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The Turning Point (1977)

aka The Turning Point

"The generations change. But the choices remain the same."

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: 119 mins · English, French · PG (USA)


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"The generations change. But the choices remain the same."


This film tells the story of friends and former competitors in the world of ballet, as well as the daughter/godchild of one of the women who is starting a career in ballet of her own.

DeeDee (Shirley MacLaine) left the ballet school after becoming pregnant with the child of another ballet dancer, Wayne (Tom Skerritt). The two settled down to raise a family and co-run a ballet studio in the suburbs of Oklahoma City. Emma (Anne Bancroft) stayed and eventually became a prima ballerina with the American Ballet Company (while having an affair with Michael, the ABA Company Head). When the company finally comes back to town, the two reunite. The reunion stirs up old memories and affects the present.

DeeDee's daughter, Emilia (Leslie Browne), is invited to join the company at Emma's request. Emilia starts an affair with a big-name Russian ballet defector and ladies' man, Yuri (Mikhail Baryshnikov). Emilia's brother Ethan is offered two ballet scholarships, but is unsure to pursue a career between ballet and baseball. He accepts one scholarship. Also, an old male friend of DeeDee's, a composer and conductor named Rosie is getting to know her all over again. Soon, the two are having an affair. Meanwhile, it looks as if Emma's day in the sun is coming to an end. For years, Michael has been asking Emma to marry him despite his marriage. By now as it looks as though she's ready to accept now that the company's forcing her to retire, he decides to stay with his wife.

Old friends and DeeDee eventually enter into major conflict, as DeeDee resents it that Emma acts as a foster mother to Emilia even though she had abandoned the idea of family life by pursing a career in ballet, while Emma feels that DeeDee is jealous of the success that Emma has had as a dancer. Emilia also suffers when she sees how Yuri carries on relationships with other girls.

Eventually, misunderstandings are settled, with Emma and DeeDee settling their differences and Emilia and Yuri becoming a stable couple with Emilia deciding to pursue a career in ballet.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 1977-11-14 : United States of America

DVD : 2005-01-25