With the line: "Love means never having to say you're sorry”, voted as the #13 all-time movie quote by the American Film Institute, Love Story conquered the world and made even President Nixon weep like a baby. With its five Golden Globes awards out of seven nominations, Arthur Hiller's film marked a change of pace in the drama section, dominated in the previous years by sumptuous historical dramas. This was a contemporary, simple, boy meets girl love story with a sad twist at the end, and photogenic Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal made the best of it.
McGraw won for Best Actress – Drama, and was half-way through a Globes trifecta: in 1970 she won as Most Promising Newcomer with Goodbye, Columbus, in 1971 she was Best Actress for Love Story, and in 1972 she received the Henrietta Award as World Film Favorite. O'Neal, nominated for Best Actor, didn't win the Globe, because George C. Scott, proved unbeatable in Patton. For O'Neal this was his first of two Globe nominations of his career, the second for Paper Moon (1973). For Love Story Hiller won for Best Direction, while composer Francis Lai won the Globe for his famous score.
The 28th Golden Globe Awards were held on February 5, 1971, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, which has since become the permanent venue for the Golden Globe Awards ceremony.
Screenwriter Erich Segal also won the Globe for Best Original Screenplay: he adapted the script from his own best-selling novel. Though the novel preceded the film, Segal’s success was thought to have triggered the films' “novelization” mania.
Love Story was a huge international blockbuster: filmed with a limited budget of just over $2 million, it grossed $106 million in the U.S. alone, in first run, and $135 million worldwide. Two years later it was aired by ABC, getting the highest rating of all time for a movie broadcast. It was followed by a sequel – Oliver's Story (1978), starring O'Neal with Candice Bergen. The film also spawned a trove of imitations, parodies, and homages in countless films, having re-energized melodrama on the silver screen as well as helping to set the template for the modern "chick flick".
McGraw, accepting her Golden Globe Award, said: “I didn't expect this success. All of a sudden people all over recognize me, and I'm learning that surviving stardom depends on doing the good work. I'll do everything so I can say to have deserved this award.”