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Jerry Maguire (1996)Renee Zellweger and Tom Cruise
Credit: Andrew Cooper

Jerry Maguire is many things: a sports movie, an Oscar-nominated film, Tom Cruise at his most Tom Cruise. But at its heart, it’s truly a love story — something that director Cameron Crowe found out during a test screening of the 1996 film.

With the film recently celebrating its 20th anniversary and the release of a special edition with never-before-seen footage, Crowe talked with Deadline about a variety of topics, including the moment that he realized his movie would connect with people.

“One of the first times we showed it was a friends and family screening that [producer James L. Brooks] had put together,” he shared. “Lawrence Kasdan was there, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, and [Brooks] invited Shirley MacLaine. So I was a little terrified, watching the movie. When it was over, the lights came up, and there was a guy and his girlfriend in the row in front of me, near Katzenberg. This guy stood up and proposed to his girlfriend. It must have seemed like some publicity stunt, but it was real and it was one of the first times we felt like the love story might reach people.”

The film features many iconic lines, including the romantic “You had me at hello,” what Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger) says to Maguire (Cruise) after he confesses his love for her.

In honor of the film’s milestone anniversary, EW recently caught up with star Jonathan Lipnicki, who at age 5 stole the hearts of Maguire — and the audience — as young Ray Boyd.

“I don’t think I really had nerves, but now if that happened to me as an adult with all the filters we have, I would have been so scared,” he told EW. “Good thing I was a little kid, so it didn’t hit me as much… Looking back, I’m just really lucky for those circumstances. To be in a really good film, surrounded by really good actors, it’s a pretty crazy way to start a career.”

Jerry Maguire
  • Movie
  • 138 minutes