Lust for Life (1956)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

The troubled life of famed painter Vincent Van Gogh is the subject of Vincent Minnelli's adaptation of Irving Stone's fictionalized biography. Kirk Douglas stars as the Dutch painter, who endured a life of squalor and hardship for the sake of his art, which went virtually unnoticed in his own time.
Classics , Drama
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Kirk Douglas
as Vincent Van Gogh
Anthony Quinn
as Paul Gauguin
Pamela Brown
as Christine
Everett Sloane
as Dr. Gachet
James Donald
as Theo Van Gogh
Noel Purcell
as Anton Mauve
Henry Daniell
as Theodorus Van Gogh
Madge Kennedy
as Anna Cornelia Van Gogh
Jill Bennett II
as Willemien
Lionel Jeffries
as Dr. Peyron
Laurence Naismith
as Dr. Bosman
Eric Pohlmann
as Colbert
Toni Gerry
as Johanna
Wilton Graff
as Rev. Stricker
Isobel Elsom
as Mrs. Stricker
David Horne
as Rev. Peeters
Noel Howlett
as Commissioner Van Den Berghe
Ronald Adam
as Commissioner De Smet
John Ruddock
as Ducrucq
David Leonard
as Camille Pissarro
William Phipps
as Emile Bernard
David Bond
as Seurat
Frank Perls
as Pere Tanguy
Jay Adler
as Waiter
Laurence Badie
as Adeline Ravoux
Rex Evans
as Durand-Ruel
Marion Ross
as Sister Clothilde
Mitzi Blake
as Elizabeth
Anthony Eustrel
as Tersteeg
Jerry Bergen
as Henri de Toulouse Lautrec
Belle Mitchell
as Mme. Tanguy
Alec Mango
as Dr. Rey
Fred Johnson
as Cordan
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Critic Reviews for Lust for Life

All Critics (10)

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

Full Review… | April 3, 2011

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

Full Review… | July 18, 2009
Classic Film and Television

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

Full Review… | April 24, 2009
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.

Full Review… | January 24, 2007

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.

Full Review… | January 28, 2006
Movie Metropolis

Quote not available.

January 15, 2005

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.

Jim Hunter
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.

Adriel Lim
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 ...

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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