Carnal Knowledge

Synopsis: The concurrent sexual lives of best friends Jonathan and Sandy are presented, those lives which are affected by the sexual mores of the time and their own temperament, especially in relation to the respective women who end up in their lives. Their story begins in the late 1940s when they are roommates attending Amherst College together. Both virgins, they discuss the type of woman they would each like to end up with. Sandy, the more sensitive of the two, meets Susan at a mixer, she who he believes is going to be the one to who he will lose his virginity. Sandy goes through the process methodically, taking into account what he thinks Susan wants, but without much true passion or romance. Jonathan, the more sexually aggressive of the two, ends up losing his virginity first to "Myrtle", who ends up being a steady but hidden girlfriend. Based on what each knows of the other's relationship, both Jonathan and Sandy strive for a little more of what the other has. These relationships also set
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Mike Nichols
Production: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
98 min


( music playing )

Man #1:

If you had a choice...

Man #2:


...would you rather

love a girl,

or have her

love you?

I'd want it mutual.

If you couldn't

have it mutual.

Would I rather be

the one who loves,

or is loved?


It's not that

easy a question.

I think I'd rather

be in love.

Me, too.

I wouldn't want

to get hurt, though.

You were in love

with Gloria.

I was starting

to be in love with her,

then she let me feel her up

on the first date.

Turned me right off.

You kept going

with her, though.

Well, she let me

feel her up.

( both chuckling )

Yeah, what

about Gwen?

Her I could talk to.

I've never been able

to talk to any girl.

I was really getting

crazy about her.

She's stuck up.

Wouldn't let me

lay a hand on her.

So I went back

to Gloria.

Well, you want


What do you want,

wise guy?

She just has to

be nice, that's all.

You wouldn't

want her beautiful?

She doesn't have

to be beautiful.

I would like her

built, though.

I want mine


I wouldn't want her

to look like a tramp.

Sexy doesn't mean

she has to look

like a tramp.

There's a middle ground,

you know?

I would want

that, yeah.

Tall, very tall...

Eww, that

would scare me.

( both chuckling )

She should be very


Start the same

sentences together.

Yeah, I'd like that.

Big tits...

( both chuckling )

Yeah, but

still a virgin.

I don't care

about that.

Come on.

I wouldn't mind

if she was a little

ahead of me,

with those big tits,

and knew hundreds

of different ways.

I want more

of a companion.

The other stuff

I can get on

the outside.

The first time

I do it,

I want it beautiful.

I don't want to

waste it on some beast.

I feel the same way

about getting laid

as I feel about

going to college.

I'm being pressured

into it.

( whispered conversation )

You like that?


I give her to you.

What's wrong with her?

I'm a generous guy.

Yeah, I'm grateful.

How do I break

the news to her?

You go over there.


There's a way to talk

to girls, you know?

Tell her a joke.

What joke?

Tell her about

your unhappy childhood.

That's not bad.

But don't make it

like an act.


Go ahead.

Go ahead, schmuck.

If you don't, I will.


You can't even stand up.

I f***ed up.

It's my turn.

What do you mean,

it's your turn?

She's mine,

you gave her to me.

You struck out.

I get two more times

at bat.

This is

the first time

I've ever been to

a college mixer.

- Me too. I hate them.

- I hate them too.

It's such a phony way

of meeting people.


puts on an act.

So, even if you

meet somebody,

you don't know

who you're meeting.

'Cause you're

meeting the act.

That's right,

not the person.

I'm not sure

I agree.

- With what?

- With what you said.

No, I don't either.

You don't agree

with what you said?

How do you

feel about it?

I think people only

like to think they're

putting on an act,

but it's not an act,

it's really them.

If they think it's an act,

they feel better,

because they think

they can always change it.

You mean, they're

kidding themselves,

because it's not

really an act.

Yes, it is an act,

but they're the act.

The act is them.

But if it's them,

then how can it

be an act?

- Because they're an act.

- But they're also real.

- No.

- I'm not real?

- No.

- I'm an act.

It's all right,

I'm an act too.

Don't you behave

differently with

different people?


With your family?

I thought you meant

different people.

Well, sure,

with my family--

And with friends,

you're another way.

Well, sure,

with my friends.

And with your teachers,

you're still another way.

So which one is you?

Well, when you

put it that way...

You ought to be

a lawyer.

I'm gonna be

a lawyer.

A lady lawyer.

Um... you're from

Smith, right?


Do you like it?

Yeah, I like it

all right.

Do you like Amherst?


why shouldn't I?

My parents worked

very hard to send me.

I'd better like it.

Do you have a name

or something?


I'm Sandy.

I think you can

make out with her.

Think so?

She's stuff.

You think so?

I wouldn't kick her

out of bed.

I shouldn't try

somebody else, then?


( both laughing )

She was the best-looking

girl at the whole mixer.

I'll say that

for her...

Wasn't she?

Her tits were too small.

Yeah, I was

thinking that.

The hell with her.

But her legs were great.

You think so?

Standing so close,

I really couldn't

tell about her legs.

I wouldn't

kick her out of bed.

She's got some

funny ideas.

I wouldn't kick her

out of bed.

Don't rush me,


What's the matter?

I like you

very much, Susan.

It's our third date.

I like you too.

You let me

kiss you last week.

And this week.

If I could kiss you

once last week,

I should be able to

kiss you at least

twice tonight.

- Well?

- You're the only boy

I know that

I can talk to.

I can't see you

being quiet

for any guy.

No, not quiet,


But if you know

somebody's not going

to approve of

what you are...

- Whatever that is.

- Whatever that is.

Well, you just

don't tell him.

I mean, if I like

a boy and I want him

to keep liking me,

and I'm brighter

than he is,

I have to not show it

or I'll lose him,

so it's hard.

Well, I wouldn't want

anyone overly bright.

Yeah, but you wouldn't

feel threatened.

I might be bothered

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Jules Feiffer

Jules Ralph Feiffer (born January 26, 1929) is an American syndicated cartoonist and author, who was considered the most widely read satirist in the country. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 as America's leading editorial cartoonist, and in 2004 he was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame. He wrote the animated short Munro, which won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1961. The Library of Congress has recognized his "remarkable legacy", from 1946 to the present, as a cartoonist, playwright, screenwriter, adult and children's book author, illustrator, and art instructor.When Feiffer was 17 (in the mid-1940s) he became assistant to cartoonist Will Eisner. There he helped Eisner write and illustrate his comic strips, including The Spirit. He then became a staff cartoonist at The Village Voice beginning in 1956, where he produced the weekly comic strip titled Feiffer until 1997. His cartoons became nationally syndicated in 1959 and then appeared regularly in publications including the Los Angeles Times, the London Observer, The New Yorker, Playboy, Esquire, and The Nation. In 1997 he created the first op-ed page comic strip for the New York Times, which ran monthly until 2000. He has written more than 35 books, plays and screenplays. His first of many collections of satirical cartoons, Sick, Sick, Sick, was published in 1958, and his first novel, Harry, the Rat With Women, in 1963. He wrote The Great Comic Book Heroes in 1965: the first history of the comic-book superheroes of the late 1930s and early 1940s and a tribute to their creators. In 1979 Feiffer created his first graphic novel, Tantrum. By 1993 he began writing and illustrating books aimed at young readers, with several of them winning awards. Feiffer began writing for the theater and film in 1961, with plays including Little Murders (1967), Feiffer's People (1969), and Knock Knock (1976). He wrote the screenplay for Carnal Knowledge (1971), directed by Mike Nichols, and Popeye (1980), directed by Robert Altman. Besides writing, he is currently an instructor with the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Carnal Knowledge" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 Jun 2024. <>.

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