"The Way We Were" as written by and Marvin Hamlisch....
Mem'ries light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored mem'ries of the way we were

Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me, would we, could we

Mem'ries may be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget

So it's the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember the way we were

The way we were

Lyrics submitted by MiChi83

"The Way We Were" as written by Marilyn Bergman Alan Bergman

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Way We Were song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentIt's about the misty memories "we" might of left behind, about old friendships and what the past has meant to "us"."Whats to painful to remember we simply choose to forget?", aint that the truth. The movie "The way we were", is a simple but memorable song of the friends, significant others and everyone else that have touched us so deeply, we never forget them and always have them in our memories...This is CHEESY, makes me cry ever time. When the character of Ms. Streisand and Robert Redford see eachother after 10yrs??? And this song comes up...This song is about everyones memory lane.
    Thecitygirlon June 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell said, City Girl. i realized even if i can and will forget the past, i cannot get rid of myself, who is made of what happened in the past. those memories doesn't only exist in my brain, they are the material that built me. I am them!
    lovejoyon June 01, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOur memory distorts the true nature of our past relationships. An old flame from many, many years ago recently contacted me and told me she thought her life would have been much better if we had stayed together. Though I was flattered, and though we did have some very good memories, I realized that she was conveniently forgetting the bad times and what caused us to eventually break up. As the song says, "Mem'ries, may be beautiful and yet
    What’s too painful to remember
    We simply choose to forget
    So it's the laughter
    We will remember
    Whenever we remember
    The way we were"
    procktheboaton June 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI do agree with everyone above that this song is about remembering the good times between to lovers who have long since parted with one another, but I also have to say that it is partly about the world, particularly the US during the 1930's and 1940's. Remember the movie for which this song was written was about McCarthyism and ethnic and class oriented struggles. Today we tend to look at the past as 'the good old days' but this really is only true if you were a straight white christian man. But still, 'its the laughter we will remember, whenever we remember the way we were'
    ziegfeldgirl12on December 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor me this song is all about how you can't return to what you were. Past relationships, once tainted, can never be the same. and once you figure out that its never going to be as great as it was before, you just leave it there, and move on. And so we try to be grateful for what we had, and we try to forget the bad times, shown when she says -

    "Mem'ries, may be beautiful and yet
    What's too painful to remember
    We simply choose to forget

    but i think the whole point of the song is, that you can't forget the bad things, the way you ended, the person you miss, the things that were said. It's only human to fixate on those things. Because all people are greedy, and so even though we try to be grateful for what we had, we still want more, and its upsetting how you can never get "more" because as james morrison said "you can't play on broken strings."
    Ranion July 25, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationlife can be funny. my two best friends, one of 2 years, the other of 12 years, were obsessed with Robert Redford and watched his movies all the time. so naturally, we three heard this song alot. at the time it felt like we would always remember the fun we were having together. now, after discovering that the entire friendship was based on them lying to me, i havent spoken to them anyomore. i miss the good parts, i miss the fun parts, but now i know it was never real. so basically, i miss the lies. now this song means to me what it meant to Katie & Hubble in the movie.
    myownheartbeaton August 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIronic how life is sometimes like a circle. It ends where it begins. And all we have left are memories. (Hopefully some interesting ones, along with memories of smiles and laughs.) We can love hard and even befriend, but we can't make some things last that were not meant to be. For if they were meant to be, they would simply be. I have loved hard and I have lost hard. And I will not wait my life away for what is never coming. So I will grab life's memories and choose to live...to start a new course. This song is the epitome of that...looking back over our lives and choosing to recall what is beautiful, not painful. For with pain often comes learning and understanding, and hopefully compassion (even if we faulter often). I do not partically care for Steisand's voice and I hate her politics, but I recall quite fondly when and where this song fit beautifully into my life and held such promise. Nobody can ever accuse me of not loving and of not trying. Remember that...
    IllToast2Thaton January 28, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI find this is such a sad song of the harsh realities of life. I am not sure we really get over someone special, maybe we just get over the loss of them in our lives. Memories re-ignite those strong feelings and has us clutching at straws. But sometimes, when you're drowning in a sea of emptiness, clutching straws can seem the only option.
    thistledoon April 19, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"What is too painful to remember, we choose to forget." I think that this is referring to denial. When an emotion is too painful to feel / believe we go into denial and don't believe it ( or "forget" the event). It never happened. Some people say they didn't realize their parents were alcoholics until they grew up and were adults. Another person commented that this song was written for the 30's and 40's . What was going on in Europe? WWII was starting. After WWI the US vowed there was not need to be concerned about Europe's affairs and refused to join the League of Nations (predecessor to United Nations). Now Europe was in flames. WWI was pretty painful to remember....... Same with old loves..... If we don't remember our history , we are doomed to repeat it.
    nuala10194on June 15, 2014   Link
  • -1
    General CommentIn retrospect, wow, what a landmark song.

    Now reading along as I listen again, it's amazing how short are the lyrics. So few words.

    Streisand performed it like a true master – extending herself almost beyond then back to the softest whisper. Her singing brings out the full impact of the meaning.

    And a very powerful meaning indeed.

    Any song about memories can become timeless. The melodic impact of Streisand's rendition pins it at the very top.
    verykenon March 09, 2013   Link

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