The Music of Marvin Hamlisch — Film: The Way We Were (1973)

Academy Awards, USA 1974: The Way We Were won Oscars for:

Oscar Best Music, Original Song: Marvin Hamlisch (music), Alan Bergman (lyrics), Marilyn Bergman (lyrics) For the song “The Way We Were”.

Best Music, Original Dramatic Score: Marvin Hamlisch

The film was Nominated for:

Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role: Barbra Streisand

Best Cinematography: Harry Stradling Jr.

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration: Stephen B. Grimes, William Kiernan

Best Costume Design: Dorothy Jeakins, Moss Mabry




The Film: “Opposites attract when, during their college days, Katie Morosky (Barbra Streisand), a politically active Jew, meets Hubbell Gardiner (Robert Redford), a feckless WASP. Years later, in the wake of World War II, they meet again and, despite their obvious differences, marry. Hubbell wants to be a screenwriter, so the two move to California despite Katie’s objections. They prosper there, but as the Hollywood blacklist looms, Katie’s activism threatens her husband’s reputation.”

Barbra Streisand - Robert Redford The Way We Were SPLASH


The film won Academy awards for:

Best Original Dramatic Score (Marvin Hamlisch)

Best Original Song for “The Way We Were (Music: Marvin Hamlisch. Lyrics: Alan and Marilyn Bergman


The Way We Were is a 1973 American romantic drama film, starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, and directed by Sydney Pollack. The screenplay by Arthur Laurents was based on his college days at Cornell University and his experiences with the House Un-American Activities Committee.

A box office success, the film was nominated for several awards and won the Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song for “The Way We Were”. The soundtrack recording charted for 23 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and eventually sold in excess of one million copies.

Watch Video Trailer:

Directed by: Sydney Pollack

Produced by: Ray Stark

Written by:  Arthur Laurents

Starring:    Barbra Streisand &

                   Robert Redford

Music by:  Marvin Hamlisch

Cinematography:    Harry Stradling, Jr.

Edited by:   John F. Burnett

               Margaret Booth (supervising)

Production company:  Rastar

Distributed by:  Columbia Pictures

Release dates:  October 19, 1973

Running time:   118 minutes


VIDEO. SONG: THE WAY WE WERE — Rendition by Beyonce Knowles during tribute to Barbra Streisand — The Kennedy Center Honors. The Music of Marvin Hamlisch:

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards


Best Music (Original Dramatic

Score)  Marvin Hamlisch

Best Music (Song) Marvin Hamlisch,

Alan Bergman, and Marilyn

Bergman for “The Way We Were”


Best Actress in a Leading Role Barbra


Best Art Direction Stephen B. Grimes

and William Kiernan

Best Cinematography Harry Stradling

Best Costume Design Dorothy Jeakins

and Moss Mabry

BAFTA Awards:

Best Actress in a Leading Role Barbra

Streisand, nominee)

David di Donatello Awards:

Best Foreign Actress (Barbra

Streisand, winner; tie with Tatum

O’Neal for Paper Moon)

Golden Globes:

Best Original Song (Marvin Hamlisch,

Alan Bergman, and Marilyn Bergman

for “The Way We Were,” winner)

Best Actress — Motion Picture Drama

(Barbra Streisand, nominee)

Grammy Awards:

Best Original Score Written for a

Motion Picture or a Television Special

(Marvin Hamlisch, winner)

Writers Guild of America Awards:

Best Original Screenplay (Arthur

Laurents, nominee)


Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Film: The Way We Were (1973)

Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Film: The Way We Were (1973)

Notes from Composer Marvin Hamlisch about the film “The Way We Were” and his musical score for this film:

When Ray Stark said to me: “Marvin, I’m working on a new picture which needs a theme song. I think this is up your alley, and I’d like to give you a chance, he didn’t tell me till the end of the conversation that the director was Sydney Pollack, the stars were Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, and the movie was The Way We Were. For this I would certainly work “on spec,” and I must confess that I sensed from the beginning that this was going to be my watershed in the movies.

Barbra - redford - the way we were

I couldn’t wait to get to the piano, and I put in weeks and weeks of struggle to find the right theme. How many The Way We Were’s there were, I cannot tell you. Unlike Juilliard, where a jury of three decided whether I would maintain my scholarship, here there was a jury of one. Never was there a more harsh critic of my work than me.

In the musical score for this film, and the theme song, I wanted to reflect the sorrow and despondency and pain of the relationship and its outcome, the frustration and yearning of the woman in the relationship, and the star-crossed nature of it all. And Although this song would reflect a heartbreaking story, I decided to write it in the major mode, not in the minor mode. By doing this, I tried to give a sense of hope to this tragic story.

Barbra - redford - the way we were2

You may wonder how I knew when I’d written the “right” melody. I can only say that one day I wrote a melody that just got to me. I can’t give you a musical explanation of why one melody is better than another-I either respond or I don’t. The years of theory and harmony at Juilliard can take you just so far. One’s response  is not rational or technical. It goes beyond that. When I feel the emotional tug, when I react the way I hope the audience will, then I know I’ve got it. — Marvin Hamlisch (1944–2012) E-Book “THE WAY I WAS” — BUY THIS BOOK

Barbra Streisand & Robert Redford. Film: The Way We Were:

Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Film: The Way We Were

Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Film: The Way We Were

 Song “The Way We Were” music sheet:



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Source: Team Marvin Hamlisch / The Music of Marvin Hamlisch



  1. What I find fascinating with this film—and I think it affects more people than they realize–is that is as much about Ideals as it is about these 2 people. The title is, after all, “The Way WE Were”, referring to a time in America when 2 ideals were running parallel–Redford’s Passive Resignaton to the Staus Quo, and Streisand’s Idealist Fighter, and how we became, in the end, a mostly Redford America–gaining everything but losing our soul (as his character does when he prostitutes his talent for money and fame in Hollywood.) Remember the famous (great!) diner scene when he says “It is people that matter, not principles”, to which she replies, “Hubbell, people ARE their principles!” It still has a power in those scenes that transcend the mere “romance”, a romance ignited by and torn apart by the conflict of those 2 ideals.

  2. The song,The Way We Were and this movie brings back the seventies more than any other song/movie. Redford was and always will be my favorite actor. Back then, he was more than an actor, but an example…and I’m sure he would see that as the highest compliment, a compliment hes well deserving of.

  3. I love this film. I watched it several times and each time I like it even more. Barbra is such a good actress especially in this film. Robert Redford is not only a pretty face, he is wonderful actor, very convincing in his performance maybe one his greatest performances. You feel something special when you watch this moving movie.

  4. I remember seeing this at the theater when it came out. All it took were the first few bars of Barbra’s “humming” the beginning of the song … and the audience was mesmerized. “Superstars” don’t even begin to describe Streisand and Redford during the 70’s. They were truly in a class by themselves.