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Lust for Life (1956)


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Release Date: Jan 1, 1956 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 3,073

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Movie Info

This filmed biography of Vincent Van Gogh was adapted by Norman Corwin from the best-selling novel by Irving Stone, which was in turn inspired by the written correspondence between Van Gogh and his brother Theo. Kirk Douglas plays the tormented genius, whose obsessive devotion to his art engulfs, consumes, and finally destroys him. James Donald costars as Theo Van Gogh, who provides financial and moral support to his brother from the time Vincent leaves his Holland home in 1878 to his death in


Drama, Classics


Norman Corwin

Jan 31, 2006


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All Critics (15) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (0) | DVD (7)

One of Minnelli's best pictures, a visually stunning portrait of Van Gogh, splendidly played by Kirk Douglas

April 3, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Horrifying - but informative - tragic biography of Van Gogh, with a look at his painting technique and location filming of the places he lived.

July 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television | Comment (1)
Classic Film and Television

A competently made and acted biopic on the Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh (Kirk Douglas), that's nevertheless uninspiring.

April 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Minnelli's most visually evocative and most personal film--the only project he initiated during his tenure at MGM--centers on Van Gogh as a tormented, uncompromising artist, magnificently played by Kirk Douglas.

January 24, 2007 Full Review Source: Screendaily

The movie, attractive as it may be, never 'breaks through the iron wall' between what is felt and what is expressed, the very wall that van Gogh himself strove to overcome.

January 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Audience Reviews for Lust for Life

Vincent Van Gogh struggles with mental illness on his path to becoming a renowned artist.
Kirk Douglas could be a perfect Vincent Van Gogh, able to reach the emotional depths of the character and charismatic enough to be a believable tortured artist, but this film is poorly structured and statically directed. The film's structure doesn't give us a central conflict: what stands in Van Gogh's way? What is the nature of his mental illness, if that's what it is? What makes him a good artist but a malcontented person? Additionally, Vincente Minnelli's camera never moves. He sets the camera on a tripod in a studio with an obviously painted background behind the action. It's filmmaking stuck in the early days of Hollywood, and it doesn't give us the chance to see all that Douglas's performance could offer.
Overall, there is a lot of potential in this film, but it's sadly unfulfilled.
July 1, 2014
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Fantastic as classic movies get. Well acted, well scripted, shot vibrantly and as impressionable in memory as films go as van Gogh's paintings spinning a classic tale of human drama that is moving, meditative, endearing and fulfilling of the heart.
August 17, 2012
Adriel Lim

Super Reviewer

Pretty to look at? You betcha! Its about Dutch painter numero uno, duh. Informative? Are you kiddin'? Did you know a lot of famous artists hung out in Paris? Yep. So why's this fail to connect? Kirk is there, wringin' his hands every chance he gets. Quinn is there, and he's not happy about the hand wringin'. So wat happened? I think the subject matter spooked the makers ...
August 10, 2011

Super Reviewer

Douglas plays Van Gogh, and does a great job, if only the rest of the cast were as good as him, this would be a fantastic movie. Still I really liked it, and if you like Douglas you should see his performance in this movie.
November 14, 2010

Super Reviewer

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  • Lust for Life (UK)
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