Best Movies by Farr
I Want to Live! Poster
Released Runtime Category
1958 120 Mystery/Thrillers
Director Language
Robert Wise English
Susan Hayward, Simon Oakland

I Want to Live!

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What's it About

Barbara Graham (Hayward) is a hard-living, hard-partying woman with a young son she loves and a lot of unsavory friends. She’'s served time for prostitution and perjury, but when she'’s framed for the brutal murder of an eighty year old woman, she graduates to something much more lethal... —the death sentence. From the start she proclaims her innocence, but the press, public, and court give her no mercy. Journalist Ed Montgomery (Oakland) and a series of lawyers work hard to appeal her conviction, but as the hours tick by, execution seems all but certain.

Why we love it

In this somewhat fictionalized account of a true-crime story, Hayward gives a passionate, Oscar-winning portrayal, by turns defiant and achingly vulnerable. While the actual murderer is never conclusively identified, the strong impression is that “Bloody Babs” was judged unfairly because of her disreputable reputation. Director Wise (who was Oscar-nominated for this) lets the full horror of Graham’'s predicament unfold gradually, culminating in a truly chilling sequence involving the painstaking preparation of the gas chamber. "“I Want to Live"” endures as a searing indictment of capital punishment, and at its heart is one incredible performance that will never die.

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BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"