Starring Kirk Douglas

Starring Kirk Douglas

22 Episodes

A magnetically intense presence who practically exploded off the screen, Kirk Douglas was one of the last living giants of Hollywood’s golden age when he passed away last year at age 103. Embodying the cynical flip side of the postwar era, the vigorous, chin-dimpled actor rose to fame playing tightly wound, often defiantly unlikable characters: a backstabbing boxer in the hard-hitting noir CHAMPION, an unscrupulous reporter in Billy Wilder’s venomous media exposé ACE IN THE HOLE, and a ruthless Hollywood producer in Vincente Minnelli’s Tinseltown melodrama THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL. Cementing his tough-guy image with his towering turn in Stanley Kubrick’s SPARTACUS and the numerous westerns (including LONELY ARE THE BRAVE) he made throughout the 1960s and ’70s, Douglas harnessed a bold and expressive performance style to become one of American cinema’s most indelible stars.

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Starring Kirk Douglas
  • The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

    Episode 1

    Directed by Lewis Milestone • 1946 • United States
    Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Kirk Douglas

    Kirk Douglas made his striking screen debut in this absorbing, brooding noir-melodrama about corruption, greed, and buried secrets in a small town. He plays a weak-willed, alcoholic district at...

  • Out of the Past

    Episode 2

    Directed by Jacques Tourneur • 1947 • United States
    Starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas

    Everything you want in a film noir you’ll find in OUT OF THE PAST: a tenacious detective (Robert Mitchum) spinning his wheels to make good, a drop-dead beauty (Jane Greer) up to no good, and a m...

  • I Walk Alone

    Episode 3

    Directed by Byron Haskin • 1947 • United States
    Starring Burt Lancaster, Lizabeth Scott, Kirk Douglas

    The dynamite pairing of Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas—in the first of seven films they made together—lights up this striking film noir. Just out of prison, ex-bootlegger Frankie Madison (Lanca...

  • Champion

    Episode 4

    Directed by Mark Robson • 1949 • United States
    Starring Kirk Douglas, Marilyn Maxwell, Arthur Kennedy

    A ferocious, Oscar-nominated Kirk Douglas delivers one of his defining performances as Midge Kelly, a ruthless boxer who steps on anyone and everyone around him in his single-minded pursuit of s...

  • A Letter to Three Wives

    Episode 5

    Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz • 1949 • United States
    Starring Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern, Jeanne Crain

    Just as they are about to embark on a picnic day trip, three country club wives receive a letter from their acid-tongued “friend” Addie Ross informing them that she has run off with one of t...

  • Young Man with a Horn

    Episode 6

    Directed by Michael Curtiz • 1950 • United States
    Starring Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day

    Based on the tragic life of legendary jazz trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke, this music-driven drama stars Kirk Douglas as Rick Martin, a young trumpeter who finds success as a white musician in the largel...

  • Ace in the Hole

    Episode 7

    Directed by Billy Wilder • 1951 • United States
    Starring Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Bob Arthur

    Billy Wilder’s ACE IN THE HOLE is one of the most scathing indictments of American culture ever produced by a Hollywood filmmaker. Kirk Douglas gives the fiercest performance of his career as Chuck Ta...

  • Detective Story

    Episode 8

    Directed by William Wyler • 1951 • United States
    Starring Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, William Bendix

    William Wyler’s powerful adaptation of Sidney Kingsley’s Broadway play traces twenty-four tense hours within a New York City police station, where the personal and the professional collide for ...

  • The Bad and the Beautiful

    Episode 9

    Directed by Vincente Minnelli • 1952 • United States
    Starring Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon

    Appearances are everything in Hollywood. Kirk Douglas gives a magnetic, Oscar-nominated performance as conniving producer Jonathan Shields, who turns talent, charisma and ruthlessness into fil...

  • The Big Sky

    Episode 10

    Directed by Howard Hawks • 1952 • United States
    Starring Kirk Douglas, Dewey Martin, Elizabeth Threatt

    Howard Hawks’s epic western adventure stars Kirk Douglas as pioneer Jim Deakins, the leader of the first expedition to navigate up the Missouri River. In a daring journey to expand the fur trad...

  • Lust for Life

    Episode 11

    Directed by Vincente Minnelli • 1956 • United States
    Starring Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, James Donald

    Where does genius end and madness begin? Kirk Douglas delivers a fierce portrayal of visionary Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh in Vincente Minnelli’s brilliantly stylized portrait of an artist ...

  • The Vikings

    Episode 12

    Directed by Richard Fleischer • 1958 • United States
    Starring Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, Ernest Borgnine

    This spectacular, rousing adventure opens with the Viking army invading the small kingdom of Northumbria, killing its king and forcing her pregnant widow to flee to a new land. Years later...

  • Last Train from Gun Hill

    Episode 13

    Directed by John Sturges • 1959 • United States
    Starring Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Earl Holliman

    Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn make for memorable friends-turned-adversaries in this suspenseful, unjustly neglected western from genre expert John Sturges. After his Native American wife (Ziva Ro...

  • The Devil’s Disciple

    Episode 14

    Directed by Guy Hamilton • 1959 • United States, United Kingdom
    Starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier

    The third of seven iconic collaborations between stars Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, this superbly entertaining adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s satirical play of the sam...

  • Lonely Are the Brave

    Episode 15

    Directed by David Miller • 1962 • United States
    Starring Kirk Douglas, Gena Rowlands, Walter Matthau

    Kirk Douglas’s personal favorite among his own films is a strikingly introspective and affecting western. He delivers one of his finest performances as the modern-day cowboy Jack Burns, who finds...

  • Two Weeks in Another Town

    Episode 16

    Directed by Vincente Minnelli • 1962 • United States
    Starring Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, Cyd Charisse

    In 1952, star Kirk Douglas, director Vincente Minnelli, producer John Houseman and screenwriter Charles Schnee teamed for what many consider the greatest drama ever made about Hollywood: ...

  • Is Paris Burning?

    Episode 17

    Directed by René Clément • 1966 • United States, France
    Starring Gert Fröbe, Orson Welles, Jean-Pierre Cassel

    An international all-star cast for the ages—including Kirk Douglas (as general George S. Patton), Orson Welles, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon, Glenn Ford, Anthony Perkins, Jean-Louis T...

  • The Way West

    Episode 18

    Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen • 1967 • United States
    Starring Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Richard Widmark

    Based on the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel of the same name by A. B. Guthrie Jr. (who also wrote the screenplay for SHANE), this strikingly photographed western follows U.S. Senator Willia...

  • The Brotherhood

    Episode 19

    Directed by Martin Ritt • 1968 • United States
    Starring Kirk Douglas, Irene Papas, Alex Cord

    In many ways prefiguring THE GODFATHER, Martin Ritt’s gritty mafia drama traces the rift that develops in a mob family between two brothers: tradition-minded Frank Ginetta (Kirk Douglas), who clings to t...

  • There Was a Crooked Man . . .

    Episode 20

    Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz • 1970 • United States
    Starring Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, Hume Cronyn

    In this boisterous yet blisteringly cynical western with an all-star cast, the supposedly incorruptible warden (Henry Fonda) of an Arizona penitentiary meets his match in a scheming inmate (Ki...

  • Posse

    Episode 21

    Directed by Kirk Douglas • 1975 • United States
    Starring Kirk Douglas, Bruce Dern, Bo Hopkins

    Publicity-hungry U.S. Marshal Howard Nightingale (Kirk Douglas) doesn’t just hunt down and capture fugitives—he makes sure a photographer is around to record his crime-fighting exploits in order to bols...

  • A Father . . . A Son . . . Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Episode 22

    Directed by Lee Grant • 2005 • United States

    Academy Award–winning actor and filmmaker Lee Grant’s candid, complex portrait of father-son screen icons Kirk and Michael Douglas—and the Hollywood dynasty that they built—is alternately a celebration, an indictment, and a fabulous dinner party. Exam...