The Graduate

Plastics? A bunch of Hollywood A-listers missed the boat by not investing in this film instead, which grossed $105 million on a $3 million budget (a 3400% return): Doris Day, Patricia Neal, Faye Dunaway, and Shirley MacLaine all turned down opportunities to play either Mrs. Robinson or her daughter Elaine (Natalie Wood turned down both!). Dustin Hoffman, who was directing community theater in Fargo, North Dakota before taking the role as Ben Braddock, clearly made better decisions than all of them, becoming an icon along with Paul Simon and the Alfa Romeo Spider.

Director: Mike Nichols

Screenplay by: Buck Henry, Calder Willingham

Starring: Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross

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