"Can I ask you a question? Do you smile all the time?" Streisand to Redford .
Of course he smiled all the time. Wouldn't you if you were the number-one box office star of the year, with two hit movies in a row Jeremiah Johnson, The Sting and now The Way We Were? Make that three hit movies.
The pollsters' highest-ranking female star, Barbra Streisand, was cleverly paired opposite Robert Redford guy meets girl, joked some but it was a chemical combination that ought to have come with a warning label. Hormones stirred in theaters across the land as we watched these two actors, as odd a couple as ever there was, fall in love in this rather improbable story of a golden boy novelist-turned-Hollywood-screenwriter and the idealistic, socialistic, even Communistic object of his affections.
Newsweek cleverly dubbed the couple Miss Left and Mr. Right, then added: "This is one of a vanishing breed of movies in which the stars, by their very presence, alter the story. In a way, they are the story." This was pretty much the truth and provoked Time's reviewer to near rage: "This ill-written, wretchedly performed and tediously directed film does not actually have anything, on its mind except to bring together two hot properties in a period setting for which there is currently a lot of nostalgia." Despite less-than-kind reviews like these, word of mouth helped make The Way We Were a box office sensation.
Although Streisand doesn't sing in the picture, her recording of the title song became even more popular than the movie. It first appeared on the charts is November 1973, shortly after the release and by February, The Way We Were had steadily climbed to the number-one position, which it held for three weeks. It was also Barbra's first number-one hit. And for composer Marvin Harnlisch, the song brought him one of three Academy Awards he took home the night of the 1973 ceremony—one for The Sting and two for The Way We Were.
James Woods' first film (although not the first to be released).
Warren Beatty was originally offered for the role of Hubbell
Peter Bogdanovich turned down the chance to direct. He later regretted his decision.
Hubbell Gardner: You think you're easy? Compared to what, the Hundred Years' War?
GOOFS AND BLUNDERS
In California, Katie is holding a "hot" pot and offers it to Hubble. He takes the spoonful and notes that it is indeed hot. However, moments later, Katie is holding the bottom of the pot with her bare hands.
Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand star in a multi-year romantic drama that comes off as about as believable as a love affair between myself and a potted plant. Widely loathed for its sacharrine approach (and Streisand's acting), the shrill Ms. Babs is so unsympathetic as the local communist sympathiser that you can't help but be aghast in wonder over why Redford's character would possibly see anything in her. Of course, this film had a popular song come from it (see if you can guess what it was, Einstein), and a legion of Babs fans believe their goddess can do no wrong, so, for better or worse, The Way We Were is going to be with us as a 'classic' romance for some time to come. Reviewed by: Christopher Null of Film Critic.
"The Way We Were," is essentially just a love story, and not sturdy enough to carry the burden of both radical politics and a bittersweet ending. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times.
Despite the eviscerated politics, The Way We Were poignantly captures the insoluble dilemma of reconciling private desires with public awareness. Reviewed by: Lucia Bozzola, Rovi of The New York Times.