The 1977 Classic The Turning Point

Rick Forchuk helps rediscover The Turning Point, a 1977 classic that held several Oscar nominations


The Turning Point, starring Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine

I have been desperately trying to find a movie that I want my daughter to see, ever since the success of Black Swan with its Oscar wins. All I remember is that it was about two women who pursued ballet, with one sticking with it, the other not. Seems to me it too was an Oscar contender. Can you help? – P.R., via e-mail

It sounds, P.R., like you are looking for The Turning Point, from 1977 which starred Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine. MacLaine’s character was Deedee, a promising ballerina who made a decision to dedicate herself to being a wife and mother, and who now runs a ballet school.

Bancroft was Emma, who was fast friends with Deedee all through their formative years, but who stayed with performing en pointe and eventually became a big star, although, as the movie progresses, we see that she is near the end of her time at the top. The story revolves around the two women who look at their respective lives and wonder “what if?”

What if Deedee had chosen career over family – would she be as big a star as Emma? And Emma wonders, “what if I had elected a family – would I be less lonely and more fulfilled today?”

The catalyst for both women is Deedee’s daughter’s decision to join the dance company, forcing each woman to examine what they have missed in their lives.

The Turning Point received 11 Oscar nominations, and won nothing, tying it for the movie with the most nominations and no Oscar, with The Color Purple. It is available online from, or by special order through most major retailers.