7.9/10
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Imitation of Life (1959)

Not Rated | | Drama | 18 March 1959 (USA)
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2:19 | Trailer
An aspiring actress befriends a black widow, but trouble arises when the latter is rejected by her daughter, who tries to pass for white.

Director:

Douglas Sirk

Writers:

Eleanore Griffin (screenplay), Allan Scott (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,106 ( 6,417)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lana Turner ... Lora Meredith
John Gavin ... Steve Archer
Sandra Dee ... Susie - 16
Susan Kohner ... Sarah Jane - 18
Robert Alda ... Allen Loomis
Dan O'Herlihy ... David Edwards
Juanita Moore ... Annie Johnson
Karin Dicker Karin Dicker ... Sarah Jane - 8
Terry Burnham Terry Burnham ... Susie - 6
John Vivyan ... Young Man
Lee Goodman Lee Goodman ... Photographer
Ann Robinson ... Showgirl
Troy Donahue ... Frankie
Sandra Gould ... Annette
David Tomack David Tomack ... Mr. McKenney
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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

Taglines:

Fannie Hurst's Best Selling Novel of Today's Tormented Generation! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 March 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Imitación de la vida See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Margaret O'Brien was originally considered for role of Sara Jane, that ultimately went to Susan Kohner. See more »

Goofs

During Broadway montage sequence set in 1951, theater sign advertising Ricardo Montalban in the musical Jamaica can be seen. It didn't open until 1957. See more »

Quotes

Annie: Miss Lora, we just come from a place where... where my color deviled my baby. Now, anything here has gotta be better.
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

Referenced in Female Trouble (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Trouble of the World
(uncredited)
Words and music by Unknown
Performed by Mahalia Jackson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Changed my way of thinking about my Own Mother
29 July 2004 | by superkeene2See all my reviews

I was about 11 or 12 years old when i watched this movie. I will NEVER forget the impact of the scene where the MAMMA is Dying of total heartbreak over her daughters lifestyle and that when the time came when the Mother died, OH MY GOD...when the daughter tried to get into the coffin ..and that it was all TOO LATE.I LITERALLY cried for days and my MOM could not ease my heartache over such a terrible thing that the girl did to her MOM. I made up my mind i would NEVER hurt my Mother like that in REAL LIFE, and even though every family has their problems MY Mamma was my Mamma and i desperately love her though she is gone now.

This movie had the strongest,most POWERFUL influence in my life ...more then any other movie to this date until THE PASSION directed by Mel Gibson.. THANK GOD for MEL!. I also became a stronger young person due to IMITATION OF LIFE. I wish all movie makers today cared half as much as the directors did back in those years when life held more value on morals and character and decency.. i miss the genuiness of clean ,healthy simple life! GOD BLESS all!


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