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Carnal Knowledge (1971)

R | | Drama | 30 June 1971 (USA)
Chronicling the lifelong sexual development of two men who meet and befriend one another in college.

Director:

Mike Nichols

Writer:

Jules Feiffer
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Popularity
4,325 ( 582)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jack Nicholson ... Jonathan
Candice Bergen ... Susan
Art Garfunkel ... Sandy (as Arthur Garfunkel)
Ann-Margret ... Bobbie
Rita Moreno ... Louise
Cynthia O'Neal ... Cindy
Carol Kane ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 June 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Carnal Knowledge See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$28,623,900
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Embassy Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In his memoir, "Backing Into Forward", Jules Feiffer said Mike Nichols told him he was considering Jack Nicholson for the role of Jonathan. Feiffer went to see Easy Rider (1969) and thought the guy with the "hip Henry Fonda stance and twangy New Jersey drawl" had nothing in common with "the young Jewish misogynist" at the center of his script. Nichols told him: "Trust me, he's going to be our most important actor since Brando." 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. I wouldn't want to get hurt, though.
See more »

Connections

References Satan in High Heels (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Dream
(uncredited)
Written by Johnny Mercer
Performed by Frank Sinatra
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Naughty but good...
5 September 2005 | by JasparLamarCrabbSee all my reviews

Telling the sordid, often depressing story of two men and their sexual hangups over several decades, director Mike Nichols and writer Jules Fieffer concoct a thinking man's dirty movie. At times it's not easy to watch, but it's mostly entertaining and beautifully made. Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel are the men ---Nicholson is the callous, emotionally detached one, Garfunkel is the romantic. He marries college sweetheart Candice Bergen, while Nicholson shacks up with sexy Ann-Margret. The scenes with Nicholson and Ann-Margret are cringe-inducing. Nicholson, Garfunkel and Bergen are terrific and Nichol's clever casting of Ann-Margret, putting her sex kitten image through the blender, pays off in spades...she's the best thing in the movie. The supporting cast includes Carol Kane and Rita Moreno.


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