IMDb > I Want to Live! (1958)
I Want to Live!
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I Want to Live! (1958) More at IMDbPro »

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User Rating:
7.5/10   4,527 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Nelson Gidding (screenplay) and
Don Mankiewicz (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for I Want to Live! on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 December 1958 (Italy) See more »
The true story of Barbara Graham-whose murder trial shocked the world! See more »
A prostitute, sentenced to death for murder, pleads her innocence. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Won Oscar. Another 8 wins & 13 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Bravado Performance In Intense Drama See more (63 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Susan Hayward ... Barbara Graham

Simon Oakland ... Edward S. 'Ed' Montgomery

Virginia Vincent ... Peg

Theodore Bikel ... Carl G.G. Palmberg

Wesley Lau ... Henry L. Graham

Philip Coolidge ... Emmett Perkins
Lou Krugman ... John R. 'Jack' Santo
James Philbrook ... Bruce King

Bartlett Robinson ... District Attorney Milton
Gage Clarke ... Attorney Richard G. Tibrow

Joe De Santis ... Al Matthews

John Marley ... Father Devers

Raymond Bailey ... San Quentin Warden
Alice Backes ... Barbara, San Quentin Nurse
Gertrude Flynn ... San Quentin Matron

Russell Thorson ... San Quentin Sgt.

Dabbs Greer ... San Quentin Capt.

Stafford Repp ... Police Sgt.

Gavin MacLeod ... Police Lt.
Wendell Holmes ... Detective
Gerry Mulligan ... Jazz Combo Member

Shelly Manne ... Jazz Combo Member
Red Mitchell ... Jazz Combo Member
Art Farmer ... Jazz Combo Member
Frank Rosolino ... Jazz Combo Member
Pete Jolly ... Jazz Combo Member
Bud Shank ... Jazz Combo Member
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Leonard Bell ... San Francisco Hood (uncredited)

Olive Blakeney ... Corona Warden (uncredited)
Eumenio Blanco ... Courtroom Spectator (uncredited)
Paul Bradley ... Reporter (uncredited)

Peter Breck ... Ben Miranda (uncredited)
George Bruggeman ... Bailiff (uncredited)
George Chester ... Courtroom Spectator (uncredited)

Noble 'Kid' Chissell ... Guard (uncredited)
Pearl S. Cooper ... Convict (uncredited)
Russell Custer ... Police Officer (uncredited)
Charles Fredericks ... Sucker at Card Game (uncredited)
Wesley Gale ... Spectator Outside Courtroom (uncredited)

Lew Gallo ... Mr. Thomas - Undercover Cop at Bar (uncredited)

Paul Genge ... Police Inspector (uncredited)

John George ... Courtroom Spectator (uncredited)
Bobby Gilbert ... Courtroom Spectator (uncredited)

James Gonzalez ... Reporter in Courtroom (uncredited)
Charles H. Gray ... Luke (uncredited)
Robert Haines ... Court Clerk (uncredited)

Brett Halsey ... Sailor at Party (uncredited)
Michael Hinn ... Bailiff (uncredited)

George Hoagland ... Reporter (uncredited)

Stuart Holmes ... Loafer with Cigar (uncredited)
Jason Johnson ... Bixel, the Landlord (uncredited)

Kenner G. Kemp ... Reporter in Courtroom (uncredited)

Helen Kleeb ... Prison Matron (uncredited)
Joseph La Cava ... Courtroom Spectator (uncredited)
Mike Lally ... Reporter in Courtroom (uncredited)

Rusty Lane ... Judge (uncredited)

S. John Launer ... San Quentin Officer (uncredited)

Len Lesser ... Charlie, Newspaperman (uncredited)

Jon Lormer ... San Quentin Doctor (uncredited)

Herbert Lytton ... Newspaperman (uncredited)
James Maloney ... Prison Dentist (uncredited)
Marion Marshall ... Rita (uncredited)

Ken Mayer ... Drunk at Party (uncredited)
Hans Moebus ... Bar Patron (uncredited)
George Nardelli ... Juror (uncredited)
Charles Perry ... Courtroom Spectator (uncredited)

Joe Ploski ... Courtroom Spectator (uncredited)

George Putnam ... George Putnam - TV Newsman (uncredited)
Fred Rapport ... Juror (uncredited)
Robert Robinson ... Courtroom Spectator (uncredited)
Gene Roth ... Eric, Machinist (uncredited)
John Roy ... Attorney (uncredited)
Herman Rudin ... Detective (uncredited)

Cosmo Sardo ... Spectator Outside Courtroom (uncredited)
Evelyn Scott ... Personal Effects Clerk (uncredited)
Dan Sheridan ... Police Broadcaster (uncredited)
Bill Stout ... Bill Stout - TV Newsman (uncredited)
Brick Sullivan ... Witness at Execution (uncredited)

Hope Summers ... Ethel - Policewoman on Bus (uncredited)
Lorna Thayer ... Corona Guard (uncredited)

Guy Way ... Courtroom Spectator (uncredited)

Jack Weston ... NCO at Party (uncredited)
Bob Whitney ... Police Officer (uncredited)
Chalky Williams ... Bailiff (uncredited)

Than Wyenn ... San Francisico Hood (uncredited)

Directed by
Robert Wise 
Writing credits
Nelson Gidding (screenplay) and
Don Mankiewicz (screenplay) (as Don M. Mankiewicz)

Ed Montgomery (newspaper articles)

Barbara Graham (letters)

Produced by
Walter Wanger .... producer
Original Music by
Johnny Mandel (jazz music) (as John Mandel)
Cinematography by
Lionel Lindon 
Film Editing by
William Hornbeck 
Casting by
Lynn Stalmaster 
Set Decoration by
Victor A. Gangelin  (as Victor Gangelin)
Ted Haworth (settings) (as Edward Haworth)
Makeup Department
Emmy Eckhardt .... hair stylist
Jack Stone .... makeup artist
Thomas Tuttle .... makeup artist (as Tom Tuttle)
Lillian Ugrin .... hair stylist (as Lillian Hokom Ugrin)
Production Management
Forrest E. Johnston .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
George Vieira .... assistant director
Sound Department
Fred Lau .... sound recordist
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Angela Alexander .... costumer
Wesley Jeffries .... costumer
Music Department
Art Farmer .... jazz musician
Johnny Mandel .... conductor (as John Mandel)
Shelly Manne .... jazz musician
Red Mitchell .... jazz musician
Gerry Mulligan .... jazz musician
Bud Shank .... jazz musician
Jack Sheldon .... musician: trumpet (uncredited)
Other crew
Ed Montgomery .... presenter (as Edmund S. Montgomery)
Stanley Scheuer .... script supervisor
Mary D. Mascari .... background actress (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
120 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Argentina:16 | Australia:SOA | Finland:K-16 | Finland:(Banned) (1959) | Netherlands:18 (original rating) | Sweden:15 | UK:X (original rating) (cut) | UK:15 (video rating) (1998) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating) | USA:Approved (certificate #19142) | West Germany:18

Did You Know?

Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who owned the company producing the film, insisted that there be some anti-capital punishment rhetoric at the end of the film. Wise was sure that if the audience wasn't convinced by then, a few platitudes wouldn't make a difference. Gidding wrote it, and Wise shot it, but in the end Mankiewicz's ending wasn't used.See more »
Revealing mistakes: 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 she throws her weight onto it.See more »
Barbara Graham:I never even knew the dame.
Police lieutenant:You know she's been murdered, don't you?
Barbara Graham:Yeah. So was Julius Caesar. I didn't know him either.
See more »
Movie Connections:


What does Barbara whisper to the priest just before she steps into the gas chamber?
Any recommendations for other movies that are set on Death Row?
Who is Barbara Graham?
See more »
28 out of 33 people found the following review useful.
Bravado Performance In Intense Drama, 24 April 2005
Author: gftbiloxi ( from Biloxi, Mississippi

Barbara Graham was a known prostitute with criminal associates. In the early 1950s, Graham and two men were accused of and arrested for the brutal murder of elderly Mable Monahan during the course of a robbery. Convicted and sentenced to death in California's gas chamber, Graham protested her innocence to the end--and many considered that she was less a criminal than a victim of circumstance and that she had been railroaded to conviction and execution. The celebrated 1958 film I WANT TO LIVE follows this point of view, presenting Graham as a thoroughly tough gal who in spite of her background was essentially more sinned against than sinner, and the result is an extremely intense, gripping film that shakes its viewers to the core.

The film has a stark, realistic look, an excellent script, a pounding jazz score, and a strong supporting cast--but it is Susan Hayward's legendary performance that makes the film work. She gives us a Graham who is half gun moll, half good time girl, and tough as nails all the way through--but who is nonetheless likable, perhaps even admirable in her flat rebellion against a sickeningly hypocritical and repulsively white-bread society. Although Hayward seems slightly artificial in the film's opening scenes, she quickly rises to the challenge of the role and gives an explosive performance as notable for its emotional hysteria as for its touching humanity.

As the story moves toward its climax, the detail with which director Wise shows preparations for execution in the gas chamber and the intensity of Hayward's performance add up to one of the most powerful sequences in film history. Ironically, Hayward privately stated that her own research led her to believe that Graham was guilty as sin--and today most people who have studied the case tend to believe that Graham was guilty indeed. But whether the real-life Barbara Graham was innocent or guilty, this is a film that delivers one memorable, jolting, and very, very disturbing ride. Strongly recommended, but not for the faint of heart.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer

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