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Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

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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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Top Rated Movies #83 | Won 7 Oscars. Another 23 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Turkish Bey (as Jose Ferrer)
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John Dimech ...
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Storyline

Due to his knowledge of the native Bedouin tribes, British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence is sent to Arabia to find Prince Faisal and serve as a liaison between the Arabs and the British in their fight against the Turks. With the aid of native Sherif Ali, Lawrence rebels against the orders of his superior officer and strikes out on a daring camel journey across the harsh desert to attack a well-guarded Turkish port. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR WINNER OF 7 ACADEMY AWARDS (post-Oscar) See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

11 December 1962 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Lawrence de Arabia  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$32,930 (USA) (4 October 2002)

Gross:

$6,000,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) | (1970 re-release) | (original) | (premiere) | (restored roadshow)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording) (70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints) (original version)| (magnetic prints) (35 mm) (original version)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To film Omar Sharif's entrance through a mirage, Freddie Young used a special 482mm lens from Panavision. Panavision still has this lens, and it is known among cinematographers as the "David Lean lens". It was created specifically for this shot and has not been used since. See more »

Goofs

As Lawrence approaches the Suez canal from the east, he hears then sees over a dune the ship traveling left to right, obviously north. When he goes atop the dune, the ship is trailing away to the south. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
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 here?
See more »

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). See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Steagle (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Lawrence And Bodyguard
Music by Maurice Jarre
Performed by London Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Maurice Jarre
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Simultaneously personal and panoramic
23 May 2004 | by (London) – See all my reviews

Sweeping, epic and literate version of British adventurer and soldier T E Lawrence's experiences in Arabia during the First World War. Lawrence, miraculously well played by Peter O'Toole, "went native" when sent into the desert to find Alec Guinness's Prince Feisal. Before long he was striking out himself against the Turkish Ottoman Empire, which still held sway in the region at the beginning of the last century. Lawrence's efforts to unify the various Arab factions are particularly prescient.

Lawrence became an inspirational warlord whose neutral presence amongst the Arab tribes, lead by Omar Sharif and Anthony Quinn, amongst others, served to glue together shifting and uneasy alliances. As well as wrestling with himself, with his own demons, and with the cruel desert environment, the Englishman was also faced with culture clashes which pitted not only the imperialists against the indigenous populations, but also the mercenary practices of the Arab guerillas against the discipline of the British army. In the end, Lawrence himself does not know which side he is on, nor which party he belongs to. Set against a backdrop of the Arabian desert, the nomadic allies under Lawrence's direction, attack and disrupt the Turks' efforts to maintain control of the territory, whilst the elephant - the British army and its heavy guns under General Jack Hawkins - pushes ever deeper into the area: not until his job is done does Lawrence learn that the French and British governments have carved up the middle-east between them and that the battle-lines for the 21st century are already being drawn.

Scripted by the inimitable Robert Bolt and directed by David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia is one of those films without a weakness, despite drawing complaints for its near four hour length. The dialogue, cinematography, soundtrack and especially direction are superlative; likewise the supporting actors. But it is O'Toole at his charismatic best who steals the show in his starring debut; he never looked back. It may take an effort to watch this movie, but is well worth the ride and will, by the bye, provide some insight into the fractious and volatile world of Arab politics.

One of the best films ever made.


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