7.0/10
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69 user 37 critic

Carnal Knowledge (1971)

R | | Drama | 16 September 1971 (UK)
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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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jack Nicholson ... Jonathan
Ann-Margret ... Bobbie
Art Garfunkel ... Sandy (as Arthur Garfunkel)
Candice Bergen ... Susan
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:

16 September 1971 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Conocimiento carnal 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

One of Jack Nicholson's lines in the film is believed to be the first occurrence of the word "cunt" in dialogue in cinema. It appeared in writing in Bronco Bullfrog (1970). 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.
See more »

Connections

References National Velvet (1944) See more »

Soundtracks

Moonlight Serenade
(uncredited)
Written by Glenn Miller
Performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
See more »

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User Reviews

You hang on every word of this lively, honest script by cartoonist Jules Feiffer.
29 July 2004 | by Ben_CheshireSee all my reviews

Its a wry, often funny, often sombre drama about the sex lives of two college roommates, Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel (who's actually fine in this - much better than in Catch-22) - at college, and in middle age.

There are really very few movies where the dialogue seems so true and searching, yet funny, that you hang on every word. I can only think of a few - and this is one of them.

It is episodic, and may be broken into two halves - intentionally, importantly. The heart of the story is in the comparison of the first half and the second: how the two men have or have not changed. If you consider this is the purpose of the film, the two halves are not perfect - but nevertheless a fascinating film.

Bitterness, nostalgia and melancholy run through this character comedy from the 70's. Its a frank, confronting (depending on the viewer) laying bare of sex. Though there is very little actual sex in the film, this one is definitely only for adults. A penetrating character study, and a richly worded film filled with wit, irony and character penetration by cartoonist Jules Feiffer.

9/10. Not perfect, but absolutely must-see.


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