Lust for Life (1956)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  15 September 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 6,923 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 best-seller comes to the screen...the drama of a man who lived with insatiable passion. See more »


Biography | Drama


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 September 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La vie passionnée de Vincent van Gogh  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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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
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Did You Know?


The color process used for the film (Ansco color, but labeled in the credits as Metrocolor) is supposedly unsuitable for long term color preservation. As a result, many prints have lost the extraordinary brightness of the movie's images. See more »


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


Vincent Van Gogh: I tried to show a place where a man can ruin himself, go mad... commit a crime.
See more »


Referenced in Primetime Glick: Bill Maher/Steve Martin (2001) See more »


Arranged by Miklós Rózsa
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A fantastic biographical movie
15 October 1998 | by (West Indies) – See all my reviews

Kurt Douglas as Vincent Van Gogh is absolutely amazing. He captures the frenetic passion with which Van Gogh painted. The movie has all the main influencing factors of his life and all of the master's difficulties, trials and illnesses.

The film shows Van Gogh's love of painting. He once wrote to his brother that it was impossible to see the world and not want to paint it. He saw the goodness of the simple people and showed his sympathy for them. Van Gogh's style showed the energy of nature and the toil of the poor. Van Gogh comes through as a man desperately trying to paint enough of the beauty he saw, at one moment bristling with positive energy and at the next unsure of himself and afraid of being always alone.

I was touched by Lust for Life and could not help finding sympathy with Van Gogh despite hs arguing with other painters and and falling in love with an ill prostitute and his societal awkwardness and so on. He came through not as a misfit really, but as one who was not meant for society, and a man to whom society wore upon.

The movie is excellent and moving and the end is truly beautiful in its tragedy. It is impossible to mention all the aspects of the movie I liked but this movie can be seen based on Douglas's performance alone.

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

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