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The Turning Point (1977)

When her daughter joins a ballet company, a former dancer is forced to confront her long-ago decision to give up the stage to have a family.

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Nominated for 11 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Wayne
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Adelaide
Antoinette Sibley ...
Sevilla Haslam
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Madame Dahkarova
Starr Danias ...
Carolyn
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Carter
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Michael
Daniel Levins ...
Arnold (as Daniel Levans)
Scott Douglas ...
Freddie
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Janina
Phillip Saunders ...
Ethan
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Storyline

The story of two women whose lives are dedicated to ballet. Deedee left her promising dance career to become a wife and mother and now runs a ballet school in Oklahoma. Emma stayed with a company and became a star though her time has nearly passed. Both want what the other has and reflect on missed chances as they are brought together again through Deedee's daughter, who joins the company. Written by Susan Southall <stobchatay@aol.com>

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Plot Keywords:

ballet | dancer | dance | beer | white wine | See All (36) »

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The generations change. But the choices remain the same. See more »

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Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

18 November 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Momento de decisión  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Audrey Hepburn's biggest film regret was not getting the Anne Bancroft role in The Turning Point (1977). "That was the one film", she later admitted, "that got away from me." See more »

Goofs

When everybody is warming up on stage before the Gala Performance, you can see Baryshnikov practicing his jumps for "Le Corsaire" and is already wearing the costume. However, the program shows that he first dances the Grand Pas de Deux of Sleeping Beauty. See more »

Quotes

Deedee Rodgers: I know you're angry.
Emilia: I'm not angry.
Deedee Rodgers: You damn well are. You're just covering it up with ice. That little Russian behaved like a bastard, so you're taking it out on me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Shirley MacLaine at the Lido (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Disco Billy Blues
(uncredited)
Written by Billy May and Lionel Newman
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User Reviews

 
Sure it's a soap opera, but it's an extremely entertaining one.
31 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I had no knowledge or interest in ballet before viewing The Turning Point on HBO about a year after it was first released to theaters. The HBO promotions department concentrated more on the cat fight between Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft and less on the numerous ballet dances. I thought it was going to be an unintentional laugh riot. Boy, was I wrong.

MacLaine and Bancroft as former dance rivals do a great job separately and together. You sense the history of both characters and the issues that have colored the decisions they made. MacLaine's character, Deedee, getting pregnant and leaving the ballet company, while with Bancroft's character, Emma, the veteran prima ballerina who never married and struggles to stay a ballerina not knowing when or how to gracefully end her career.

Director Herbert Ross and screenwriter Arthur Laurents conceived an interesting, albeit thin, story within the backdrop of ballet. The lead actresses and the supporting cast, including James Mitchell, Anthony Zerbe, Tom Skerritt as MacLaine's husband and especially Martha Scott as the blunt, money-minded owner of the ballet company, do a very good job and, in some ways, improve on the material given to them.

As far as the ballet dancers in acting roles, well they are great dancers. To be fair, hiring anyone with little or no acting experience and expect them to act in a major movie for the first time would be a challenge for anyone. Leslie Browne, as Emilia, Deedee's oldest who is in the process of becoming the next prima ballerina, had a very tough task and, when it came to the dialog, I thought she did as good a job as she could. But when she was in her element, namely in the dance studio and on stage, she was wonderful. (It's a shame that actress/former ballerina Neve Campbell was only four years old when The Turning Point was first released. Acting-wise, Campbell would have been a more convincing Emilia. But I digress.)

Mikhail Baryshnikov fared much better as the main male ballet dancer/Lothario. He oozed charisma on screen and his jumps on stage are breathtaking. Years after The Turning Point, he has done some decent work in White Nights on screen and Sex and the City on television.

Interestingly, out of all of the non-professional actors, I thought Alexandra Danilova, who played Emilia's ballet teacher, gave the most natural and less stilted performance. She seemed very comfortable essentially playing herself. I have a feeling that it has a lot to do with her real ballet experience of over 50 years when the film was released in 1977.

The last time I viewed The Turning Point was in 2005. The material is still pretty thin but I do believe that if it wasn't for the strong performances (acting and dancing) the film would not hold up after all these years.


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