I Want to Live! (1958)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  18 November 1958 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 4,109 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 23 critic

A prostitute, sentenced to death for alleged murder, pleads her innocence.



(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Don M. Mankiewicz) , 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward S. 'Ed' Montgomery
Virginia Vincent ...
Carl G.G. Palmberg
Wesley Lau ...
Henry L. Graham
Philip Coolidge ...
Emmett Perkins
Lou Krugman ...
John R. 'Jack' Santo
Bruce King
Bartlett Robinson ...
District Attorney Milton
Gage Clarke ...
Attorney Richard G. Tibrow
Joe De Santis ...
Al Matthews
Father Devers
San Quentin Warden
Alice Backes ...
Barbara, San Quentin Nurse
Gertrude Flynn ...
San Quentin Matron


Barbara Graham is a woman with dubious moral standards, often a guest in seedy bars. She has been sentenced for some petty crimes. Two men she knows murder an older woman. When they get caught they start to think that Barbara has helped the police to arrest them. As a revenge they tell the police that Barbara is the murderer. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Barbara Graham's Last Scream From Gas Chamber...


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Release Date:

18 November 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Barbara Graham Story  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Even though she portrayed Barbara Graham as a tragic victim of circumstance, Susan Hayward later admitted that after doing some extensive research on the real Graham, she was most likely guilty of the murder of Mabel Monohan. See more »


When Barbara's son is brought to the jail for a visit, and the presence of the news media upsets Barbara, she retreats to an interior area of the jail and pounds on the wall in frustration. The "brick" wall gives slightly as he throws her weight onto it. See more »


Police Inspector: We have a tough, ugly job to do and you're making it tougher and uglier for all of us.
Barbara Graham: My heart bleeds for you. How can I help you Inspector, buy a few tickets to the policemen's ball?
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Teen-Age Crime Wave (1994) See more »


Performed by:
Art Farmer (trumpet)
Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax)
Frank Rosolino (trombone)
Bud Shank (alto sax and flute)
Pete Jolly (piano)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Shelly Manne (drums)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

This hidden masterpiece seems contemporary
30 September 2009 | by (Tokyo, Japan) – See all my reviews

This seems like a documentary film and is so powerful and persuasive that all the viewers would be forced to concentrate on it. Susan Hayward, a Hollywood actor out of Hollywood actors, is never trying to act well, but only "exists" in the film. She really deserved an Oscar of this year. All the other supporting actors are so real that they do not look like actors. Thus this film looks so contemporary that we cannot believe it was shot 50 years ago. Whether the ending is happy or not, such method of filming gives us a strong impression which lasts for a long time. I adore this film, which must be one of the best Robert Wise films, and it is a pity that relatively few people have seen it. I would be most delighted to advise all my friends and acquaintances to see it.

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