7.0/10
9,516
69 user 34 critic

Carnal Knowledge (1971)

Chronicling the lifelong sexual development of two men who meet and befriend one another in college.

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Jonathan
... Bobbie
... Sandy (as Arthur Garfunkel)
... Susan
... Louise
... 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  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$28,623,900
See more on IMDbPro »

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

Feiffer also reports that Nichols told him he didn't think he could shoot the Jonathan and Bobbie fight scene. It was too ugly and repellent for an audience to stomach, and Nichols was afraid viewers would recoil from Jonathan, and never get back into the movie. Terrified because it was "perhaps my favorite piece of writing in the movie", and "I believed it to be essential", Feiffer also knew better than to try to defend it, and only Nichols could convince himself. After talking through it over for most of the evening, Nichols finally said, "No, I guess we have to shoot it, because that's what would happen." Only then, did Feiffer realize how shaken he had been about the possibility of the scene getting cut. 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 Indie Sex: Teens (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

A String of Pearls
(uncredited)
Written by Jerry Gray and Edgar De Lange
Performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
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User Reviews

 
It's Not A Kids' Movie
17 August 2005 | by 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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