The Main Event (1979 film)

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The Main Event
Main eventposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Howard Zieff
Produced by Renee Missel
Howard Rosenman
Written by Gail Parent
Andrew Smith
Starring Barbra Streisand
Ryan O'Neal
Music by Michael Melvoin
Cinematography Mario Tosi
Edited by Edward Warschilka
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • June 22, 1979 (1979-06-22)
Running time
112 minutes
Country United States
Language English
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.


Hillary Kramer (Streisand), a successful perfume magnate awakes one morning to find that her accountant has robbed her blind and left for South America. Going through all of her remaining assets she finds a boxer, purchased as a tax write off. She decides to take Eddie "Kid Natural" Scanlon (Ryan O'Neal) who is much more at home giving driving lessons, into the ring and use him as her key to riches. Eddie thinks this will only get him killed and resists.

Eventually, Hillary wears Eddie down and she gets funding (mainly from friends, associates, and colleagues) for his first fights, all of which go awry, either through Hillary's lack of knowledge about boxing or Eddie's out-of-shape condition (and general fear of being hit). All the while, Hillary and Eddie continue sparring on their own, thanks to their different personalities. But, as time (and fights) go on, they develop an increasingly personal relationship, which ultimately leads them to have to decide what they really want.

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,[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 Barbra Streisand
Released June 1979
Label Columbia
Barbra Streisand chronology
Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits Volume 2
(1978)Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits Volume 21978
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 pop charts in both the U.S. and Canada), 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

Title track chart performance[edit]


  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. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  5. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1979/Top 100 Songs of 1979". Retrieved 2016-03-30. 

External links[edit]