Film Club

Conversations on Essential Cinema: The Graduate

July 20, 2020

“I wasn’t a film buff or anything, but I was so blown away by the power of this love story. It was probably being young, heartbroken, but wow – the film had such hope to it.” – William Fichtner on The Graduate in The Guardian.

The Oscar-winning classic stars Dustin Hoffman in his breakout role as a college graduate who, in the midst of struggling to find his purpose and direction, has an affair with an older woman (Anne Bancroft). The film captures the confusion and uncertainty that characterized the youth of the 1960s, expressing the dark side of the counterculture movement. What do we “graduate to” when the foundations and mores of society are as superficial as “plastic”? The Graduate is a testament to the fear all generations share of getting older. It is a film rich enough to define the social upheavals of the ’60s and still matter today.

On July 20, 2020, FOLCS was joined by actor William Fichtner (Contact with Jodie Foster; The Perfect Storm with George Clooney; Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down; CBS’ Mom), for a conversation.

This event was produced in partnership with the New York Film Academy (NYFA).

Watch Conversations on Essential Cinema: The Graduate here.

See more from FOLCS here.

William Fichtner

Having appeared in a wide range of films along with television and theater roles over the course of his career, William Fichtner continues to carve out a distinctive reputation as one of our most versatile and talented actors, whether in comedy or drama, action or character study. He is one of Hollywood’s most distinct and familiar faces.

Fichtner recently completed filming The Birthday Cake, co-starring Ewan McGregor and Val Kilmer; The Space Between, opposite Kelsey Grammer and directed by Rachel Winter, and Jack & Josie directed by Sarah Lancaster. Recent films include Armed, written and directed by Mario Van Peebles; All The Devils Men with Matthew Hope directing; Finding Steve McQueen with Forest Whitaker, and opposite Jeffery Wright in the indie feature O.G. directed by Madeleine Sackler that premiered on HBO. Fichtner also starred alongside Jon Voight in the indie feature American Wrestler: The Wizard; Krystal directed by William H. Macy, and produced and starred in the indie feature The Neighbor.

Pivoting to the other side of the camera, Fichtner directed, produced, co-wrote, and starred in his feature film Cold Brook shot mostly in his hometown of Buffalo, New York.

Segueing between television and feature films, Fichtner led an ensemble cast in the original first 2 seasons of the international crime series Crossing Lines. He recurred on HBO’s Entourage from 2009-2011 and played ‘FBI Agent Alexander Mahone’ for three seasons on Fox’s hit drama series, Prison Break. He is currently a series regular on CBS’s hit show Mom opposite Allison Janney, from creator Chuck Lorre.

Other feature films include 12 Strong for producer Jerry Bruckheimer; Independence Day: Resurgence directed by Roland Emmerich; Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; director Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger and Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium. He also co-starred in writer-director Paul Haggis’ Academy Award-winning Crash. For his performance in that film, he shared a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast in a Feature Film. Other film credits include Drive Angry for director Patrick Lussier; Shawn Levy’s Date Night; Blades of Glory with Will Ferrell; Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight; the remake of The Longest Yard; the comedy The Amateurs with Jeff Bridges; Rodrigo Garcia’s Nine Lives; Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down; What’s The Worst That Could Happen; Wolfgang Peterson’s The Perfect Storm; Drowning Mona; Ultraviolet and Equilibrium, both for writer-director Kurt Wimmer; Armageddon directed by Michael Bay; Michael Mann’s Heat; Robert Zemeckis’ Contact; Doug Liman’s Go; Strange Days directed by Katherine Bigelow; Passion of Mind; Steven Soderbergh’s The Underneath; Agnieszka Holland’s Julie Walking Home and The Settlement with John C. Reilly, among many others.

As a member of the Circle Repertory Theatre, Fichtner won critical acclaim for his role in The Fiery Furnace, directed by Norman Rene. Other stage credits include Raft of the Medusa at the Minetta Lane Theatre, The Years at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Clothes for a Summer Hotel at the Williamstown Theatre festival and Machinal at The Public Theatre.