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Film / A Star Is Born

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The 1954 version.

"Hello, everybody. This is Mrs. Norman Maine."
Vicki Lester, delivering the first two versions' classic last line

A story so memorable they filmed it four times.

A Star is Born was first made in 1937, co-written and directed by William A. Wellman and staring Fredric March and Janet Gaynor. The second time was in 1954, directed by George Cukor and starring Judy Garland and James Mason. The third time, it was in 1976, with Frank Pierson directing and Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson starring. A fourth film adaptation, directed by Bradley Cooper and starring himself and Lady Gaga, was released in 2018.

In all four versions, a young starlet named Esther Blodgettnote  meets has-been star Norman Maine note . He helps her get a career in show business, under the name "Vicki Lester." Just as importantly, the two fall in love and get married. However, Norman's dependency on the bottle gets in the way of their marriage, leading to tragedy and despair.


This work features examples of:

  • Award Show: In the first two versions, Vicki wins an Oscar. This leads to a memorable drunken disruption by Norman:
    "I want a statue for the Worst Performance of the year!"
  • The Alcoholic: Norman's addiction of choice, which takes a toll on his career and personal relationships.
  • Award-Bait Song: The remakes had "The Man Who Got Away", "Evergreen" and "Shallow" nominated for the Best Song Oscar; the first one was the only one that didn't win. The 2018 remake also had "I'll Never Love Again."
  • Driven to Suicide: Norman strolls into the ocean.
  • Forgotten Trope: The 1954 film had a specimen of the ballet sequence on film in the "Born in a trunk" sequence.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Vicki and Norman get married after knowing each other for only a short while.
  • Groupie Brigade
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Norman's implied main motivation for his suicide, after he overhears Esther/Vicki say that she is willing to give up her career to help him.
  • Advertisement:
  • Jerkass: The press agent Libby, as well as the fans who have zero empathy after Norman's suicide and reassure Vicki that "he was nothing."
  • Meaningful Echo: "Do you mind if I take just one more look?"
  • Nice Girl: Vicki is a kind, selfless woman who quickly becomes beloved by audiences across the country.
  • Office Golf: Norman plays golf in his living room.
  • Pygmalion Plot: The backwoods Esther becomes the beloved, stunning starlet Vicki Lester.
  • Setting Update: The 1976 film, unlike the first two versions, specifically had Esther break-in to the music industry. A Grammy award replaces the Oscar. The 2018 remake follows that version.
  • Suicide by Sea: Norman Maine kills himself by walking into the ocean after his career tanks and his depression worsens.
  • Suicide for Others' Happiness: Explicit in the first and second versions. Norman "goes for a swim," so it looks like an accident, so Vicki will grieve him but she won't blame herself. The third version leaves his death ambiguous.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Gender-flipped with Norman. Instead of aging out of his looks, his alcoholism and terrible attitude is wrecking his career.


Example of: