The popular success in 1967 of The Graduate was immediate and total; at the time, only Gone with the Wind and The Sound of Music were bigger box-office winners. Yet such phenomenal success came at a price: On the film's 40th anniversary, director Mike Nichols claimed that The Graduate had been "whipped away" by a young audience hungry for countercultural documents. This study, the first monograph on The Graduate, explores how popular and subsequent critical reception deflected a full understanding of the film's complex point of view, which satirizes everything in its path--especially Benjamin and Elaine, its young "heroes." The text explores how the film offers not the happy ending some imagine, but a corrosive and satirical vision of humanity. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.