate.” Prior to that, he had roles in the original “Ocean’s 11″ and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” He worked with Mike Nichols again in “Catch-22,” in which he played Sergeant Towser. His most famous role, as Stanley Roper, earned him a Golden Globe and a spin-off, “The Ropers.” Fell died in 1998 from cancer, shortly after appearing again as Mr. Roper on an episode of “Ellen”

  • Mike Nichols, Director

  • Mike Nichols, Director

    “The Graduate” was Nichols’s second feature film, and his quasi-avant garde style earned him a Best Director Oscar. He is one of the select few with an EGOT: an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. After a successful run as a comedy duo with Elaine May, he became an in-demand theater director, then made his directorial film debut with “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” which won five out of 13 Oscar nominations. He went on to direct “Carnal Knowledge,” “Working Girl,” and the miniseries “Angels in America.” HIs most recent film was 2007′s “Charlie Wilson’s War.” In 2012, he returned to Broadway with “Death of a Salesman,” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.

  • Simon & Garfunkel

    We might not remember “The Graduate” so fondly without the wistful soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel, which included <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_jmDscGi7E”>the catchy “Mrs. Robinson.”</a> “The Sound of Silence,” used so effectively to convey Ben’s isolation, is just one of the songs on the chart-topping soundtrack that remains popular even with those who’ve never seen the film. The duo split in 1970 (although with frequent reunions): Paul Simon went on to an impressive solo career while Garfunkel dabbled in acting. In a clear homage, Zac Braff put their song “The Only Living Boy in New York” on the soundtrack to his “Graduate”-inspired film “Garden State.”


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