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The Turning Point

The Turning Point (1977)



Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 2,777

My Rating

Movie Info

One of a cycle of '70s post-Women's Liberation "women's pictures," Herbert Ross's drama uses the ballet world to examine the conflict between family and career. Former dance colleagues Deedee (Shirley MacLaine) and Emma (Anne Bancroft) are reunited when Emma's New York ballet company stops in Oklahoma City for a performance. Having dropped her career for marriage and motherhood, Deedee envies prima ballerina Emma's limelight life; aging Emma, realizing that her days as a star are numbered,


Drama, Romance

Jan 25, 2005

Paramount Pictures

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All Critics (18) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (8)

You yield to The Turning Point relucantly, knowing well that it is conning you -- with sentiment, with flamboyance, with sheer slickness.

January 30, 2012 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For a film ostensibly dedicated to physical grace, Ross's images are unforgivably clumsy.

January 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Turning Point is one of the best films of its era.

July 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's some beautiful dancing and a wealth of detail about the world of classical ballet.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Turning Point is entertaining, not for discovering new material, but for treating old material with style and romantic feeling that, in this day and age, seem remarkably unafraid.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A well-made soap opera with a story that right out of a 1930s backstage musical.

January 30, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

What stands out are the ballet performances.

September 10, 2010 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Though made in 1977, this strained effort tries to combine a 1940s woman's picture with backstage melodrama set in the modern ballet world.

December 22, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

A glorified made-for-Lifetime-cable movie.

February 18, 2006 Full Review Source:

moving drama

June 29, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

MacLaine and Bancroft are electric to watch.

October 14, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

It deserved all the Oscars it won: none.

March 1, 2004 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Unwatchable for anyone who isn't a mad ballet fan.

February 16, 2004 Full Review Source:

A wonderful film about the friendship between two women and about the marvels of ballet.

January 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Its sophistications are superficial, to say the least, but it wowed the Academy in 1977.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for The Turning Point

A former ballet dancer's daughter moves to New York to star in a big-time ballet company, and the move resurfaces old grudges.
I suppose that the highlights of this film are the ballet sequences, which are well-choreographed and visually fun to watch. But these sequences do nothing to advance the story or the film's characters; they divert the film's focus. Deedee, played by Shirley MacLaine, is the center of the film's main conflict, and Deedee must reconcile her choice - to settle down and have a family rather than compete against Emma, played by Anne Bancroft, for professional success. Despite scenes in which Deedee looks on enviously as her daughter achieves the success she never did, this conflict just sits in the background, and there aren't many moments in which we see Deedee working to resolve the conflict. The affair subplot is lame and poorly presented, and the final fight between Emma and Deedee resolves like a bad Lifetime movie - illogical, maudlin, and wracked with a bond between women that nobody could understand or believe.
Overall, if you like ballet, skip the poor excuse for a plot between the dance scenes.
July 21, 2012
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

A boring, talky, and slow movie about dancers. There are some good actors in the movie, but overall it's boring.
January 4, 2011

Super Reviewer

This is not a great movie, but just to watch Baryshnikov propel his body to incredible heights is totally, totally worth the 2 hours. That, and the catfight between Shirley Maclaine and Anne Bancroft. Ah, how I love them.
August 1, 2007

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "The Turning Point", Dee Dee(Shirley MacLaine) is a former ballet dancer, now running a dance school with her husband, Wayne(Tom Skerritt), in Oklahoma City. Twenty years previously, she gave up her career, when she became pregnant with her daughter, Emilia(Leslie Browne), who is now an accomplished dancer in her own right. A visit from the American Ballet Company including her former rival, Emma(Anne Bancroft), brings old emotions to the surface. (They were competing for the leading role in "Anna Karenina" when Dee Dee got pregnant. Twenty years later, they are envious of each other's lives.) When Emilia wins a chance to perform in New York, her mother and brother accompany her.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Turning Point" is an intellingent and thoughtful movie about the choices we make in life and the sacrifices and compromises that we all have to live with.(I am not sure but ballet would seem to be one of the only careers where pregnancy would perfmanently end a career.) MacLaine and Bancroft both give wonderful performances but the rest of the cast does not fare as well.(To be fair, most of them seem to be professional dancers.) I liked the movie the most when it focused on Emma and Dee Dee but was less interested about the young dancers(sorry, but I'm not a ballet fan). But I have newfound respect for the dancers, having seen the all the hard work they do.[/font]
January 20, 2006
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • The Turning Point (1977) (DE)
  • The Turning Point (UK)
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