I Want to Live!

I Want to Live!

DVD - 2002
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A screen adaptation of the dramatic events in the life of a "B-Girl," Barbara Graham, a vagrant prostitute and fast-living party girl, which led to avsensational murder trial and afterwards, her execution in the gas chamber despite growing doubts about her guilt. The background music is made up in its entirety of progressive jazz.
Publisher: Santa Monica, CA : MGM Home Entertainment, [2002]
Edition: Widescreen.
ISBN: 9780792852544
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (121 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Sep 22, 2018

A film that tends toward the ridiculous as only 1950's 'bad girl' films can do. Still, "I Want To Live' has enjoyable elements. For instance it has a terrific jazz score by Gerry Mulligan. Interesting film to compare with director Robert Wise's later (and better) 'The Haunting' as many of the set-ups, dutch angles, lap dissolves etc. seem cut from similar cloth. His visual style would become more generic later on. "I Want To Live" is no classic but still a beautifully made film and, for film geeks, worthy of a cursory glance. By comparison to today's amateur productions I suppose it's a masterpiece but as Robert Wise films go it probably falls somewhere in the middle.

the attitude of some people, that one must be innocent of all sin in order to deserve not being unjustly persecuted by the system (see comment 2 below me). to me, this film makes a good argument against the death penalty, and just might be ms. Hayward's finest performance on film. did the prosecution prove their case? I dunno. she wasn't like myself and my fellow jury members: she had to have done something wrong, sometime in her life, so I voted guilty. she's got to be guilty of something, so, glad we can get her now, instead of not at all. BARBARA GRAHAM WAS NO BARBIE DOLL. Why you worry? I can't change the world for you, mr. jeder.

Feb 02, 2017

The movie moves at moderate speed with many twist and turns. This movie is only good for adults. There is lots of sex and violence. It is the biography about this adult female who lives a reckless unself-disciplined life. She drinks too much. She is a prostitute. She knew some of them were married with kids and did not care. She was 100% self-centered. She did not ask questions before acting. She cared only about herself. She is a get-a-way-driver for a gang who commit crimes. They get caught. She is given capital punishment for murder. It is hard to feel sorry for her. When she said she is innocent in the movie, it really means she did not do the physical murdering blow to the woman murdered. She is not really innocent.

Sep 21, 2016

This is a 1958 film noir directed by Robert Wise.
It focuses on Barbara Graham, a habitual criminal convicted of murder and facing execution.
The movie was adapted from letters written by Graham and newspaper articles written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ed Montgomery.
It presents a somewhat fictionalized version of the case showing a possibility of innocence concerning Graham.
Barbara Graham (June 26, 1923 – June 3, 1955) was executed in the gas chamber on the same day as two convicted accomplices, Jack Santo and Emmett Perkins.
Graham was the third woman in California to be executed by gas.
She might have been innocent.
That's the reason the death penalty should be abolished worldwide.

Jun 10, 2016

Believe me - 1958's "I Want To Live!" is a pretty grim, but, nevertheless, equally powerful "real-life" Drama about party-girl, petty criminal and convicted murderess, Barbara Graham.

In 1953 Graham was an accomplice in the senseless robbery and brutal murder of the elderly Mabel Monahan. Eventually found guilty for her part in this crime, Graham was sentenced to execution in the gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison in 1955. Graham was 31 at the time of her death.

Filmed in stark b&w, and masterfully directed by Robert Wise, this picture won actress Susan Hayward an Oscar for "Best Actress".

Featuring a moody Jazz score, this is the sort of film that requires the viewer to have nerves of steel, especially during the agonizing moments of its riveting finale.

May 12, 2016

Susan Hayward garnered an Oscar and a Golden Globe for best actress for her portrayal of Barbara Graham, who was convicted of murder. Based on a true story, Graham's conviction was possibly obtained by false testimony of her compatriots (the actual murderers?) in a plea agreement. The film was released when Hollywood excluded Blacks from White films, but one of the crowd scenes included a few Blacks for about 3 seconds - perhaps one of the filmmakers protesting against Hollywood's shameful racist policies?

Jan 22, 2016

Real sad, man... Just a 'Debbie Downer' of a movie, especially because it was based on a true story.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at HPL

To Top