In director Arthur Hiller's hit tearjerker -- based on Erich Segal's novella -- Ryan O'Neal plays Oliver Barrett IV, a comfortably off Harvard pre-law student who falls in love with Radcliffe music student Jenny Cavilleri (Ali MacGraw), a freewheeling, delightfully profane product of a blue-collar Italian-American family. Oliver's father (Ray Milland) heartily disapproves of the subsequent marriage and cuts off his son's allowance. Despite financial travails (the pampered Oliver actually has to go to work!), the couple is blissfully happy....until Jenny is diagnosed as having an unnamed disease that consigns her to an early death. The movie's tagline "Love means never having to say you're sorry" became an iconic American catchphrase, the film's theme a number one hit. One of the early products of Paramount guru Robert Evans, Love Story grossed more money than any Paramount production before it. This enormously successful film inspired a 1978 sequel, Oliver's Story.
by Hal Erickson synopsis