At 50, “The Graduate” still has much to say about youth

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IN JANUARY 1967, Time announced that its “Man of the Year” for 1966 was not an individual, but the generation of “Twenty-five and under”: “Never have the young been so assertive or so articulate, so well educated or so worldly.” The cover featured a young man in a suit, attractive and confident, intelligent and ready to inherit the future. 

Then, in December 1967, Mike Nichols released “The Graduate”, a film adaptation of Charles Webb’s novel of 1963. Benjamin Braddock, the film’s unlikely hero, is neither assertive nor articulate, and it is precisely the future that worries him. Out of place in his parents’ suburban Los Angeles home after graduating on the east coast, he takes refuge in an affair with Mrs Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the wife of his father’s law partner, until he falls in love with her daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross). 

As it turns 50, “The Graduate” remains relevant in a world grappling with inter-generational conflict, where young people fight for a “new…Continue reading

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