Love Story (1970)
June 5, 2024 4:53 PM - Subscribe

A young man and a young woman from different backgrounds fall in love despite their upbringing—and then tragedy strikes.

Love Story is a 1970 American romantic drama film written by Erich Segal, who was also the author of the best-selling 1970 novel of the same name. It was produced by Howard G. Minsky and directed by Arthur Hiller, and starred Ali MacGraw, Ryan O'Neal, John Marley, and Ray Milland. It was also Tommy Lee Jones's film debut.

The film is considered one of the most romantic by the American Film Institute (No. 9 on the list) and is one of the highest-grossing films of all time adjusted for inflation. It was followed by a sequel, Oliver's Story (1978), starring O'Neal with Candice Bergen.
[from Wikipedia]

I stumbled on this on Kanopy the other day and thought since I hadn't seen it in decades, I should see how it held up. It's deeply late '60s/'70s, but was surprisingly watchable, I thought, despite the "woman dies so lead can have manpain." Even the "Love means never having to say you're sorry" famous line felt fairly natural, and you can really see why they chose Ali MacGraw for the part and why she became an instant sensation. And the theme song definitely will stick in your brain.
posted by kitten kaboodle (5 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
As someone with an incurable cancer, I honestly found this hilarious (because most of my treatments don't cause the common things like hair loss), also from the Wikipedia article:

Jenny Cavilleri's disease being unspecified and her relatively good looks during the onset of her illness was met was criticism for its implausibility. Vincent Canby wrote in his original New York Times review that it was "as if Jenny was suffering from some vaguely unpleasant Elizabeth Arden treatment." Mad magazine ran a parody of the film ("Lover's Story") in its October 1971 issue, which depicted Ali MacGraw's character as stricken with "Old Movie Disease," an ailment that causes a dying patient to become "more beautiful by the minute." In 1997, Roger Ebert defined "Ali MacGraw's Disease" as a movie illness in which "the only symptom is that the patient grows more beautiful until finally dying."
posted by kitten kaboodle at 5:00 PM on June 5 [7 favorites]

I'll forgive this movie all its faults if only because of the ending of What's Up, Doc?
posted by Naberius at 5:56 PM on June 5 [7 favorites]

My notional Hollywood movie elevator plays The Girl from Ipanema on the way up and Henry Mancini's Theme from Love Story on the way down.
posted by rongorongo at 2:52 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]

My mother loved this movie - I was probably 7 or 8 when it was on network TV, or we saw it at the drive-in, and all I remember is Macgraw calling someone "preppy" over and over and over again, and it struck me as annoying and terrible. I don't know that I'll ever be able to watch it or anything with Macgraw without a very inherent early emotional bias from the tone and way she said that word.
posted by jkosmicki at 10:16 AM on June 7

Supposedly Erich Segal wrote this as a screenplay initially and was turned down by every studio. After he adapted his script into a book and the book became a hit, Hollywood came calling on him. His condition for the film rights was that he be allowed to write the script.

There was a bidding war, Paramount won, and supposedly Segal pulled the script out immediately and said something to the effect of "Now pay me."

This is probably apocryphal and does not match up entirely with the info in the Wikipedia article, but I really like this story and am choosing to believe it anyway.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:49 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]

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