Love Story (1970): Making of Popular Romance

Arthur Hiller directed Love Story (1970), his best known work and most successful at the box-office, for which was nominated for his first and only Best Director Oscar.

The film stars Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw in a romantic tragedy, and it was nominated for 7 Academy Awards including Best Director. The American Film Institute ranks it No. 9 in their list of the greatest love stories.

Roger Ebert disagreed with some critics who felt the story was too contrived: “Why shouldn’t we get a little misty during a story about young lovers separated by death? Hiller earns our emotional response because of the way he’s directed the movie […] The movie is mostly about life, however, not death. And because Hiller makes the lovers into individuals, of course we’re moved by the film’s conclusion. Why not?”

Ali MacGraw later recalled the process of making Love Story: “All I knew at first was that I liked him and respected him, and then I grew to adore him. Whatever Arthur asked of me, I did to the best of my ability. And I was blessed to be in such safe hands. Every piece of that experience was protected. He wasn’t casual about his work in any way—you knew exactly what he wanted you to do. He was meticulous–