A young man is in love for the first time. However, his girlfriend is older than him, from a rich family and has more experience with relationships. Their love is sometimes emotionally draining, but physically very passionate. Can it last?



(story "Sentimental Education"), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Elgin Smith
Caroline Hedges
David Bonner
John March
Tom Lacy ...
Professor Oxtan
June Barrett ...
Pat O'Hara ...
Zookeeper (as Patrick O'Hara)
Jenny Hill ...
Girl in Bar - Bonnie


Elgin Smith is a student attending Ridgedale College, he who spends his time working part time as a waiter on campus to pay for what his partial scholarship won't, studying, attending classes, or kicking around a soccer ball to get some exercise (as he isn't very good at the actual game to get much real playing time in his pickup league). He doesn't have much of an active sex life as he isn't in a relationship and he wants to equate making love with actual love, not only from his own perspective but also that of the other person in the relationship. In that respect, he is unlike his dorm neighbor, David Bonner, who has sex with his girlfriend Felicia, while he fools around behind her back with another girl named Shelley. Elgin's life may change when he becomes infatuated with a student on campus on first sight, she who he will learn is named Caroline Hedges. As Elgin is able to spend time with her, he, without truly knowing that much about her, does fall in love with her, as he ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »




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Release Date:

1 June 1978 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Den første kærlighed  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


William Katt was approached three times to play the lead role of Elgin Smith before he finally agreed to do it. See more »


[first lines]
[a faceless leg, belonging to Elgin Smith, is kicking around a soccer ball by himself]
Elgin Smith: [breathless voice over] Inside. All right. Make it good, let's do that again. OK coach, why aren't you watching now. Watch out, Pele. Let's top that ball - top it. Yeah. Let's do it again. All right. Smith, the mighty foot, moves downfield with amazing agility. Intense concentration. Ah, you've been reading too much, Ben. Oh!
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Featured in Mr. Skin's Top 100 Celebrity Nude Scenes (2007) See more »


Antico Canto Siciliano
from the album "The Godfather's Family Wedding Album"
Performed by Carmine Coppola and His Orchestra
Courtesy of ABC Records Inc.
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User Reviews

Frank but ultimately unsatisfying look at first love
9 October 2015 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

1977's "First Love" was a frank update of the kind of women's picture that began decades before (Harold Brodsky's original story was actually written in the 50s), but ultimately unsatisfying. William Katt follows his breakout hit "Carrie" by playing virginal college youth Elgin Smith, who instantly, and perhaps foolishly, falls in love at first sight with elegant upper class co-ed Caroline Hedges (Susan Dey), despite the presence of the older gentleman she's with (Robert Loggia), who turns out to be the lawyer business partner of her late father, a tragic suicide. A chance encounter the next day finds Elgin making an impression in clumsy fashion, and soon enough the pair are seeing each other regularly, until Loggia's reappearance with his wife (Virginia Leith) drives a tearful Caroline into Elgin's bed, for better or worse. One could describe the story as bittersweet, but surely that must be the fate of many such relationships, yet there is an underlying falseness driving Susan Dey's character that keeps us from liking her. This was Dey's starring feature debut, though a constant TV presence since THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY, achieving dramatic praise as an abusive mother later that same year in "Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night." In only her second feature film, sexy Beverly D'Angelo truly shines in the better role, as fun loving Shelley, girlfriend of Elgin's humorous neighbor David (John Heard), who's also going out with a deadly serious girl (June Barrett) who nearly catches him in bed with Shelley. Beverly (and Susan too) gets naked in Elgin's bed on her third attempt to score with him, but he subconsciously blurts out Caroline's name, spoiling the mood. Shelley confesses that she believes that she's in love with unserious David, so it's a genuine surprise when the two actually get together to make a go of marriage. It's almost too bad that their story is secondary, but William Katt shows that he could carry a film, especially one lacking a strong trustful ending. A rare appearance for Cleveland-born Virginia Leith, the same actress who achieved cult status in her previous movie "The Brain That Wouldn't Die," but would retire for good by 1980.

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