97 user 71 critic

The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

Unrated | | Drama, Romance | 9 February 1953 (Brazil)
2:40 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $9.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

An unscrupulous movie producer uses an actress, a director and a writer to achieve success.



(screenplay), (story)
Won 5 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Lust for Life (1956)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The life of brilliant but tortured artist Vincent van Gogh.

Directors: Vincente Minnelli, George Cukor
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, James Donald
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A married woman and a drifter fall in love, then plot to murder her husband. Once the deed is done, they must live with the consequences of their actions.

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A pretentiously artistic director is hired for a new Broadway musical and changes it beyond recognition.

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Oscar Levant
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A potentially violent screenwriter is a murder suspect until his lovely neighbor clears him. But she begins to have doubts...

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After spending three years in an asylum, a washed-up actor views a minor assignment from his old director in Rome as a chance for personal and professional redemption.

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, Cyd Charisse
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

On one day in the 21st Precinct squad room, assorted characters form a backdrop for the troubles of hard-nosed Detective Jim McLeod.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, William Bendix
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A writer meets a young socialite on board a train. The two fall in love and are married soon after, but her obsessive love for him threatens to be the undoing of both them and everyone else around them.

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain
Certificate: Passed Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Three friends struggle to find work in Paris. Things become more complicated when two of them fall in love with the same woman.

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A struggling young actress with a six year-old daughter sets up housekeeping with a homeless black widow and her light-skinned eight year-old daughter who rejects her mother by trying to pass for white.

Director: Douglas Sirk
Stars: Lana Turner, John Gavin, Sandra Dee
Certificate: Passed Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A major heist goes off as planned, until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen


Complete credited cast:
Sammy White ...
Ivan Triesault ...


Told in flashback form, the film traces the rise and fall of a tough, ambitious Hollywood producer Jonathan Shields, as seen through the eyes of various acquaintances, including a writer James Lee Bartlow, a star Georgia Lorrison and a director Fred Amiel. He is a hard-driving, ambitious man who ruthlessly uses everyone - including the writer, star and director - on the way to becoming one of Hollywood's top movie makers. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


I took you out of the gutter . . . I can fling you back! See more »


Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 February 1953 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Memorial to a Bad Man  »

Box Office


$1,558,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The character played by Kathleen Freeman was based on Alfred Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville. See more »


When Jonathan is having his dramatic outburst with Georgia in the foyer of his home after she has left her premiere party to see him, in the various perspective cuts, his hair alternates between being wildly disheveled to neat and combed in place. See more »


Jonathan Shields: Look. Put five men dressed like cats on the screen, what do they look like?
Fred: Like five men dressed like cats.
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Mouth 2 (2014) See more »


Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Performed by Hadda Brooks with Milton Raskin at the piano
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

a movie that embraces the Hollywood studio machine while putting a harsh criticism of it
6 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

That one line summary makes me sound like I'm calling the Bad and the Beautiful a case in 'tough love', where director Vincente Minnelli wags his finger at what happens to some people (cough, David O. Selznick, cough), while also showing too the joys of working in the business. But it's a business at its most booming time, coming out of the 40s where the producer was king, and the director had to vie for room at times to really get his vision in. Here the producer Jonathan Shields is played by Kirk Douglas as someone with big ideas at first- he even has an idea to help make a scary movie about cats even more frightening by not showing the cats (echoes of Val Lewton). Soon he rises the ranks and becomes big enough to really call the shots all he wants, but it also gets in the way of personal relationships, severs ties, and sometimes even makes him out to be monstrous (there's one shot I remember all the time where Douglas, in a big fit of anger against Lana Turner's character, seems like he's a whole foot taller with the ego almost manifested). The narrative of the film is a retelling by people who knew him, a sexy but soon disillusioned actress, a director who once worked with Shields but then got cut off from him, and a writer played by Dick Powell.

Rashomon or Citizen Kane it is not in trying to reveal more grandiose and amazing things about human nature, but rather a supreme rumination on the good times and the bad times, possibly more of the latter. What's great about Douglas's portrayal is that through the stories from the three ex-friends and co-workers and lovers, he becomes a very well-rounded character. At the core, of course, is the producer who at the time had as more creative say than anyone else on the set. This brings some of the great scenes ever shown about movie-making, such as the moment when Amiel, the director, tries to put Jonathan in his place about how a scene should be shot, "in order to direct a picture you need humility". Another comes with the moment when Jonathan and his soon to be 'asistant to the producer' has to object out of just being stunned. But more than Douglas, it's also tremendous, memorable screen time for Lana Turner, perhaps in her most successful performance in just sheer acting terms (not necessarily just in presence or style like in other pictures), and for Dick Powell, who with this and Murder My Sweet has two defining roles outside of his usual niche.

With many sweet camera moves, a script that crackles with the kind of scenes and dialog that makes one wish for the glory times of Hollywood's Golden Age, and at least four or five really excellent performances, The Bad and the Beautiful might not be as astounding and near-perfect as 8 1/2 or as funny as Bowfinger, but it ranks up there with the best movies about movie-making, and can make for some fine entertainment even for those who aren't really interested in how movies are made.

21 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Barbara Billingsly Mkeydude
Lana Turners Driving rchristiananderson
The Ending....? meredity13
What about Novak? fourvin-2
Ending of 'The Bad + The Beautiful Woodie
Gloria's Character Napoleon799
Discuss The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: