MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 10 this week

Imitation of Life (1934)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  26 November 1934 (USA)
7.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,227 users  
Reviews: 54 user | 19 critic

Bea Pullman and her daughter Jessie have had a hard time making ends meet since Bea's husband died. Help comes in the form of Delilah Johnson, who agrees to work as Bea's housekeeper in ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay), 10 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Fall TV Premiere Week

Many of your favorite shows are coming back, along with plenty of series premieres. Here's a list of the shows premiering between Sunday, September 21 and Friday, September 26.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 21 titles
created 03 Feb 2011
 
a list of 34 titles
created 24 Nov 2011
 
a list of 28 titles
created 23 Sep 2012
 
a list of 35 titles
created 31 Dec 2012
 
a list of 36 titles
created 09 Mar 2013
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Imitation of Life (1934)

Imitation of Life (1934) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Imitation of Life.

User Polls

Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Cleopatra (1934)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The man-hungry Queen of Egypt leads Julius Caesar and Marc Antony astray, amid scenes of DeMillean splendor.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Henry Wilcoxon
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

John has lead a solitary life for thirty years since the death of Moonyeen Clare. But now Owens, a close friend, insists that he care for his niece, Kathleen, orphaned when her parents were... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Franklin
Stars: Norma Shearer, Fredric March, Leslie Howard
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A gangster tries to make Apple Annie, the Times Square apple seller, a lady for a day.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Warren William, May Robson, Guy Kibbee
Torch Singer (1933)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When she can't support her illegitimate child, an abandoned young woman puts her up for adoption and pursues a career as a torch singer.

Directors: Alexander Hall, George Somnes
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Ricardo Cortez, David Manners
Alice Adams (1935)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The misadventures of two social-climbing women in small town America.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Fred MacMurray, Fred Stone
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The title represents the hopeful, ambitious students at a hospital training school and is primarily a story of the stern discipline and laborious physical and mental toil they endure in ... See full summary »

Director: Irving Cummings
Stars: Loretta Young, John Boles, Dorothy Wilson
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Lieutenant Niki of the Austrian royal guard has a new girlfriend, Franzi. He's crazy about her and is smiling at her while on duty in the street. King Adolf and his daughter Princess Anna ... See full summary »

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An investigative reporter romances a suspected smuggler's daughter.

Director: James Cruze
Stars: Ben Lyon, Claudette Colbert, Ernest Torrence
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Four passengers escape their bubonic plague-infested ship and land on the coast of a wild jungle. In order to reach safety they have to trek through the jungle, facing wild animals and attacks by primitive tribesmen.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Herbert Marshall, Mary Boland
Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Mike Hoolboom
Stars: Liza Agrba, Bill Evans, Janieta Eyre
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In this screwball comedy a WW2 US pilot bombs a Japanese aircraft carrier, is assumed to be dead, and then is misquoted in the press as fondly remembering his days back home walking his dog... See full summary »

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, Gil Lamb
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A penniless socialite is hired by two young men as a front in their plan to start a magazine. Soon, however, they find themselves more interested in her than in their publishing venture.

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, Robert Young
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Warren William ...
Rochelle Hudson ...
Ned Sparks ...
Louise Beavers ...
Fredi Washington ...
Juanita Quigley ...
...
Martin, the Furniture Man
Henry Armetta ...
The Painter
Wyndham Standing ...
Jarvis, Beatrice's Butler
Edit

Storyline

Bea Pullman and her daughter Jessie have had a hard time making ends meet since Bea's husband died. Help comes in the form of Delilah Johnson, who agrees to work as Bea's housekeeper in exchange for a room for herself and her daughter Peola. Bea comes up with a plan to market Delilah's pancake recipe. The two soon become wealthy and as the years go on, their friendship deepens. Their relationships with their daughters, however, become strained. Ashamed of her mother, Peola seeks a new life by passing for white. Bea's love for her daughter is tested when she and Jessie fall for the same man. Written by <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Claudette Colbert at her finest in Imitation of Life (re-release) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 November 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Imitación de la vida  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Lukas was the original choice for the male lead. See more »

Quotes

Jessie Pullman, Age 18: After all, what's the good of algebra and all that stuff to a girl?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Reissue prints of this film, issued after Carl Laemmle's ouster and retirement from Universal, read "The New Universal Presents [Claudette Colbert and Warren William in 'Imitation of Life']" rather than "Carl Laemmle Presents [Claudette Colbert and Warren William in 'Imitation of Life']" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Mouth (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Home, Sweet Home
(uncredited)
Music partly composed, and arranged by H.R. Bishop from a Sicilian air
Played by the band at the end of the party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Yes, it is a classic
18 February 2003 | by (Paris, Texas) – See all my reviews

I hope this film will be restored and put on DVD soon. It is a classic and a worthy addition to the film buff's library. Imitation of Life is not a perfect film, but considering that it was made in 1934, it deserves recognition. The film tells of two women, one white one black. Each has a daughter. Single moms and interracial friendships in 1934? Yes, it is true that the black woman, Delilah is subservient, but this is true to the times and she should not be criticized for it. Both these woman want a better life for their daughters and work together to do so. It is a sad, but realistic fact that neither daughter is happy with the better life. Delilah's daughter is very light-skinned and wants to pass for white for she knows in this era that the only opportunities are for whites. The later version starring Lana Turner is a poor substitute for this one. Lana tends to over act and the friendship between the two women is severely downplayed. It is true that in this film the camera seems to pause on the actors' faces over long, but this I think is a holdover from the silent film era when acting had to be done by facial expression instead of voice.

While this film is flawed it is a good film for young people in that it shows the changes made in our society both for single moms and for blacks.


12 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Does Peola have a white father? xomimiox
anybody else find this movie very offensive? chris-e-lee
Is the 1934 version better? vanjac12
20% of profits for a black woman in 1939.... unlikely_protagonist
AM I THE ONLY ONE....? dadbowen-1
I'm confused about Jesse's comment... lyndadavis_07
Discuss Imitation of Life (1934) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?