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Lust for Life (1956)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  15 September 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 6,851 users  
Reviews: 65 user | 49 critic

The life of brilliant but tortured artist Vincent van Gogh.


, (uncredited)


(screen play), (based on the novel by)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pamela Brown ...
Niall MacGinnis ...
Noel Purcell ...
Anton Mauve
Madge Kennedy ...
Jill Bennett ...
Dr. Peyron
Laurence Naismith ...
Dr. Bosman
Jeanette Sterke ...
Toni Gerry ...


Vincent Van Gogh is the archetypical tortured artistic genius. His obsession with painting, combined with mental illness, propels him through an unhappy life full of failures and unrewarding relationships. He fails at being a preacher to coal miners. He fails in his relationships with women. He earns some respect among his fellow painters, especially Paul Gauguin, but he does not get along with them. He only manages to sell one painting in his lifetime. The one constant good in his life is his brother Theo, who is unwavering in his moral and financial support. Written by John Oswalt <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE MOST REVEALING LIFE-INSPIRED STORY EVER FILMED! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Biography | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 September 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La vie passionnée de Vincent van Gogh  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Perspecta Sound® encoding) (35 mm optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)| (35 mm magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Vincente Minnelli had a portion of a field spray-painted yellow to closer resemble Vincent van Gogh's painting. See more »


A painting of Roulin is shown displayed in Theo's house before Van Gogh has met him. See more »


Vincent Van Gogh: If I'm to be anything as a painter I've got to break through that iron wall between what I feel and what I express. my best chance of doing it is here, where my roots are... the people I know, the earth I know.
See more »


Referenced in Dutch Girls (1985) See more »


Arranged by Miklós Rózsa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Okay, But It Should Have Been Much More
20 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The best part of this film was to see so many of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings. There must have been at least a hundred of them shown in this movie.

It's a biography of a tragic life, one of the most famous artists of all time, and a tortured soul, but the film isn't as interesting as one would hope for such a figure.

It just doesn't have the emotion and the charisma of "Moulin Rouge" (1952) in which we see the bio of another famous French painter of that era: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Kirk Douglas is okay as Van Gogh, perhaps not up to Jose Frerrer's high standards with Toulouse-Lautrec, but still convincing in showing the artist's desperate fight against loneliness and his passion for his artwork.

I am probably being too harsh constantly comparing this to Moulin Rouge but I also noticed a big difference in the cinematography, too. This just wasn't as visually striking as it should be, especially since Van Gogh loved to paint in the beautiful French countryside.

The film still has its merits and thankfully didn't get depressing dwelling on Van Gogh's mental problems. It also had good supporting roles turned in by James Donald and Anthony Quinn.

I was still anxious to see this on a widescreen DVD when it was issued in recent months but every report I read said the DVD transfer was poor, a big disappointment.

24 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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