7.0/10
9,210
69 user 33 critic

Carnal Knowledge (1971)

The concurrent sexual lives of best friends Jonathan and Sandy are presented, those lives which are affected by the sexual mores of the time and their own temperament, especially in ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Sandy (as Arthur Garfunkel)
...
...
Cynthia O'Neal ...
Cindy
...
Jennifer
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Storyline

The concurrent sexual lives of best friends Jonathan and Sandy are presented, those lives which are affected by the sexual mores of the time and their own temperament, especially in relation to the respective women who end up in their lives. Their story begins in the late 1940s when they are roommates attending Amherst College together. Both virgins, they discuss the type of woman they would each like to end up with. Sandy, the more sensitive of the two, meets Susan at a mixer, she who he believes is going to be the one to who he will lose his virginity. Sandy goes through the process methodically, taking into account what he thinks Susan wants, but without much true passion or romance. Jonathan, the more sexually aggressive of the two, ends up losing his virginity first to "Myrtle", who ends up being a steady but hidden girlfriend. Based on what each knows of the other's relationship, both Jonathan and Sandy strive for a little more of what the other has. These relationships also set... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The United States Supreme Court Has Ruled That "Carnal Knowledge" Is Not Obscene. See It Now!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 November 1971 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Conocimiento carnal  »

Box Office

Gross:

$28,623,900 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A theatre manager in Georgia was tried and convicted on obscenity-related charges for showing the film, due to its frank depictions of sex and nudity (especially by 1971) standards. But while the local court decision was upheld by Georgia's Supreme Court in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the conviction in 1974, ruling that "Carnal Knowledge" was not obscene and the law that was used to convict the manager was unconstitutional. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jonathan: If you had a choice...
Sandy: Yeah?
Jonathan: Would you rather love a girl, or have her love you?
Sandy: I want it mutual.
Jonathan: I mean if you couldn't have it mutual.
Sandy: You mean would I rather be the one who loves, or is loved?
Jonathan: Yeah.
Sandy: It's not that easy a question. But, I think I'd rather be in love.
Jonathan: Me too.
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Connections

Referenced in Spin City: Casino (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Moonlight Serenade
(uncredited)
Written by Glenn Miller
Performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
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User Reviews

 
It's Not A Kids' Movie
17 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's depressing to see what a low rating Carnal Knowledge gets. Jules Feiffer, the brilliant cartoonist, wrote an extraordinary script for this film. I loved the dialog so much I found the script on Alibris and read it immediately.

This is a dark movie. Not that it's violent or bloody, but its take on men vs. women relationships is bleak, blunt, and accurate. Jack Nicholson is charismatic and smart in his role, showing the misery at the heart of a cynic.

As others have written, it's not a kids' movie. It's not even a young adults' movie-- I was bored when I first saw it, at 21. It's an "adult movie" in the non-euphemistic sense of that phrase, an adult movie about the mortality of romance


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