The Turning Point (1977) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Turning Point (1977)

The Turning Point (1977)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Turning Point Photos

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, wishes that she had the fulfillment of a family like Deedee's. Tensions simmer when Deedee's talented teenage daughter, Emilia (Leslie Browne), moves to New York to join Emma's company. As Emma maternally bonds with Emilia, and Emilia falls in love with womanizing dancer Yuri (Mikhail Baryshnikov), Deedee feels that she's losing her place even as a mother. After Emilia's triumphant debut, Deedee's and Emma's resentments boil over into an all-out catfight that ends when they realize they can unite in happiness for Emilia's future. Splitting the desires to nest and to work between two characters, Ross and writer Arthur Laurents reveal the difficulty faced by women in a world of expanding options. As in Michael Powell's and Emeric Pressburger's seminal ballet film The Red Shoes (1948), dancing and a personal life don't mix, even as the films display ballet's seductive power here in the gracefully integrated numbers by dance stars Browne and Baryshnikov. Despite reservations about its melodramatic aspects, The Turning Point earned box-office success and eleven Oscar nominations (but no wins). Even if its wife/work struggle seems a bit old-fashioned, Deedee's and Emma's final bond suggests that the next generation may not have the same regrets.
Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Paramount Pictures

Watch it now


Leslie Browne
as Emilia
Tom Skerritt
as Wayne Rodgers
Martha Scott
as Adelaide
Starr Danias
as Carolyn
James Mitchell
as Michael
Phillip Saunders
as Ethan Rodgers
Lisa Lucas
as Janina Rodgers
Scott Douglas
as Freddie Ronoff
Daniel Levans
as Arnold
James Crittenden
as Billy Joe
David Byrd
as Conductor
Alexander Minz
as Boys Class Teacher
Dennis Hahat
as Dennis
Enrique Martínez
as Ballet Master
Saxe Bradbury
as Florence
Hilda Morales
as Sandra
Donald Petrie
as Barney
Howard Barr
as Pianist
Martha Johnson
as Pianist
Lucette Aldous
as Ballet Star
Fernando Bujones
as Ballet Star
Richard Cragun
as Ballet Star
Suzanne Farrell
as Ballet Star
Marcia Haydee
as Ballet Star
Peter Martins
as Ballet Star
Clark Tippet
as Ballet Star
Marianna Tcherkassky
as Ballet Star
Martine Van Hamel
as Ballet Star
Charles Ward
as Ballet Star
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Turning Point

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (5)

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

Full Review… | January 30, 2012
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 30, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | July 22, 2008
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top 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.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Well-acted '70s dance drama has sex, mature themes.

Full Review… | June 28, 2016
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for The Turning Point


An insufferable and melodramatic soap-opera that didn't deserve any of the eleven Oscar nominations it got, especially for a mediocre script that has no structure or clear focus and the acting nods for Browne and Baryshnikov, whose nominations are an insult to any real actor.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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.

Jim Hunter
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.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

The Turning Point Quotes

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Turning Point on our Movie forum!

News & Features