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The Turning Point (1977)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  1 March 1978 (France)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 2,510 users  
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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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Title: The Turning Point (1977)

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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Antoinette Sibley ...
Sevilla Haslam
Madame Dahkarova
Starr Danias ...
Daniel Levans ...
Scott Douglas ...
Lisa Lucas ...
Phillip Saunders ...


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 is nearly past. Both want what the other has and reflects back on missed chances as they are brought together again through Deedee's daughter who joins the company. Written by Susan Southall <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The generations change. But the choices remain the same.


Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »





Release Date:

1 March 1978 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Turning Point  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Most of the non-principal parts in the movie were played by dancers who had never done any straight acting before. See more »


During the Gala Performance sequence, when Baryshnikov is circling the stage with leaps in his "Le Corsaire" solo, the shadows of the camera on its tripod and two crew members are clearly visible on the floor. See more »


[Yuri is rubbing a young ballerina's sore leg]
Young ballerina: I have weak knees...
Yuri: I like girls with weak knees.
Young ballerina: You just like girls...
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Racket Girls (1994) See more »


Dom chrustalniy
Performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov
Composed by Vladimir Vysotskiy
See more »

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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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