Alternate Versions (6)

  • There are technically four versions of the film: the original 222 minute print, then cut to 202 minutes after its 1962 premiere, the 187 minute 1970 theatrical re-cut and the 228 minute including the overture, entr'acte music and play-out music in the 1988 restoration. Full details as follows: Originally released at 222 minutes for the UK premiere in December 1962. Shortly after premiere which took place in London in December 1962, David Lean, reportedly under the orders of producer Sam Spiegel, cut 20 minutes from the film to 202 minutes. Cuts included the shot of goggles on the tree, Brighton's "remarkable man" line to the priest, early shots of the drafting room scene, the whole officer's mess sequence where he's called a clown and upsets water on someone, and some dialogue between the General and Dryden. The 1970 theatrical re-release cut the film further to 187 minutes. The film was restored in 1988 at 228 minutes. This version, supervised by David Lean, was advertised as a Director's Cut and has been the version made available to home video formats since.
  • The abridged 202 minutes version has at least one scene that was not in the original 222 minutes version. Where Auda Abu Tayi(Anthony Quinn) calls out, "Come dine with me at Wadi Rhumm"In the original 222 mins version this scene cut directly to the inside of the tent where the Bedouins are waiting to eat. Director David Lean felt that this came across as corny, so he decided to insert a new shot of the the cliffs and asked Maurice Jarre(the composer) to compose new music that would be appropriate for the additional scene. This was the only scene that was not in the original 222 mins version. of the film.
  • Lawrence of Arabia had its world Premiere on 10 December 1962 before the Queen and its original running time was 222 minutes excluding the overture, entr'acte music and play out music. In January 1962 David Lean, the director, cut the film to 202 minutes and when the film finished its run at The Odeon Leicester Square it was the 202 mins version that opened at the Metropole , near Victoria station in February 1963..
  • When Robert Harris took on the task of restoring Lawrence of Arabia(1962) in 1987, his aim was to restore the film to its original 222 minutes length that premiered before The Queen in London on 10 December 1962. Initially he gradually found all the missing pieces including the famous "goggle" shot and the newly created(in 1962) Columbia logo shot. Harris' idea was to return this to the missing film, despite the fact that David Lean ordered that it be removed from the original film in January 1963 because he preferred the "sparkling" Columbia logo. All the 202 minutes version of the film,(which commenced at The Metropole Theatre in February 1963). had the "sparkling" Columbia logo. David Lean eventually got involved in the restoration process with Robert Harris and the two men worked together to get Lawrence back to its 222 minutes original cut. Then Lean decided that he would make some trims. In the scene in the second half where General Allenby entices Lawrence back to Arabia part of that scene is cut by a few seconds. Where Allenby says to Lawrence: "You're the most extraordinary man I've ever met" Lawrence replies: I'm extraordinary, I'm extraordinary, what of it." Lean decided to cut the second "I'm extraordinary" out. He did this also with many other scenes and brought the original running time of 222 minutes down to 216 minutes, not including the overture, entr'acte music and play out music.
  • The U.S. 1983 Capacitance Electronic Disc (CED), also commonly known RCA Selectavision Videodisc contains the 1970 theatrical re-release version which was rated "G" by the MPAA.
  • 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).