Forty years ago, one of the controversial remakes of all time was released. After the kind of publicity during production that might drown out most films, the retooled A Star Is Born—the story of star-crossed show-biz lovers, with a take on gender roles that still feels current—starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson hit theaters. Streisand plays Esther, an up-and-coming singer-songwriter who’s spotted by the flamboyantly self-destructive—and equally talented—pop star John Norman Howard (Kristofferson), who falls head-over-heels for her. Few films of the era got more attention than director Frank Pierson’s, working with a team of screenwriters and publicly battling with Streisand and her producing partner and mate, the legendarily pugnacious Jon Peters. The cast of the robustly realized version of an all-eyes-on-me fall from grace also included Gary Busey, Paul Mazursky, and real-life back-up singers Clydie King and Venetta Fields, who were cast as Streisand’s back-up singers in the film. Despite the blows it took from the media—even co-screenwriter John Gregory Dunne (working with his wife, Joan Didion) wrote a preemptory piece about the making of the film to protect himself—A Star Is Born was not only a one-of-a-kind hit, but also won a Best Song Oscar® for “Evergreen,” written by Streisand and Paul Williams.