Year of release: 1967.
The car: Alfa Spider MkI.
Why it’s special: The movie evokes a pitch-perfect sense of place and time, and the Alfa resonates perfectly with that. A stylish but slightly gauche ‘red sports car’, it’s precisely what a rich 21-year-old graduate like Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) would drive, courtesy of his folks, obviously.
Best bit: Benjamin’s drive across San Francisco’s Bay Bridge – a study in freedom, escapism and the idea of the car as a sex object. All this hauntingly overlaid with the slightly eerie Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack which was, like the car, so crucial to the film. Later the car stars again, unsurprisingly breaking down (okay, running out of gas) at the crucial moment as Benjamin’s racing to the church to stop Katherine Ross’s wedding. Like many Alfa owners, he has to run the rest of the way.
Pub fact: Benjamin was driving the wrong way across the bridge! He was supposed to be heading eastbound to Berkeley, California, but he’s on the upper level, which means he’s heading west.
Plot overview: Recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock is trapped into an affair with Mrs Robinson, who happens to be the wife of his father’s business partner and then finds himself falling in love with her teenage daughter, Elaine.
For: ‘Mrs Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.’
Against: It’s painfully sedate.
CAR verdict: What we tend to forget is that it’s really, really funny.
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