The 5 best movies about Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh may be one of the most famous painters in history. His beautiful post-impressionist renditions are known and loved all around the world, and especially in Paris! You can find his work in several different museums around the city, like the Musée d’Orsay.
Van Gogh was a Dutch painter. He was born in 1853 and grew up in a town called Zundert with his parents and brothers and sisters. There isn’t that much information out there about Van Gogh’s childhood, other than that he was a quiet and studious child.
When he was 16, he began working at the Hague Gallery for an art dealer company called Goupil et Cie. His brother Theo, who Van Gogh was very close to, worked for the same company. When Van Gogh was 20 years old, the company transferred him to Paris.
When Van Gogh moved to Paris, he decided that he didn’t want to work in the art world anymore. He decided to study to become a clergyman like his father. He soon figured out that the religious life wasn’t for him, and he decided to become a painter like his brother Theo. However, he left Paris to study and try his hand at drawing and painting in Holland. He would not return to France until 1886, just 4 years before his death in 1890.
Van Gogh was a very quick study and showed signs of talent early on in his studies. In Paris, he was able to admire the work of Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, and Paul Gauguin. In 1888 he journeyed to Arles, France in order to paint the beautiful landscape. He also dreamed of starting an artists’ colony there.
Van Gogh was close friends with the painter Gauguin, and the pair spent some time together in Arles. However, things start to get a little bit complicated for Van Gogh. He began suffering from a rare form of epilepsy that caused delusions and psychotic attacks. When Gauguin was visited, he had an attack and famously cut off his earlobe.
Van Gogh’s struggle with mental illness, unfortunately, did not stop there. He voluntarily put himself in an asylum in 1889 and would remain there until 1890. He was able to do some painting at the asylum.
On July 27, 1890, Van Gogh was shot in the stomach in the small village of Auvers. He died just 2 days later. Historians have always assumed that Van Gogh tried to kill himself, but in recent years there have been claims that it was actually an accident. Unfortunately, we’ll never know the truth.
Van Gogh is most well known for his masterpieces Bedroom in Arles, Almond Blossoms, and The Starry Night, as well as some self-portraits. When he lived in Paris, he enjoyed painting the Montmartre neighborhood.
If you want to learn more about this renowned artists, keep reading for the 5 best movies about Vincent Van Gogh!
1. Lust for Life (1956)
Kirk Douglas plays Van Gogh in Lust for Life, a 1956 movie that focuses on the painter’s early struggles to find a career he was passionate about. It shows Van Gogh’s interest in the religious life and depicts why he ultimately decided to become an artist. You’ll also discover how Van Gogh learned to draw and paint!
The movie is based on a novel of the same name by Irving Stone, and the role landed Douglas an Academy Award nomination.
Watch this movie if: you love older movies and want to learn more about Van Gogh’s early years.
2. Vincent and Theo (1990)
This 1990 period drama tells the story of Van Gogh and his brother Theo. Tim Roth plays Vincent and Paul Rhys plays Theo. The movie is based on various letters written between the two brothers over the years.
Vincent and Theo does a great job of telling Van Gogh’s story as well as Theo’s. You’ll learn just how much Van Gogh relied on his brother’s help. If it wasn’t for the financial support of Theo, Van Gogh would have never gone on to become a painter!
Watch this movie if: you want to learn more about Van Gogh’s relationship with his brother.
3. The Eyes of Van Gogh (2005)
The Eyes of Van Gogh is a 2005 drama that tells the story of Van Gogh’s time in an asylum. Van Gogh voluntarily entered himself into the Saint Remy asylum for 12 months when his epilepsy began to interfere with his life.
Director Alexander Barnett does an excellent job of showing how Van Gogh experienced the world when he was in the asylum. This movie is all about what it’s like to enter into a state of madness. This one may not be for the feign of heart and can be really intense at times, just to warn you!
Watch this movie if: you want to learn more about Van Gogh’s time in Saint Remy.
4. Loving Vincent (2017)
This movie is one of my all-time favorites! You’ll learn more about the painter’s life through the use of over 130 animated versions of his paintings. I’ve never seen anything like this film, and Loving Vincent really knocked it out of the park for me.
The movie was nominated for an Oscar, and also caused a bit of controversy. As I already mentioned, historians have always assumed that Van Gogh killed himself. Loving Vincent explores the possibility that his death was, in fact, an accident.
Watch this movie if: you want to dive into Van Gogh’s paintings through the use of animation.
5. At Eternity’s Gate (2018)
If Loving Vincent is one of my all-time favorites, At Eternity’s Gate is my number one all-time favorite! I saw this movie right after it came out, and I was blown away by actor Willem Dafoe’s portrayal of Van Gogh.
The movie also explores Van Gogh’s relationship with fellow painter Gauguin. The plot takes place in Van Gogh’s final years, and we see the artist as erratic and unhappy. Dafoe does an excellent job in his role and is very believable.
Watch this movie if: you want to learn more about Van Gogh’s final years.
You have plenty of movies about Vincent Van Gogh to add to your “to-watch” lists! If you’re just as obsessed with this famous painter as I am, I’m sure you’ll love all of the titles above.
If you’re planning a trip to Paris, I recommend you hop on our Skip-the-line Orsay and Montmartre tour! Admire some of Van Gogh’s most well-known masterpieces, and then head to one of his favorite Parisian neighborhoods! Click here to learn more.