Thursday, July 9, 2015

Lawrence of Arabia

1962 British/American Feature

Cast: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Omar Sharif, José Ferrer, Anthony Quayle, Claude Rains, Arthur Kennedy and Donald Wolfit
Director: David Lean
Writer: Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson, based on the writings of T.E. Lawrence

The life of the brilliant, flamboyant British military officer T.E. Lawrence, who helped unite warring Arab tribes to strike back against the Turks during World War I.


  • Internet Movie Database: 8.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 99% / Audience: 93%
  • Metacritic - Critics: 100% / Audience: 8.5%
  • OMG rating: 9/10

  • DVD/Blu-ray: Available
  • Soundtrack: Available
  • Books: Available


  • Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, Color Cinematography, Color Art Direction, Score - Substantially Original, Film Editing and Sound; also nominated for Best Actor (O'Toole), Supporting Actor (Sharif) and Adapted Screenplay.
  • BAFTA Awards for Best Film from Any Source, British Film, British Actor (O'Toole) and British Screenplay; also nominated for Best Foreign Actor (Quinn).
  • David di Donatello Awards for Best Foreign Production and Foreign Actor (O'Toole).
  • Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures.
  • Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture - Drama, Director, Supporting Actor (Sharif) and Color Cinematography; also nominated for Best Actor (O'Toole, Quinn) and Score.
  • National Board of Review Award for Best Director.
  • Producers Guild of America Hall of Fame - Motion Pictures, 2001.

  • Widely considered one of the greatest and most influential films in the history of cinema.
  • Casting Call: Marlon Brando, Horst Buchholz, Montgomery Clift, Alain Delon, Kirk Douglas, Albert Finney, Cary Grant, Edmond O'Brien, Laurence Olivier, Anthony Perkins and John Wayne.
  • Alec Guinness, who plays Prince Feisal, had previously played T.E. Lawrence in Terence Rattigan's play Ross (which centered primarily on Lawrence's alleged homosexuality), and was briefly considered for the lead role in the film, but director David Lean and producer Sam Spiegel thought he was too old.
  • David Lean thought that one of Lawrence's key conflicts throughout the film was his inability to come to terms with his own homosexuality. He also compared the relationship between Lawrence and Sherif Ali (played by Omar Sharif) to the doomed love affair in his earlier film Brief Encounter.
  • The scenes where Lawrence was tortured and assaulted by the Turks was from his book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Due to the humiliation which he suffered, Lawrence refused its publication, which was not until after his death. While assisting Robert Bolt with research, author Anthony Nutting, who was working on his own biography of Lawrence, became convinced that the war hero had left something out of Seven Pillars in his description of his capture and mistreatment by the Turkish police. He finally uncovered a rare 1922 edition of the manuscript that strongly suggested that the Turkish Bey had actually raped Lawrence, a fact hinted at in the final movie.
  • Although 222 minutes long, Lawrence of Arabia has no women in speaking roles. It is reportedly the longest film not to have any dialogue spoken by a woman. It is also, at slightly more than 1 minute longer than Gone With the Wind, the longest movie ever to win a Best Picture Oscar.
  • Referring to Peter O'Toole, who was considerably taller and better looking than the real T.E. Lawrence, Noël Coward reportedly said, "If he'd been any prettier, they'd have had to call it Florence of Arabia."
  • The then-blacklisted co-screenwriter Michael Wilson was initially uncredited. His credit was restored in 1978 by the Writers Guild of America.
  • A 216 minute "restored director's cut" of Lawrence of Arabia was re-released in 1989. An extended version of the Deraa rape sequence, which makes Lawrence's punishment in that scene more overt, was one of the scenes restored. A new digital restoration was made for Blu-ray and theatrical re-release during 2012 by Sony Pictures to celebrate the film's 50th anniversary.
  • In 1991, Lawrence of Arabia was inducted into the National Film Registry.
  • An "unofficial" sequel, titled A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia, was produced for British television and first broadcast in 1992; it aired in America on PBS' Great Performances. Ralph Fiennes played Lawrence. The film suggested more openly Lawrence's alleged homosexuality.
  • In 1998, Lawrence of Arabia was ranked #5 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Movies" list.
  • In 2001, Lawrence of Arabia was ranked #23 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Thrills" list.
  • In 2003, T.E. Lawrence was ranked the #10 hero on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Heroes & Villains" list.
  • In 2005, Maurice Jarre's score for Lawrence of Arabia was ranked #3 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years of Film Scores" list.
  • In 2006, Lawrence of Arabia was ranked #30 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Cheers" list.
  • In 2007, Lawrence of Arabia was ranked #7 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Movies: 10th Anniversary Edition" list.
  • In 2008, Lawrence of Arabia was ranked the #1 Epic on the American Film Institute's "10 Top 10" list.

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