Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

PG   |    |  Adventure, Biography, Drama


Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Poster

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.

TIP
Add this title to your Watchlist
Save movies and shows to keep track of what you want to watch.

8.3/10
237,404

Videos


Photos

  • Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • Peter O'Toole and Anthony Quayle in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • Peter O'Toole and Zia Mohyeddin in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • David Lean at an event for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • Steven Spielberg at an event for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • David Lean and Freddie Young in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

See all photos

More of What You Love

Find what you're looking for even quicker with the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


29 April 2005 | evanston_dad
10
| Majesty in the Desert
The moment David Lean makes you aware you are in the hands of a master comes early on in "Lawrence of Arabia." Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) holds a lit match close to his lips and with one quick puff of air blows it out. Before the action is even completed, however, Lean has cut to a shot of a desert vista, with the sun slowly rising over the lip of the horizon. It's one of the most famous elliptical edits in cinema history, second maybe only to the bone/spaceship cut in "2001: A Space Odyssey." And it's only the first of countless memorable moments in "Lawrence of Arabia." The appeal of David Lean epics has always been his ability as a director to maintain an equilibrium between the scope of his films and the characters in them. Character development is never sacrificed to massive set pieces or knock-your-socks-off action sequences. "Lawrence of Arabia" has these elements too, but at heart it's a character study of one remarkable man. Lean seemed to understand that impressive landscapes alone are not inherently interesting; but if you place a fascinating character among those impressive landscapes, you can have movie magic.

"Lawrence" feels unlike other historical epics of its time. In most "big" films--I'm thinking of movies like "Ben-Hur," "Spartacus," "Cleopatra," all movies that premiered roughly around the same time as "Lawrence"--one gets the sense that directors framed compositions based on how much they were able to fit into their widescreen lenses. One rarely sees characters filmed from anything closer than a medium shot, and usually the background is stuffed to overflowing with garish art direction. Everything feels static and wooden. But in "Lawrence," Lean keeps his frames constantly alive by juxtaposing huge landscape shots with extreme close-ups of actor faces. In one especially brutal scene, after a battle that results in the slaughter of many people, the action cuts to a close-up of O'Toole, looking panicked and crazed, gripping a bloody knife in his hand as if he's reluctant to drop it, obviously both disturbed and titillated by the carnage he just witnessed. It's moments like that---not just an impressive battle scene but a character's reactions to the results of that scene---that set "Lawrence" apart from other standard epics.

And of course, I have to reserve space in my review for the performance of Mr. O'Toole. He is perhaps my favorite actor, not one of the most prolific, but certainly one of the most unpredictable. He has a flair for choosing eccentric characters that give him almost unlimited room in which to perform. He carries "Lawrence of Arabia" almost singlehandedly on his slim shoulders. That's not to say the supporting cast isn't great, but O'Toole towers above them all. O'Toole understands that the most influential figures in history could also be the most difficult and ruthless when they needed to be, and he gives Lawrence an incredibly complex characterization, leaving his audience in doubt as to whether he should be worshiped or feared, or perhaps both.

Lean would never direct an equal to "Lawrence of Arabia" again. His later films are certainly more than watchable, and "A Passage to India" is even quite remarkable in its own way, but we would never get another "Lawrence." Even more reason to appreciate it now.

My Grade: A+

Metacritic Reviews


Critic Reviews



More Like This

  • The Bridge on the River Kwai

    The Bridge on the River Kwai

  • Ben-Hur

    Ben-Hur

  • Citizen Kane

    Citizen Kane

  • Gone with the Wind

    Gone with the Wind

  • The Great Escape

    The Great Escape

  • To Kill a Mockingbird

    To Kill a Mockingbird

  • Casablanca

    Casablanca

  • The Sting

    The Sting

  • Amadeus

    Amadeus

  • Singin' in the Rain

    Singin' in the Rain

  • Vertigo

    Vertigo

  • North by Northwest

    North by Northwest

Did You Know?

Trivia

Anthony Nutting had to negotiate to hire the Bedouin tribesmen, who also wanted a million pounds sterling. When he asked how they could ask so much, he learned that their representative, Sherif Nasser, had learned of a secret one million pound loan Producer Sam Spiegel had taken out from the Arab Bank there. The bank director, as it turned out, was Sherif Nasser's uncle. Spiegel got the price down by pulling a ploy his associates were used to. He had a heart attack, which so threatened the production's future that the Bedouin lowered their price.


Quotes

Colonel Brighton: He was the most extraordinary man I ever knew.
Vicar at St. Paul's: Did you know him well?
Colonel Brighton: I knew him.
Vicar at St. Paul's: Well, nil nisi bonum. But did he really deserve a place in here?


Goofs

When Lawrence is crossing the desert with the prince's 50 men he starts to drift off. He is seen looking at his own shadow on the right side of the camel, but in the next shot the shadow is right under the camel. (See also Revealing Mistake)


Crazy Credits

The opening credits read: Introducing Peter O'Toole as T.E. Lawrence. However, O'Toole had already played very noticeable roles in two feature-length films, the Disney 1960 version of Kidnapped (1960), and The Day They Robbed the Bank of England (1960).


Alternate Versions

The 1983 Capacitance Electronic Disc (CED), also commonly known RCA Selectavision Videodisc contains the 1971 re-release version which was rated "G" by the MPAA.


Soundtracks

Brining Gasim Into Camp
Music by
Maurice Jarre
Performed by London Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Maurice Jarre

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Adventure | Biography | Drama | History | War

The Shows Everyone Will Be Talking About This Week

Get ahead of the buzz with these must-watch shows: A dark sci-fi prequel, huge performances at the Oscars, and a star-studded new season of mockumentaries. Presented by M&M's.

Watch our video

Featured on IMDb

Check out our guide to the Academy Awards, our coverage of the 2019 awards season, and more.

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com