The Graduate script
The Graduate (1967)
Synopsis: The Graduate is a 1967 American comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols. It is based on the 1963 novel The Graduate by Charles Webb, who wrote it shortly after graduating from Williams College. The screenplay is by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, who appears in the film as a hotel clerk.

EXT. AMPHITHEATRE - DAY

SHOT - HELICOPTER'S POV -

Moving through clouds. The clouds separate and, far below, we can

see a giant outdoor amphitheatre. There is no SOUND but the WIND.

As we move closer to the amphitheatre, we can hear SNATCHES OF WORDS

and PHRASES as though from a public address system.

2EXT. AMPHITHEATRE - PODIUM - DAY - SHOT OF BEN

in cap and gown, standing in front of a microphone. The WIND is

BLOWING. He has to hold on to the papers from which he is reading.

3EXT. AMPHITHEATRE - SHOT OF AUDIENCE - DAY

Thousands of expressionless STUDENTS are sitting there.

4EXT. AMPHITHEATRE - SHOT OF PODIUM - DAY

BEN:

- and today it is right that we

should ask ourselves the one most

important question: What is the

purpose of these years, the purpose

for all this demanding work,

the purpose for the sacrifices

made those who love us? Were

there NOT a purpose, then all of

these past years of struggle, of

fierce competition and of uncom-

promising ambition would be mean-

ingless. But, of course, there

is a purpose and I must tell it

to you. I ask you to remember

this purpose always and I pledge

that I shall endeavor to carry it

with me forever.

5SHOT - AMPHITHEATRE AUDIENCE - DAY

staring at him impassively.

6INTERCUT BETWEEN SHOTS

of impassive students, seated, watching; of Ben standing

alone on the huge amphitheatre stage; of CLOSEUPS of Ben

speaking; of loudspeakers; of wind-blown papers on the

podium.

7EXT. PODIUM OF AMPHITHEATRE - DAY

BEN:

(continuing)

The purpose, my fellow graduates -

the purpose is -

He stops, trying to think of the word.

8CLOSEUP - BEN

He begins to sweat.

9SHOT - AMPHITHEATRE AUDIENCE

watching.

10SHOT - PODIUM of AMPHITHEATRE

Ben's hands searching through the pages of his speech.

The pages begin to blow away in the wind.

11SHOT - AMPHITHEATRE AUDIENCE - DAY

staring.

12SHOT - PODIUM OF AMPHITHEATRE - DAY

BEN:

- there is a reason, my friends,

and the reason is -

13CLOSEUP - BEN

He is in a panic. He looks up from his papers at the audience.

14SHOT - AMPHITHEATRE - DAY

The audience is gone.

15SHOT - PODIUM OF AMPHITHEATRE - DAY

BEN:

- the reason is - the purpose is -

SOUND of the WIND becoming the ROAR of an AIRCRAFT coming at

us through the air.

16SHOT - AMPHITHEATRE - DAY

Huge and empty. SOUND of AIRCRAFT.

CAPTAIN'S VOICE

Ladies and gentlemen, we are about

to begin our descent into Los Angeles -

SOUND of a SONIC BOOM.

CUT TO:

17INT. PLANE - CLOSEUP - BEN - NIGHT

His eyes open suddenly.

CAPTAIN'S VOICE

The sound you have just heard is the

landing gear locking into place. The

Los Angeles weather is clear and the

temperature is a pleasant 72. We do

not expect any traffic delay and will

make our four hour and eighteen minute

flight plan smack on the nose. We

enjoyed having you on board and look

forward to seeing you again in the near

future.

18SHOT

PULL BACK SLOWLY from a CLOSEUP of a television screen with

snow on it to reveal a long row of television sets along the

ceiling of the aircraft. There is snow on all of them.

19REVERSE ANGLE

PULL BACK from the CLOSEUP of Ben to reveal a row of passengers

staring straight ahead, their headsets on. Ben turns and

looks out the window.

20EXT. LOS ANGELES - FROM THE AIR - NIGHT

Los Angeles, at night, its lights stretching endlessly in every

direction.

SOUND - MUZAC and the STEWARDESS' LANDING SPEECH.

START OF MAIN TITLES

UNDER titles:

STEWARDESS' VOICE

Ladies and gentlemen please fasten your

seat belts in preparation for the landing

and observe the no smoking sign. After

we land, you will notice an increase in

the sound level as the thrust of the engines

is reversed to help reduce forward speed.

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Calder Willingham

Calder Baynard Willingham, Jr. (December 23, 1922 – February 19, 1995) was an American novelist and screenwriter. Before the age of thirty, after just three novels and a collection of short stories, The New Yorker was already describing Willingham as having “fathered modern black comedy,” his signature a dry, straight-faced humor, made funnier by its concealed comic intent. His work matured over six more novels, including Eternal Fire (1963), which Newsweek said “deserves a place among the dozen or so novels that must be mentioned if one is to speak of greatness in American fiction.” He had a significant career in cinema, too, with screenplay credits that include Paths of Glory (1957), The Graduate (1967) and Little Big Man (1970). more…

All Calder Willingham scripts | Calder Willingham Books

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"The Graduate" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 13 Dec. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/the_graduate_864>.

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