Love Story was released in theaters in 1970 and is considered one of the most romantic films of all time by the American Film Institute

By Alexia Fernández
December 01, 2020 02:37 PM
Ryan O'Neal And Ali MacGraw In 'Love Story,' 1970
Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw in Love Story
| Credit: Paramount Pictures/Courtesy of Getty

Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw are reminiscing about their iconic romance Love Story, 50 years after its debut in theaters.

The pair reunited for a feature in Town & Country's December/January issue in which they recalled the making of the film and its lasting impact on audiences.

"It's been a fast 50," O'Neal, 79, told the magazine before joking, "I don't have those relationships with my wives!"

Love Story follows the story of a boy and girl from different backgrounds who fall in love. Despite their attempts to make their relationship work, tragedy strikes the couple.

The film was directed by Erich Segal, who also wrote the book it was based on. Segal had attended Wellesley College with MacGraw, 81, and the two appeared together in a college production of All's Well That Ends Well.

Despite having known Segal, MacGraw says reading Love Story caught her off guard. "I cried and I thought I was crazy," she says.

Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal on Love Story at 50
Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal
| Credit: Lee Morgan

The film had a heavy impact on its stars, with O'Neal saying he was overwhelmed by MacGraw's performance of her character's death.

"It all caught fire for me there," he says. "She put her arm around my head, my hair. I just couldn't stop crying. I loved her. I knew this would soon be over."

The movie has lived on, with Harvard screening the film annually for its freshman students.

"It's a little bit like Rocky Horror, where they scream, 'Love means never having to say you're sorry!' at the screen," says MacGraw, although she thinks differently of that sentiment.

"It doesn't mean anything," she says of her famous line. "I've learned that we can make terrible mistakes with people we love. Try not to do it again — and try to clean up the hurt. It's the truth."