Kirk Douglas&#39; breakthrough role was as Midge Kelly, a ruthless boxer, in his eighth film. Plucked from obscurity by a manager who thinks he has potential, Midge soon falls prey to applause, money, and women. As he rises in fame, his stock as a person continues a downward slide. Mark Robson directs Douglas and his costars Marilyn Maxwell, Arthur Kennedy, Paul Stewart, Ruth Roman and Lola Albright. This role won Douglas his first of three Academy Award nominations. <br/><p>Douglas plays a reporter desperate to climb his way back to the top in this <a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/best-billy-wilder-movies-728216" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="1">Billy Wilder</a> story, which resonates even more today than it did when it debuted. The town, the man&#39;s ex-wife, and finally, the reporter himself exploit an accident in a mine, as the man languishes, trapped in the mine. One of Billy Wilder&#39;s best films, and a stunning performance by Douglas as a man whose ambition blinds him to human needs. Also starring Jan Sterling, this film is also shown as <em>The Big Carnival.</em></p><p>Kirk Douglas is producer Jonathan Shields, who betrays or exploits everyone he knows. A director, a writer, and an actress are summoned to a major studio to hear his pitch for a film. Each owe his success to Shields, and each flashes back to their bad experiences with him, one of which had a tragic end. Douglas is terrific as Shields, a user who has burned a lot of bridges in Hollywood. Sharply directed by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincente_Minnelli" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1">Vincente Minnelli</a>, the film also stars Lana Turner, Barry Sullivan, and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloria_Grahame" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="2">Gloria Grahame</a>. Douglas earned his second Academy Award nomination for his performance as Jonathan Shields.</p><p>Vincente Minnelli meticulously directed this biography of Vincent van Gogh. Kirk Douglas gives a stunning performance as Van Gogh, a lonely, tortured but brilliant artist of tremendous passion and soul, as well as drive and over-eagerness. James Donal plays Vincent&#39;s calm, caring brother, and Anthony Quinn won an Oscar for his short but memorable performance as the flamboyant, arrogant Gauguin. Kirk Douglas earned another Oscar nomination and garnered a Golden Globe for his performance, although many people felt he should have won the Oscar. Definitely one of his greatest roles.</p><p>Kirk Douglas has the title role in this epic film, director <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kubrick" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1">Stanley Kubrick&#39;s</a> last in Hollywood. As star and executive producer, Douglas was very hands-on, and <i>Spartacus</i> emerges as not typically Kubrick. With a screenplay by blacklisted writer <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalton_Trumbo" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="2">Dalton Trumbo</a>, <i>Spartacus</i> tells the story of a slave trained to kill in the arena who leads other slaves in rebellion. In Rome, the slave revolt becomes a power struggle between two senators, fighting for power. Douglas gives each scene edge and tension, well supported by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurence_Olivier" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="3">Laurence Olivier</a>, Jean Simmons, <a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/top-romantic-comedies-2423473" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="4">Tony Curtis</a> and other great stars. Mel Gibson&#39;s <i>Braveheart</i> was heavily influenced by this film, as were <i>Gladiator</i> and <i>Troy</i>.</p>This was Douglas&#39;s favorite role, that of Jack Burns, a modern-day cowboy uncomfortable with life in the &#39;60s. While others try to break out of jail, Burns, in order to help his imprisoned friend escape, breaks into jail on a drunk and disorderly charge. When he&#39;s released because of overcrowding, he tussles with a policeman and is sentenced to one year. Used to the freedom of the open range, Burns can&#39;t endure a year in prison, so he makes plans to break out. A wonderful, poignant story of a man whose time has passed and gone the way of the wild west. Directed by David Miller, <i>Lonely are the Brave</i> also stars Gena Rowlands and Walter Matthau.