7.5/10
4,498
63 user 31 critic

I Want to Live! (1958)

A prostitute, sentenced to death for murder, pleads her innocence.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Don M. Mankiewicz) | 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Edward S. 'Ed' Montgomery
...
Peg
...
Carl G.G. Palmberg
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Henry L. Graham
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Emmett Perkins
Lou Krugman ...
John R. 'Jack' Santo
James Philbrook ...
Bruce King
...
District Attorney Milton
Gage Clarke ...
Attorney Richard G. Tibrow
Joe De Santis ...
Al Matthews
...
Father Devers
...
San Quentin Warden
Alice Backes ...
Barbara, San Quentin Nurse
Gertrude Flynn ...
San Quentin Matron
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Storyline

Barbara Graham is a woman with dubious moral standards, often a guest in seedy bars. She has been sentenced for some petty crimes. Two men she knows murder an older woman. When they get caught they start to think that Barbara has helped the police to arrest them. As a revenge they tell the police that Barbara is the murderer. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Barbara Graham's Last Scream From Gas Chamber... See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 December 1958 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Barbara Graham Story  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Even though she portrayed Barbara Graham as a tragic victim of circumstance, Susan Hayward later admitted that after doing some extensive research on the real Graham, she was most likely guilty of the murder of Mabel Monohan. See more »

Goofs

When Barbara wakes up screaming from a nightmare, a prison matron comes in shining a flashlight on her. In close-up, the light has a Fresnel-type lens, but in the next long shot, the flashlight has a clear lens. See more »

Quotes

Edward S. 'Ed' Montgomery: It's Mrs. Graham's tough luck to be young, attractive, belligerent, immoral... and guilty as hell.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film opens with this statement: The pitiless story told in this film is a true story. This story had to be told to the whole world; the whole world should see it and hear it. What good are films if they do not make us face the realities of our time? Here is the reality of our time, and we have no right to be ignorant of it. The day will come when such documents will seem to us to refer to prehistoric times, and we shall consider them as unbelievable that in earlier centuries witches were burned or thieves had their right hands cut off. Such period of true civilization is still in the future, but this film has the honor of at least contributing to its coming". Albert Camus - Nobel Prize winner. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Amanda Knox (2016) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An extraordinary performance by Susan Hayward.
19 September 1999 | by (Montreal, Canada) – See all my reviews

Many people recognize Susan Hayward as a great actress but if you ask them in what movie they thought she was remarkable, they'll usually tell you that they can't remember any particular classic in which she played. They'll tell you that they think she is a great actress for all the movies and roles in her career. Let's face it. She never played in a classic. There isn't one movie on AFI's top 100 list that stares her. But if you ask anybody what her best performance was, anybody will answer that it was her role as Barbara Graham in "I want to live". Sure the movie's not a classic. But she totally deserved the best actress Oscar she won for her role in it.

Barbara Graham (Hayward) is a tough, wisecracking prostitute. A real party-girl. Even when she gets arrested for murder, she keeps on joking around and p***ing-off the cops. But when she realizes that this thing is going to court and that if she's convicted, she could be executed in the gas-chamber, she doesn't see things the same way anymore. And when she thinks she has found a man that is willing to testify that she was with him on the night of the murder, he gets her to tell him that she was present at the scene of the crime. She tells him all this. But when he is summoned in court, he is the prosecution's witness and he appears to be a cop who has trapped her into telling all the evidence the prosecution needs to convict her.

Robert Wise's directing is pretty good but the two things that make this one worth watching are the music and Hayward's performance. John Mandel's choice of the blues for the music is excellent and allows us to hang on with Barbara until her very last second alive. Be forewarned: This one is 100% of a tear-jerker and requires nerves of steel to make it through the whole thing without crying. If you like Hayward, see it at all costs. However, Robert Wise has directed some better ones like "West side story" for example. But still, it's pretty good.


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