A Star is Born (1976) from Tuna

Chances are most of you remember this Barbra Streisand re-remake of the 1937 classic, with Kris Kristofferson opposite her. The Golden Globes lumped it in the "comedy or musical" division, but IMDb says Drama/Musical/Romance, and that gives the true picture. It is a chick-flick with estrogen levels at near-record levels, earning a dreadful 4.8 from men at IMDb and a very respectable 6.9 from women. This 2.1 differential may represent the all-time estrogen champion. Even the legendary Dirty Dancing currently scores only 2.0 on this scale! A Star is Born belongs in the teeny-bopper sub-division of the chick-flick world, because the scores are inversely proportionate to age. (The younger the woman, the higher the score).

Kris plays a major rock and roll star on the way down as the result of too many tours, too much booze, and just enough nose candy. He is nearly unemployable and deep in debt. One night he staggers into a club and sees Barbara singing in a group called the Oreos (her back-up singers are both black). He realizes that she has the talent to make it. The two fall in love, marry, and she becomes a big star, while he continues his downward spiral in her shadow.

I loved some of Babs's earlier comedies like The Owl and the Pussycat,  For Pete's Sake, and What's Up Doc. She has some talent at slapstick, and mugs well for the camera, but her dramatic efforts are another story. Yentl, which she spent her own money on because nobody else would produce it, was a legendary flop. Even Funny Girl, for which she won an Oscar, left me cold. In short, I can enjoy her being funny, or singing, but not trying to do drama.

On the other hand, Streisand was at the top of her game musically here, and is on solid ground whenever she is singing. If you don't remember the film, I know you remember the theme song, Evergreen, with music by Barbara Streisand and lyrics by Paul Williams. If a song award existed in 1972, Evergreen either won it or was nominated for it. It won an Oscar, ASCAP and Golden Globes, and was nominated for BAFTAs and a Grammy.

Kris Kristofferson is one of those people who is always likable on screen, so if Kristofferson's laid-back charm, and Barbra's renditions of award-winning songs is enough for you, this new DVD release is one you may well want. The transfer is very nice, and it includes commentary from Miss Streisand as well as several deleted scenes. If only this wasn't a six-hankie tragic love story, I might have enjoyed it.



  • Commentary by Barbra Streisand
  • Additional scenes with optional commentary by Barbra Streisand
  • Wardrobe tests with commentary by Barbra Streisand (includes montage cut to the song "Queen Bee" from the original wardrobe tests)
  • Trailer gallery


  • La Streisand shows part of her areolae in a love scene.

  • Marta Heflin, as a wannabe reporter, shows breasts.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus:  two and a half stars out of four. Roger Ebert 2.5/4, TV Guide 3/4.


The People Vote ...

  • Box Office Mojo. Streisand was a major star with a devoted following, and this was a hit in spit of poor reviews. It was released on Christmas Eve, and grossed $63 million. (The #2 picture of the year behind Rocky)
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a C as a musical tragedy.

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