As young dancers, they were best friends and fierce rivals. Deedee (Shirley MacLaine) left the stage for marriage and motherhood, while Emma (Anne Bancroft) would become an international ballet icon. But when Deedee?s te... more »enage daughter (Leslie Browne in her film debut) is invited to join Emma?s dance company and begins an affair with a young Russian star (Mikhail Baryshnikov in his film debut), the two women are forced to confront the choices they?ve made, the resentments they?ve hidden, and the emotional truths they must face at THE TURNING POINT. Tom Skerritt, Anthony Zerbe and the artists of The American Ballet Theatre co-star in this Oscar®-nominated classic written by Arthur Laurents (THE WAY WE WERE, WEST SIDE STORY) and directed by Herbert Ross (STEEL MAGNOLIAS, FOOTLOOSE) that became one of the most acclaimed dramas of the decade and remains among the most stunning dance films of all time.« less
"Fabulous that they have finally found a DVD home for this, one of my favorite movies ever. Back in 1977, I was a kid of 17 and quite "different" from my peers. Being bored by Star Wars (all that noise and awful John Williams music giving me a headache!), and much more enchanted by three other movies released that same year: New York, New York, Julia, and The Turning Point. As you can see, I had quite a lot in common with other boys my age! I can remember as if it were yesterday the first time I experienced The Turning Point on the big screen. Granted, I was not, nor am I to this day, a particularly huge admirer of ballet - opera being more my style - but after seeing this flick, the combination of fine dancing, and, especially, fine film acting and script writing, just blew my mind and the lid off my head! The late 70's was a kind of renaissance for great woman actors (and ballet too!), and scripts written for them, especially MacLaine, Fonda, and Streep. This film was a stand out indeed. The scenes of MacLaine in her suburban home, preparing to receive the company of her long-lost ballet friends are just so palpable and full of emotion. Bancroft is no less compelling - gorgeous to look at (is it just me or does she not look a bit like the great Callas?), subtle in her resignation that she is no longer what she was but NOT bitter about it, the way MacLaine is quite bitter and a bit disappointed in terms of the way her life has turned out. Her caring and admiration for MacLaine's daughter, Leslie Brown, is never, I feel, done in a way to spite her one-time rival. It's simply one artist acknowledging and encouraging another for the sake of their Art. The little "inside" bits of the ballet world also contribute considerably to this film, adding truth and a texture that, I'm afraid to say, could never be done today (the ballet world is NOT the same today as it was in the late 70's, a glowing period it was indeed!!!). As for all the talk regarding Ms. Brown's acting ability, I think she is perfect for this role, projecting an innocent, vulnerable quality with an ability to also dance quite well. As for Baryshnikov? Well, what can I say. Beautiful to look at and especially amusing in the early part of the film where he is serenading the post-performance party with a little Russian melody. This is what film making used to be about - great acting, interesting personalities, fine script writing, and an all-around interest and knowledge of what a particular film was supposed to be about. Luigi - NYC "
R. Penola | NYC, NY United States | 06/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Combining soapy suds and exhilarating dance sequences with the formidable acting skills of lead players Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft, Herbert Ross creates a winner in The Turning Point. Baryshnikov is every bit as magnetic onscreen, in a well-chosen role as a dance lothario, as he is every second he is dancing; he defies gravity and sends your spirit soaring. Leslie Browne, a novice (to put it kindly), in the acting department, is no less spectacular on the dance floor. Rarely has a big, old-fashioned, commercial film been so successful at making classical ballet so tangible and electric. The score, punctuacted throughout with the obvious classical scores of the many pieces we get glimpses of, adds a resonance to the story. MacLaine and Bancroft, as rivals in romance and once, in their careers, have a grand old time with our emotions, as they traverse the entire wide range of jealousy, humiliation, aging, love, friendship -- and eventually combust onscreen, which provides the movie with its most dazzlingly entertaining moments of drama. Tom Skerrit is terrific as Shirley's dancer-gone-husband, and the portrait of MacLaine's character has surprising moments of reality sprinkled throughout the screenplay. A wonderful big, overlong, old-fashioned movie, and a great way to introduce your family to classic dance, not only painlessly, but engagingly."
Looking Back On Your Past Choices
Movie Mania | Southern Calfornia | 07/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Turning Point was by far the best picture of 1977. It brought together two great actresses whose careers were in limbo and revitalized them.
Deedee (Shirley Maclaine) and Emma (Anne Bancroft) were best friends. Both were up and coming stars of the American Ballet Company. Both were vying for the same role, the new ballet of Anna Karenina (Turning Point #1). But Deedee gets pregnant and has to decide if she will keep the baby (Turning Point #2). Deedee decides to have the baby and Emma gets the ballet.
It's 20 years later and the ABC is performing in Oklahoma City, where Deedee and Wayne (Tom Skerritt) have settled down and opened their own ballet school. Two of their children are dancers but the middle child wants nothing to do with it. Deedee and Wayne hold a party after the performance. Their oldest, Amelia (Leslie Browne), is drawn to the fading prima ballerina who invites her to take class with the company the next morning.
During the practice, Emma points out Amelia to the head of the company (Martha Scott) and she sees the talent plus the publicity value. Amelia is offered a place in the company. Emma is honored by the offer but is a little afraid at being taken away from family (Turning Point #3). To help her along, Deedee offers to spend the summer with her in NYC. Deedee, Amelia and her brother all head off to the Big Apple.
Amelia easily fits into the company and the managers take notice of her. She quickly gets a \the lead in a major new ballet. She also catches the eye of the hot new star, Yuri (Mikhail Baryshnikov). They start a relationship but the difference is she wants more and he wants to play the field.
Deedee quickly finds out that the only thing worse than a fading star is a never was. So she when she runs into a friend from the old days (Anthony Zerbe), she starts spending time with him. Amelia feels, a little too much time with him.
Emma has to come to grips with his fading star and latches onto Amelia. But Deedee is on to her immediately. This is comes to a head at after the Opening Gala. The confrontation at the reception bar has become legendary followed by an even more celebrated cat fight in front of the theatre.
Wayne arrives and as always centers the family. But as this is a time for turning points, Deedee decides to confront some of her and Wayne's demons. This is another great scene for Maclaine.
All ties up nicely with the premier of the ballet that stars Amelia. This brings Deedee and Emma back together with their differences settled.
This film restarted Shirley Maclaine's career and this performance should have garnered her first Oscar for this but Anne Bancroft's strong performance (along with Jane Fonda) split the vote and she would have to wait until Terms of Endearment to get her recognition.
This was the film gave Tom Skerrit his first break. Leslie Browne followed her movie mother's career as she stepped into her role after the original cast in her role had to bow out. Ms. Browne received an Oscar nomination along with her love interest in the film Mikhail Baryshnikov.
The film was written by Arthur Laurents who gave us West Side Story and The Way We Were and was directed by Herbert Ross who got his start on the Streisand films Funny Girl and Funny Lady.
DVD EXTRAS: Making of Featurette made at the time of the film. This actually is very interesting. "
A Dancer's Life - and Baryshnikov in his prime!
dancelife | Chicago, IL United States | 12/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I join the many devoted dance fans who demand that the studio release the DVD version of "The Turning Point"! This film, besides being a wonderfully poignant story of a young dancer's life (played by Leslie Browne), captures on film many talented dancers from ABT and other companies, most notably Mikhail Baryshnikov --- in his prime! Misha is featured with Leslie Browne in both the Romeo & Juliet and the Don Quijote pas de deux, and Misha also peforms the exhuberant Corsaire solo. Shirley Maclaine and Anne Bancroft are excellent as the lead characters who have to deal with giving up dance once they are past their prime. There are a lot of insightful, behind-the-scenes looks at life in a ballet company, showing both the ups and the downs of life in the spotlight. This is a film worth having on DVD, both for the historic footage of some fabulous dancers, and as a very entertaining and touching story! Dance lovers will treasure this forever!"
True to life backstage story beautifully told
dancelife | 09/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie contains wonderful acting by the entire cast, beautiful dancing (and well photographed too: none of this current quick cutting nonsense borrowed from MTV that is so distracting and obnoxious to watch). One of the few films that deals honestly with coming to terms with the choices we make throughout our lives, and with ageing, as well as the dramatics and the eccentricities of talented people in the highly competitive world of theatre. The athleticism of great dancers, and great dancing, is also given its due here. Considering the enormous amount of talent in this movie, as well as all the Oscar nominations it received, WHY ISN'T "THE TURNING POINT" ON DVD IN WIDESCREEN?! Surely there are enough Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft fans out there to warrant a good DVD transfer. These are two of the greatest ladies in the movies. They, and this fine film, deserve better than a cut-price edition. Let's hear it from the fans: BRING OUT THE WIDESCREEN DVD!"