5 Best Kirk Douglas Movies
It is difficult to name the five best Kirk Douglas movies because there are so many to choose from. Here are a sprinkling of five that are chosen for different reasons. They bring back memories of films we enjoyed and can still view on DVD to this day. Issur Danielovitch (Kirk Douglas), born December 9, 1916, well deserves his designation by the American Film Institute as being #17 on its list of greatest male American screen legends of all time. As recent as March 2009, Kirk did a one-man autobiographical show, "Before I Forget". Its four performances were filmed into a documentary that was first shown in January 2010.
1. "The Bad and the Beautiful" (1952) was the second of Kirk's three Oscar-nominated roles. He played a hard-nosed film producer who uses, manipulates, and betrays his actors, directors, and writers. Directed by Vincente Minnelli, it also starred Barry Sullivan, Lana Turner, and Gloria Grahame.
2. "Lust For Life" (1956) another Vincente Minnelli directed film, which earned Kirk Douglas another Oscar nomination and for which he won a Golden Globe, was one of his greatest roles. Kirk gave an outstanding performance as Vincent van Gogh, who was a brilliant artist with tremendous passion but was a tortured and lonely soul.
3. "Paths of Glory" (1957) a classic anti-war World War I film, even though it was one of Stanley Kubrick's best films and led to Kubrick's being the director for Douglas' "Spartacus," was sadly not given even one Academy Award nomination. Perhaps that was because it premiered only one week after the release of the blockbuster, "The Bridge on the River Kwai," which stole its thunder.
4. "Spartacus" (1960) remains as one of Hollywood's great historical epics with some of the grandest battles ever filmed and an all-star cast which included Charles Laughton, Jean Simmons, Peter Ustinov, Laurence Olivier, Tony Curtis, and others. But the star of this exceptional movie was definitely Kirk Douglas as its rebellious slave gladiator Spartacus who led a revolt for freedom against the Roman Empire which had gotten extremely decadent. His superb performance combined heroism and action with sensitive emotionalism and romance.
5. "Lonely Are The Brave" (1962) was Kirk Douglas' personal favorite role as a cowboy who breaks into jail to help a friend, upon release tussles with a policeman, and is sentenced to a one-year jail term. He cannot endure thinking of a year in prison after always being able to be on the open range of the wild west, so he makes plans to break out of jail. Other stars in this film were Walter Matthau and Gena Rowlands.