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.

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8.3/10
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  • Peter O'Toole at an event for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • Steven Spielberg at an event for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • Peter O'Toole and Anthony Quayle in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • David Lean in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


24 August 2005 | nisitpav
10
| The best movie of all motion picture history
I first watched "Lawrence of Arabia" when I was about 11 years old. Being a big fan of Steven Spielberg at that time, I was sort of awed by the fact that this was his personal favorite (check the "conversation with Steven Spielberg" featurette in the special features disk and you'll really see Spielberg's affection for that film)

Over the years, Lawrence remained among my DVD collection, and I can't say I actually watched it since that first time, when, by the way, I didn't really like it. But "time does things to movies", and when I watched it again last year, I found my eyes to be weeping at the end. It instantly became one of my favorite movies.

Since then I learned a lot about the history of cinema, and I also learned a great deal about the movies of Sir David Lean. I found my self watching films like "Brief Encounter", "The Bridge on the River Kwai", "Doctor Zhivago", "Ryan's Daughter", and the underrated, "A passage to India". Lean became one of my favorite directors, and, just a few months ago, I decided to watch Lawrence with some friends. Although I had seen it a couple of times before, this time it was a different experience altogether: from the starting credits, to the blowing of the match, the crossing of the Nefud dessert, finding Gassim and bringing him back to the camp, the invasion of Aqaba, his torture and rape (?), Lawrence's laugh after the slap by the "outrageaous" guy, his being left alone, to the final gaze to the motorcycle. I sensed something when I watched that film, which leaves my with the undoubted feeling that "Lawrence of Arabia" is the greatest film ever made. For me, this is it. Ever since '62, it's been a downfall. No other film has managed to reach Lawrence in its poetic greatness. Few do come very close (Vertigo for instance).

If we are to classify the two complete different cinematic styles, it would be those of Hitchcock and Ford. Hitch was a very "confined" director. He captured his movies from the point of view of one character. His movies took place, most of the time, in closed spaces. In a sense, Hitchcock's films were a journey in people's emotions and a study in people's characters. On the other hand, Ford was an open director. He wasn't confined to one character, or one location, his films where actual journeys. His basis was mostly on theme, and his main ability was to amaze with his imagery. Thus, these are the two different shooting styles....Well, Lean combines both.

Which is basically why his best film, Lawrence, is the best film of all times. But not only in terms of style. Also, in terms of content. The intelligent script written by Robert Bolt, the powerhouse performances by O'Toole and Shariff (a shame they didn't get the statuette), but also, the ultimately heroic yet tragic figure of T.E. Lawrence, contribute in making this the most visually and emotionally sweeping film of the last 111 years.

Such a shame that Lean retired for 14 years after "Ryan's Daughter", there's no way to know where he would have gotten.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Initially the production used white plastic cups for its drinking water, but the wind would frequently pick up and blow them into the desert. After having numerous shots ruined due to errant white plastic cups, Sir David Lean had them banned and replaced with ceramic mugs instead.


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 reaches the Suez Canal, a steam freighter passing through blows its whistle. The whistle is an electric siren whistle. In 1917 most merchant ships were steam-powered. The ships whistles would have also been steam powered and the whistle would have given out a bellowing sound, not a piercing shriek as from an electric whistle as seen in the film. A steam whistle would have also emitted a great, highly-visible jet of steam upon being used.


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

Originally released at 222 minutes. Shortly after its premiere, David Lean, reportedly under the orders of producer Sam Spiegel, cut 20 minutes from the film. The 1971 re-release cut the film further to 187 minutes. The film was restored in 1988 at 216 minutes. This version, supervised by Lean, was advertised as a Director's Cut.


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

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