The movie was adapted by Nancy Dowd (uncredited) and Alvin Sargent from the novel by Judith Guest. ISBN 0140065172
It won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Timothy Hutton), Best Director, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. It was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Judd Hirsch) and Best Actress in a Leading Role (Mary Tyler Moore).
The producers were criticized for only nominating Timothy Hutton for Best Supporting Actor, since his role was the major role in the film.
This movie marked Mary Tyler Moore's career breakout from the stereotype of the light-hearted comedienne. Many felt that she did not win the Academy Award for this role solely because it was so out of character for her.