7.4/10
5,393
77 user 32 critic

I Want to Live! (1958)

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

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

Nelson Gidding (screenplay), Don Mankiewicz (screenplay) (as Don M. Mankiewicz) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Lou Krugman ... John R. 'Jack' Santo
James Philbrook ... Bruce King
Bartlett Robinson ... District Attorney Milton
Gage Clarke ... Attorney Richard G. Tibrow (as Gage Clark)
Joe De Santis ... Al Matthews
John Marley ... Father Devers
Raymond Bailey ... San Quentin Warden
Alice Backes Alice Backes ... Barbara, San Quentin Nurse
Gertrude Flynn ... San Quentin Matron
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Barbara Graham's Last Scream From Gas Chamber... See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 December 1958 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Barbara Graham Story See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,383,578 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A woman named Betsy Ann Smith from Wakefield, Virginia, won a bit part in this film as a prize on The Price Is Right (1956). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

San Quentin Capt.: [whispers] When you hear the pellets drop, count to ten. Take a deep breath. It's easier that way.
Barbara Graham: How would you know?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The movie closes with another disclaimer, before credits: "You have just seen a factual story. It is based on articles I wrote, other newspaper and magazine articles, court records, legal and private correspondence, investigative reports, personal interviews - and the letter of Barbara Graham." Edgar S. Montgomery - Pulitzer Prize winner. San Francisco Examiner See more »

Connections

Edited into The Clock (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Powerful performance and imagery
15 May 2006 | by MartianOctocretr5See all my reviews

Capital Punishment was, is, and probably always will be immensely controversial. "I Want to Live" offers an argument against the practice, approaching the issue with a fervently emotional message.

Susan Hayward (perhaps the finest work of her career) portrays the real-life convicted murderess Barbara Graham with urgency, strength, and sensitivity. We follow the story of Graham as she gets in trouble with the law repeatedly. Eventually, she is involved with a couple of thugs; a woman is murdered, and the three are accused. Which one actually killed the woman is uncertain. The movie provides information from Graham's trial (after she is implicated by the other two), but cleverly skirts the issue of guilt, and leaves the viewer to come to one's own opinion about this.

Whatever your view on capital punishment is, and whether or not you believe Graham was the actual killer should not skew your opinion of the movie; artistically, it's a gem. It is guaranteed to get you thinking about the issue of capital punishment, and some of the questions that are inherent in the arguments for and against it.

The final sequence of the movie is poignant and eloquent in depicting the preparations for a gas chamber execution. These images are haunting and will stay with you long after you see the movie.

This movie is artistic and masterfully done; but one must set aside preconceived opinions on the issue (pro OR con) to fully appreciate it.


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