Lawrence of Arabia
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Lawrence of Arabia can be found here.

In the film's original release, Robert Bolt was the only listed screenwriter, even though Michael Wilson had worked on the script longer than Bolt (17 months to Bolt's 14). Wilson was denied a screen credit, because Wilson had been "blacklisted" as a Communist sympathizer by HUAC in the early '50s. Sam Spiegel tried to force Wilson to sign a document disavowing all of his Communist ties. Wilson refused, and after Bolt took over the project, he became the sole credited writer. Wilson appealed for credit to Bolt, but Bolt was unsympathetic. Bolt and David Lean were instrumental in blocking Wilson's credit when the film was restored in 1989, and he was not listed on the credits until a video release in the '90s after Lean and Bolt had both died. Exactly what each writer contributed is a source of contention, but it can be summed up as follows: Wilson contributed many of the historical inventions of the film: the relationship between Lawrence and Ali, the rescue/execution of Gassim, the Lowell Thomas/Bentley character, for instance. However, Bolt and Wilson's scripts were of a decidedly different focus. Wilson drew a broader analysis of the story's political context, while Bolt focused on Lawrence himself. And by Wilson's own admission, over 90% of the dialogue was Bolt's.

Yes. In most epic films in which the main character dies, he or she dies at the end. In Lawrence of Arabia, Lawrence dies at the beginning, and most of the rest of the film is told in flashback.

The first version, shown in cinemas in 1962 (12/10/1962: world premiere England, 12/16/1962: US premiere) was 222 minutes long. Because it was too long for the cinema managers 20 minutes had been cut by the director and producer Sam Spiegel. This version was shown in cinemas in 1963. In 1970, director David Lean was ordered to cut another 15 minutes for TV airings, which he did under the condition that this version was not to be shown in cinemas. (The first TV version reduced Jos Ferrer's role to little more than two lines, completely obscuring his character's homosexual inclinations and rendering the Turkish Bey as simply a sadist.) In 1989, attempts were made to recreate and restore the original version. Cut scenes were re-integrated and missing audio parts were re-recorded with he original cast. A detailed comparison with pictures can be found here.

Page last updated by RYankowitz, 4 months ago
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