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, singing the Golden Globe-nominated theme song written by Paul Jabara and Bruce Roberts.
Barbra streisand the main event ballad 1979
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.
Barbra Streisand as Hillary Kramer
Ryan O'Neal as Eddie "Kid Natural" Scanlon
Paul Sand as David
Whitman Mayo as Percy
Patti D'Arbanville as Donna
Chu Chu Malave as Luis
Richard Lawson as Hector Mantilla
James Gregory as Gough
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.
Although critically panned, 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
Golden Globe Awards
Best Original Song (Paul Jabara and Bruce Roberts, for "The Main Event/Fight," Nominated)
People's Choice Awards, USA
Favorite Theme/Song from a Motion Picture , for "The Main Event/Fight," Winner)
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.
"The Main Event/Fight" – Barbra Streisand
"The Body Shop" – Michalski and Ooversteen
"The Main Event/Fight" (short version) – Barbra Streisand
"Copeland Meets the Coasters/Get a Job" – Michael Melvoin
"Big Girls Don't Cry" – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons