‘A Star Is Born’: Which Version is Best?

The 1976 film is awful, but compelling cases can be made for the supremacy of the other three

Bradley Cooper, who also directed, and Lady Gaga star in the 2018 version of “A Star Is Born,” the fourth version of one of Hollywood’s favorite stories. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Janet Gaynor, grasping her character’s Oscar, appears with, from left, Fredric March and Adolphe Menjou in the 1937 film “A Star Is Born.” Photo courtesy of United Artists
James Mason, as a drunken Norman Maine, disrupts the Oscar acceptance speech of Vicki Lester, played by Judy Garland, in the 1954 version of “A Star Is Born.” Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, as Esther Hoffman Howard and John Norman Howard, share the stage in 1976’s “A Star Is Born.” Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga work on a song in the 2018 remake of “A Star Is Born.” Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Todd Hill is a former journalist with 30 years of experience, much of it in film criticism, who misses neither journalism nor the film beat.

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