3. LOVE STORY (1970)

All right, we know, even the title of this film is mushy. But it lets you know exactly what you're in for: two people fall in love, they face challenges, they stay in love. And yet, Love Storybecame a huge hit, making more money than any other movie released in 1970. What's its secret?

First, it starred two young and beautiful people: Ryan O'Neal (as Oliver) and Ali MacGraw (as Jennifer) play students at Harvard and Radcliffe. Second, the two characters fight a lot throughout the movie, a la Tracy and Hepburn, so their relationship is more fun than saccharine. Finally, the movie doesn't pretend to be anything more than it is: a simple, modern love story, from beginning to end (so straightforward, even the title leaves nothing to the imagination). It also helped that it had a kick-ass tag line: "Love means never having to say you're sorry."

If you're looking for a movie filled with sweeping cinematography and subtle motives, go rent something else. Don't complain that it's too sentimental or too "girly." It's supposed to be that way, so get over it. Within the romantic flick genre, it's right there at the top. It struck such a chord with filmgoers that the movie and three of its stars were nominated for Oscars.

By the way, its musical score is also famous . . . after the movie came out, the song "Theme from Love Story" was so huge that lyrics were added in later to make it more song-like. You'll recognize it right away.


  • Nominated for 7 Academy Awards (including Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Actress)

  • Won 1 Academy Award: Best Score

  • Won 5 Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture and Actress

  • Author Erich Segal based the character of Oliver on a combination of Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones, who were roommates while students at Harvard

  • Ali MacGraw's knit stocking cap became a fashion craze (remember, this was the seventies)