7.9/10
11,025
144 user 53 critic

Imitation of Life (1959)

Not Rated | | Drama | 30 April 1959 (USA)
Trailer
2:19 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
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:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Bea Pullman and her daughter Jessie have had a hard time making ends meet since Bea's husband died. Help comes in the form of Delilah Johnson, who agrees to work as Bea's housekeeper in ... See full summary »

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Rochelle Hudson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An upper-class widow falls in love with a much younger, down-to-earth nurseryman, much to the disapproval of her children and criticism of her country club peers.

Director: Douglas Sirk
Stars: Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Agnes Moorehead
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Alcoholic playboy Kyle Hadley marries the woman secretly loved by his poor but hard-working best friend, who in turn is pursued by Kyle's nymphomaniac sister.

Director: Douglas Sirk
Stars: Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When churlish, spoiled rich man Bob Merrick foolishly wrecks his speed boat, the rescue team resuscitates him with equipment that's therefore unavailable to aid a local hero, Dr. Wayne ... See full summary »

Director: Douglas Sirk
Stars: Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Agnes Moorehead
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Story of a friendship between an eccentric journalist and a daredevil barnstorming pilot.

Director: Douglas Sirk
Stars: Rock Hudson, Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

On the Russian front in 1944 German Private Ernst Graeber receives a leave and visits his family in Germany but Germany isn't the same country he left behind.

Director: Douglas Sirk
Stars: John Gavin, Liselotte Pulver, Jock Mahoney
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When a toy manufacturer feels ignored and unappreciated by by his wife and children, he begins to rekindle a past love when a former employee comes back into his life.

Director: Douglas Sirk
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Joan Bennett
Peyton Place (1957)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A peaceful New England town hides secrets and scandals.

Director: Mark Robson
Stars: Lana Turner, Lee Philips, Lloyd Nolan
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A pianist about to flee from a duel receives a letter from a woman he cannot remember, who may hold the key to his downfall.

Director: Max Ophüls
Stars: Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians
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
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

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

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
David Edwards
...
Karin Dicker ...
Terry Burnham ...
...
Young Man
Lee Goodman ...
Photographer
...
Showgirl
...
Frankie
...
Annette
David Tomack ...
Mr. McKenney
Edit

Storyline

Aspiring actress Lora Meredith meets Annie Johnson, a homeless black woman at Coney Island and soon they share a tiny apartment. Each woman has an intolerable daughter, though, Annie's little girl Sarah Jane, is by far the worse. Neurotic and obnoxious, Sarah Jane doesn't like being black; since she's light-skinned (her father was practically white), she spends the rest of the film passing as white, much to her mother's heartache and shame. Lora, meanwhile, virtually ignores her own daughter in a single-minded quest for stardom. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 April 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Imitación de la vida  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Douglas Sirk worked gently with his actors. Rather than dictating the way a scene should be played, he would take each actor aside, suggest what he wanted and ask how he or she felt about it. See more »

Goofs

Steve's photo of Lora as a 'mother in distress' shows no people in the background, but when we see Lora looking for Susie at the start of the film, the boardwalk is packed with people. See more »

Quotes

Lora Meredith: [to Sarah Jane] You weren't being colored, you were just being childish.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Juanita Moore, who plays Annie, is billed with the credit "And Presenting Juanita Moore as Annie Johnson", even though she had already appeared in many films. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in What a Way to Go! (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Imitation of Life
Words by Paul Francis Webster
Music by Sammy Fain
Sung by Earl Grant
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Beauty! Romance! Betrayal!
12 February 1999 | by (Seattle, Washington) – See all my reviews

This Five Hanky Weeper is a classic Lana Turner vehicle. She never looked better.

This is a remake of a 1934 Claudette Colbert movie of the same name from a popular Fannie Hurst novel.

The 1934 version is more true to the original story but it is difficult to find and is seldom shown on television.

The story has been rewritten to take full advantage of Ms. Turner's luminescent beauty. Now, instead of a restaurant owner she is a glamorous star of stage and film.

But the underlying pathos is the same -- two women, each with a daughter that does not appreciate the sacrifices their mothers have made.

Before I saw this film I had no idea who Susan Kohner was. She turns out quite a performance and I wonder why she didn't do more films.

Sandra Dee as Ms. Turner's daughter is Sandra Dee playing a daughter -- you've seen it before.

In the final scences when Susan Kohner's character does her "That's my momma..." piece you can hear sobs coming from the people in the audience...

Do not be surprised if some of them are yours.


96 of 147 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The most BEAUTIFUL dresses and gowns I've ever seen in any movie... aircrftmec
After her racist boyfriend beat her up....why didnt they obryan864
Why did Sarah Jane feel that she had to try to pass? joannabaroncelli
This Is A Very Real Problem jynger71
This is horrible.... rajiv_kuin
Crying Over This Film musicman81
Discuss Imitation of Life (1959) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?