Ryan O’Neal: So Fine

Ryan O’Neal just passed and I felt my heart break a little bit. I think he was my first major crush. I watched Love Story as an early teen and completely fell in love with him. He was the perfect guy, and he loved Jenny so much. Suffice to say his real life was not like that, but he left us with so many incredible films. I think maybe that was partly why I was drawn to him so much, how human he actually was. His problems and flaws are what made him interesting to me. I think we as a society have a tendency to idolize those that are onscreen and seem to forget they’re just like us. The notion that someone could be so famous and so revered and not have a perfect life was more foreign to me at that time. How could someone have it all technically, but not? Today our stars melodramas playout in real time through the exploitation in tabloids and on social media. It’s become commonplace, but it was more rare in his time. Ryan worked with a few of the most prolific directors in some of the greatest films of all time, including Barry Lyndon which is a perfect film in every way. Kubrick really was the ultimate master, so the fact that he tapped Ryan to be his lead was very special.

By Illyse Singer


Roxy Cinema is honored to present a retrospective for the late Ryan O’Neal, celebrating his legacy and contributions to cinema. Catch these classics in January and February:


Barry Lyndon is a 1975 Stanley Kubrick film. In the movie, O’Neal portrays Redmond Barry, a young Irishman whose life takes a dramatic turn as he navigates through love, betrayal, and societal challenges in 18th-century Europe. The character undergoes a transformation from a naive and romantic youth to a more cynical and calculating individual as he becomes entangled in the world of aristocracy and warfare. O’Neal’s performance in “Barry Lyndon” is notable for capturing the complexities of his character’s journey, contributing to the film’s immersive portrayal of a bygone era.

Tough Guys Don’t Dance is a film directed by Norman Mailer. Norman Mailer not only wrote the novel “Tough Guys Don’t Dance” but also directed the film adaptation released in 1987. The film retains the dark and mysterious atmosphere of the book, bringing Mailer’s vision to the screen. Starring Ryan O’Neal as the troubled protagonist Tim Madden, the movie unfolds as a neo-noir thriller set in Provincetown. Mailer’s directorial debut is known for its bold and unconventional approach, with intense performances and a narrative that mirrors the novel’s complex themes of identity, guilt, and moral ambiguity. While the film received mixed reviews, it stands as a testament to Mailer’s ability to experiment with storytelling across different mediums, showcasing the unique perspective on the human condition through the lends of a gripping and enigmatic mystery.

Nickelodeon is a 1976 comedy-drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich. Set in the early days of the film industry during the silent era, the movie follows the journey of two aspiring filmmakers, played by Ryan O’Neal and Burt Reynolds, as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of Hollywood.

Love Story is a classic romantic drama film released in 1970, directed by Arthur Hiller and based on Erich Segal’s best-selling novel of the same name. The film revolves around the passionate love story between Oliver Barrett IV, played by Ryan O’Neal, and Jennifer Cavalleri, portrayed by Ali MacGraw. The narrative unfolds as a poignant and touching exploration of class differences, family expectations, and the enduring power of love.

The Driver is a gritty and stylish neo-noir crime film directed by Walter Hill, released in 1978. Starring Ryan O’Neal as the enigmatic protagonist simply known as The Driver, the film revolves around a skilled and emotionless getaway driver who becomes the target of a determined detective, played by Bruce Dern. Known for its minimalistic dialogue and intense car chase sequences, “The Driver” is a visually striking and tense thriller that captures the essence of urban crime and pursuit.

Partners  is a 1982 comedy film directed by James Burrows. The film stars Ryan O’Neal as a straight police detective and John Hurt as his gay undercover partner. The two detectives are assigned to work together to solve a series of murders in the gay community. The film explores themes of tolerance, acceptance, and the evolving dynamics between the two mismatched partners.

So Fine is the title of our series. The film is a wild comedy directed by Andrew Bergmen, we just had to include it! Ryan O Neal plays a professor that gets caught up in the fashion biz and the mob.

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