Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Approved   |    |  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.


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

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


15 June 1999 | rupie
9
| a memento from the days when they made real movies
It is, in a way, depressing to watch this movie today. One winds up contrasting it with the sort of technologically slick and aesthetically shallow spectacles, like "Titanic", that garner the sort of adulation that a truly great movie like "Lawrence" received in its day, and one realizes how far we have fallen.

Ignore David Lean's painterly technique, the way he fills the screen like a canvas. Ignore Freddie Young's stunning cinematography in fulfillment of Lean's vision. Ignore the fabulous score by Maurice Jarre. Ignore the stupendous cast. Ignore the topnotch script.

What we have, beyond all this, is an absolutely gripping and psychologically perplexing character study of a uniquely enigmatic individual that keeps us on the edge of our seats for the full length of the movie. "Lawrence", at over 200 minutes, goes by faster than many a movie of half its length, due to Lean's brilliant pacing and direction, and superb acting all around. To make a comparison in the world of music, this movie, like Mahler's 8th symphony, is a universe contained within itself.

Of course, it is an exercise in self-denial and philistinism to watch this movie in anything other than the wide-screen - or "letterbox" - format, due to Lean's complete use of every inch of the wide screen. To watch it otherwise is to miss half of Lean's intention.

To use a hackneyed phrase, they simply don't make 'em like this anymore.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Sam Spiegel and Director Sir David Lean's already testy relationship soon reached the breaking point. Spiegel rarely visited the set, but constantly complained long-distance about Lean's "wasting" money, and allegedly poor footage. Lean eventually got back at Spiegel by sneaking into the dailies a shot of him flipping Spiegel off, in 70mm.


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

Over the course of the film, several Ottoman Turkish soldiers are seen armed with British Short-Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) No. 1 Mk. III rifles. Although it is indeed not a standard Turkish weapon, many Lee-Enfields had been captured during the Gallipoli campaign between 1915 and 1916 and from other battles. Several were then issued to Turkish troops, some after conversion to the standard 7.92mm Mauser ammunition used by the Turks. Their appearance in the hands of Turkish soldiers is, in this case, justified, though it remains true that the majority of the Turks would still be armed with Mauser rifles. The reason for their use in these scenes is most likely that Lee-Enfields were the rifles that the filmmakers could acquire with the least trouble, given their filming location in several former British colonies, and had been 'assigned' to stand in for Turkish weapons.


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

In accordance with a 1995 decision by the Writers Guild of America to give Michael Wilson a co-writing credit (based on documentary evidence that he had been a major contributor to the script), newer copies such as the DVD and the prints made for the 40th anniversary re-release feature the altered credit: "Screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson" (previously, only Bolt's name was listed).


Soundtracks

Rescue of Gasim
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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