Benjamin Braddock from The Graduate

19th June 2015

Why he’s more than just a two-dimensional “leading man”.

From Dustin Hoffman’s masterclass one of the assignments was to analyse the leading man, Benjamin Braddock, from the film The Graduate. Mike Nicholes, the director, made a bold decision casting Hoffman as the lead. Nicholes was then accused by the film industry of miscasting his leading man. At the time no one knew that the movie would become one of the most celebrated films and leading performances in history. I’ve written down ten ways Benjamin Braddock is more than just a two-dimensional “leading man” without unattractive qualities.

  1. Already from the beginning in the film it is clear that Benjamin Braddock is somewhat oblivious to his surroundings. He doesn’t engage in conversations and seems submissive.

  2. When he leads Mrs. Robinson to her home he becomes distressed and forgets his manners. Like any normal person.

  3. He bullshits himself. He avoids telling the truth because the truth is to painful to face.

  4. He’s like a child and is easily manipulated.

  5. He’s not a “leading role”. Frankly he’s more like a victim of his own delusional thoughts. For a long time his ego contradicts his desires.

  6. He’s always considering what other’s would think of him.

  7. He’s nosy.

  8. He makes promises he can’t keep, promising Mrs. Robinson not to date her daughter, Elaine Robinson.

  9. When Benjamin becomes madly in love with Elaine he goes beyond measures to win her back.

  10. In the end he recognises his mistakes.

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