The graduate is learning Italian, but not the best of Dante.

Dustin Hoffman's appearance Thursday night in Rome at the annual San Remo Song Festival, a TV show that draws millions of spectators, proved to be a shocker when the American actor tried out some four-letter words and bathroom expressions.

The show on RAI state television depends on guest stars to boost the ratings amid the often mediocre music. Hoffman's dialogue caught the emcee by surprise and contrasted with the mood of what was to have been a sentimental reunion with Italian actress Stefania Sandrelli — their first meeting since appearing in a movie together in 1972.

"I would have liked to see if you would have spoken like that at the Oscars," emcee Simona Ventura told Hoffman.

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Hoffman sought to make amends, singing several verses of "Our Love is Here to Stay."

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