The Main Event (1979 film)

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The Main Event
Main eventposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHoward Zieff
Produced byRenee Missel
Howard Rosenman
Written byGail Parent
Andrew Smith
StarringBarbra Streisand
Ryan O'Neal
Music byMichael Melvoin
CinematographyMario Tosi
Edited byEdward Warschilka
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • June 22, 1979 (1979-06-22)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$8 million
Box office$42,800,000[1]

The Main Event is a 1979 American sports romantic comedy film starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal, written by Gail Parent and directed by Howard Zieff.

The film received negative reviews from critics, but was among the top 20 highest grossing films of the year at the box office. It was also the impetus for Barbra Streisand's first foray into disco,[citation needed] singing the Golden Globe-nominated theme song written by Paul Jabara and Bruce Roberts.


Perfume magnate Hillary Kramer (Streisand) loses her company and is financially ruined when her accountant embezzles from her and flees to South America. Among her few remaining assets she finds a management contract with an inactive boxer, purchased as a tax write off. She decides to force Eddie "Kid Natural" Scanlon (Ryan O'Neal), who is now a driving instructor, back into the ring to recover her losses. Eddie thinks this will only get him killed and resists.

As Eddie's unconventional comeback progresses, he finds himself drawn into conflict and romance with his unlikely manager.

Main cast[edit]


The film was originally offered to Ryan O'Neal when Goldie Hawn was going to star. Then the producers proposed Diana Ross to appear in the lead, but O'Neal refused.[2]

Box office[edit]

Although critically panned, with the film holding a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on eight reviews,[3] The Main Event was a box office success. The film grossed $42.8 million on a budget of $8 million. It was the 16th highest-grossing film of 1979.

Awards and honors[edit]

Golden Globe Awards
People's Choice Awards, USA


The Main Event
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedJune 1979
Barbra Streisand chronology
Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits Volume 2
The Main Event

In June 1979, a soundtrack was released on vinyl, cassette and 8-track tape. In October 1993, it was released on CD. The soundtrack contains an extended version of "The Main Event/Fight", containing a version which runs 11:39, an edited and slightly altered version at 4:54 (released as the single that hit number three on the U.S. pop charts and number five in Canada[4]), and a ballad version titled simply "The Main Event" as it omits the "Fight" parts. A bootleg of the recording sessions for the title song exists with Streisand commenting on the vocal challenges the song contains. A DJ-only promo 12" single was released for "The Main Event/Fight" as well as a 7" promo that featured a unique shorter 3:59 version backed with the single release.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "The Main Event/Fight" – Barbra Streisand
  2. "The Body Shop" – Michalski and Ooversteen
  3. "The Main Event/Fight" (short version) – Barbra Streisand
  4. "Copeland Meets the Coasters/Get a Job" – Michael Melvoin
  5. "Big Girls Don't Cry" – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
  6. "It's Your Foot Again" – Michael Melvoin
  7. "Angry Eyes" – Loggins and Messina
  8. "I'd Clean a Fish for You" – Michael Melvoin
  9. "The Main Event" (ballad) – Barbra Streisand

Chart performance[edit]


Chart (1979) Peak
US Billboard 200 20 Gold
Canadian Albums Chart 11


  1. ^ "Box Office Information for The Main Event". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  2. ^ Flatley, Guy (19 Aug 1979). "Ryan O'Neal meaner but far from macho". Chicago Tribune. p. e8.
  3. ^ "The Main Event, Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
  4. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 1979-09-15. Retrieved 2018-07-09.

External links[edit]