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Lawrence of Arabia
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Lawrence of Arabia More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"They don't make movies like this"

Author: Romeo Garcia from Monterrey, Mexico
20 December 2013

I have to be honest i see this movie because Steven Spielberg always says that this movie is "the best movie i never gonna make" so i decide to buy the special edition DVD and see it.

What a great surprise come when i see it:

First the cast: Peter o'toole was simply AWESOME (why in the hell they don't give it the Oscar?!?)Omar sheriff was incredible in this part,Alec Guinness like always was really really great and finally but no last Anthony Quinn unforgettable in that amazing characterization.

Second The direction:David lean construct a one in a life piece of cinematography the view,the look,the photography,the music,the acting,the dialog,all in that movie that come together in one unique piece.

Third The music:Maurice Jarre piece of music is simply unforgettable all the tracks are simply a masterpiece and are without of doubt part essential of the movie.

I say it before and i say it now They don't make movies like this...and PLEASE don't try to do it.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Visual Grandeur

Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas
5 June 2013

Everything about this film is bold, clean, striking, vivid -- most apparent in the magnificent visuals. The landscape might as well have been Mars. Desert scenes convey a wonderful sense of sterile beauty, pristine and natural: blowing sands, the sun, the sky, and not much else, uncluttered by modern techno-jumble that renders cities ugly by comparison. The presence of a few humans on camels magnifies the grandeur of this spiritual place.

So spectacular are the desert scenes, they almost swallow up the story, about an eccentric, quirky Englishman named T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole), on a mission to help Arab tribes come together against the Turks in the early part of the twentieth century. Although not entirely factual, the film at least offers viewers a sense of real-life historical figures including not only Lawrence but also Prince Feisal (Alec Guinness), among others. All of the major characters are interesting in their own ways. All convey a sense of intelligence and enlightened vision, even as their cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds clash.

The script's dialogue is rendered potent due to its sparseness. Visuals carry the story effectively; minimal dialogue needed. And when it is present, it's sharp, crisp, striking. At one point a character asks Lawrence: "What is it ... that attracts you personally to the desert?" To which Lawrence responds in two words: "It's clean." Yes indeed. And so is the film's plot: simple, straightforward, bold, uncluttered.

Costumes and prod design are detailed. The score is pleasantly haunting, though it does get repeated a bit too often. Casting and acting are acceptable. I especially liked the camels; they are fun to observe. Color cinematography is brilliant, especially outdoors. The use of day-for-night camera filters is obvious in some scenes, giving the production an antiquated look, at times.

My major complaint is the runtime. I could have wished for a shorter film by about one hour. Some scenes are not really necessary; other scenes could have been shortened, all without losing character development or status as epic. It's a serious problem for this film, in that the resulting impression is one of pretension. I have no doubt that Lawrence and his Arab adventures are film worthy. But his story is hardly so earth-shaking as to merit nearly four hours, complete with "Intermission."

"Lawrence Of Arabia" was much better than I had expected, owing mostly to the visual grandeur. It's a very well put-together film, runtime notwithstanding. The film gives us historical and cultural perspective, and does so in a way that makes the desert landscape as much a character as the film's protagonist.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An Epic Masterpiece for All Time

Author: JimCanuk from Canada
12 November 2012

While this past weekend has seen the launch of the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the first James Bond movie, this fall marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere of David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia, a winner of seven 1962 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Today I went to a local Cineplex theatre to watch the 2012 50th anniversary digitally remastered version; it had to be digitally remastered to be compatible with today's projection equipment. This was exposed when they had technical difficulties starting the second half.

Aside from its awards for film mastery it is unique in that there is a 15-minute intermission after a couple of hours. There are five to ten minute musical preludes to each half of the production. At 222 minutes it is only a couple of minutes longer than Gone With The Wind and the longest movie to win a Best Picture Oscar.

From the time I first saw it in early 1963 at the then multi-hundred seat Carlton Theatre in Toronto (next to the old Maple Leaf Gardens) it remains in my memory as the best film production I have seen over time. The amazing Super Panavision 70 cinematography, Maurice Jarré's symphonic musical accompaniment and the overall sound established new performance standards. More surprisingly is that, even today, the script is not out-dated, with its philosophical musings, innuendos and double entendres. The plot, covering and exposing the complexities and emotions of the constantly challenged soldier is still gripping and keeps you on the edge throughout (I have now seen it five or six times over the years).

The scenes of Arab tribal armies on the move are epic for their coverage of hundreds of riders thundering through each such scene. With its desert panoramas and these scenes of undisciplined herds of camel and horseback riders, it is really best seen on the large screen. It was perhaps the first movie to show the full advantage of, what was then, relatively new wide screen 70 mm film technology. The sound and music is still ringing in my ears hours later. To absorb it totally on even the best of today's home theatre systems would be a challenge .

For all the video and sound technology available today, Lawrence of Arabia established a new movie theatre experience that is only mildly embellished by today's technology.

Bottom line: Lawrence of Arabia remains an epic and one of the greatest films ever produced, withstanding the test of time. Read the Wikipedia entry for more background and recognitions.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Simply the Best

Author: WNYer from Buffalo, NY - United States
16 October 2012

Epic biography of English colonel TE Lawrence who led the Arab revolt against the Turks during World War One.

My candidate for greatest movie ever made. Superbly crafted in every way; sterling performances from the cast, a literate script by Robert Bolt, dazzling camera work by Freddie Young, detailed production design by John Box and a beautiful music score by Maurice Jarre. It is all seamlessly assembled together by director David Lean in a masterwork.

The story follows Lawrence's un-military like beginning as a mapmaker in Cairo at the start of the war and his subsequent mission for the Arab bureau to report on the Arab revolt in the desert. While there, he gets the factional tribes to unite and gradually assumes command leading them on a series of daring military raids against the Turks which lead to his fame and legend.

Then unknown, Peter O'Toole plays the lead and carries the film in a star making performance. He is ably supported by newcomer Omar Sharif in a large supporting role and a who's who list of seasoned performers. Claude Rains as a dapper politician, Alec Guinness as Prince Feisal and Anthony Quinn as a fierce Arab warrior, Auda come off best but there is really not a false note in the entire group - everyone is solid.

Leans previous editing experience is also on frequent display in the film as he composes his shots with the discerning eye of an editor and it shows in almost every scene; blowing out the match and transitioning to the rising desert sun, the dazzling motorcycle ride thru the English countryside during the opening sequence, Sheriff Ali's mirage-like emergence from the desert at the water well - its just one great scene after another.

It is also a rare film that while epic in scale it never loses the intimate details of the characters or story - always holding your attention despite a length of almost four hours. The story itself still maintains relevance as it shows the factional nature of the middle east who's countryman are able to unite during war against a common enemy but can't keep it together while at peace.

Anyway, watch this movie on the largest screen you can with the best sound system you can and prepare yourself for a mesmerizing journey through the desert.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Rivals The Godfather and Citizen Cane

Author: kevway from Cleveland, Ohio
17 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The American Film Institute awarded Peter O'Toole the distinction of greatest performance by an actor in the history of cinema for his performance as Lawrence. Also, director David Lean and crew picked up more all-time top tens for this film than any other. So you might ask why it gets less attention? For one, it does bog down a bit 3/4th of the way through, that, and it has no parts for women, unless you count three seconds dragging off the mens' leftover food, and four seconds of ululating from a distant hillside, or playing dead after the rape and massacre of a village. I suppose I can understand why female movie buffs are less enthralled by this all-guy war adventure than I am.

I was only ten years of age when my Mom took me to see this in 1962, and I was affected so utterly by Lawrence as David Lean and O'Toole created him, that I could not endure to see the film end after two and a half hours. (The director's cut is longer for you lucky DVD owners). In the final reel, as Lawrence hitches a ride in a motorcar back to the port where he'll return to England, he sees a few Bedouins riding their camels and he takes a long look back once they pass. At that moment, knowing that, like Lawrence, I was about to leave the romance of war in the desert too, I felt a bond so complete that no hero would ever replace Lawrence of Arabia for me. As Lawrence approaches 50, I have been a cinema fan ever since; but of the thousand odd movies I've seen, although some do come close, this is my favorite movie ever.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Epic Of All Epics

Author: Desertman84 from United States
2 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lawrence of Arabia is a British film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence. It was directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel through his British company, Horizon Pictures, with the screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. The film stars Peter O'Toole in the title role. It is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential films in the history of cinema.The film depicts Lawrence's experiences in Arabia during World War I, in particular his attacks on Aqaba and Damascus and his involvement in the Arab National Council. Its themes include Lawrence's emotional struggles with the personal violence inherent in war, his personal identity, and his divided allegiance between his native Britain and its army and his newfound comrades within the Arabian desert tribes.

This sweeping, highly literate historical epic covers the Allies' mid-eastern campaign during World War I as seen through the eyes of the enigmatic T. E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole, in the role that made him a star). After a prologue showing us Lawrence's ultimate fate, we flash back to Cairo in 1917. A bored general staffer, Lawrence talks his way into a transfer to Arabia. Once in the desert, he befriends Sheriff Ali Ben El Kharish and draws up plans to aid the Arabs in their rebellion against the Turks. No one is ever able to discern Lawrence's motives in this matter: Prince Feisal dismisses him as yet another "desert-loving Englishman," and his British superiors assume that he's either arrogant or mad. Using a combination of diplomacy and bribery, Lawrence unites the rival Arab factions of Feisal and Auda Abu Tayi.After successfully completing his mission, Lawrence becomes an unwitting pawn of the Allies, as represented by Gen. Allenby (Jack Hawkins) and Dryden, who decide to keep using Lawrence to secure Arab cooperation against the Imperial Powers. While on a spying mission to Deraa, Lawrence is captured and tortured by a sadistic Turkish Bey. In the heat of the next battle, a wild-eyed Lawrence screams "No prisoners!" and fights more ruthlessly than ever.

The epic of all epics, Lawrence of Arabia cements director David Lean's status in the filmmaking pantheon with nearly four hours of grand scope, brilliant performances, and beautiful cinematography. Two years in the making, the movie, lensed in Spain and Jordan, ended up costing a then- staggering $13 million and won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Simply the Best!

Author: addiewhiz from United States
27 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have had the privilege of watching some of the greatest films ever made. However, of all of those films, none have been quite able to match the simply magnificent splendor of "Lawrence of Arabia". I strongly believe that this is the greatest film ever made. I'll begin with the dialog. Every conversation and line of dialog in this film is so precisely crafted and so memorable. The film begins by showing how the title character, Thomas Edward Lawrence dies. At his funeral, a reporter is walking around talking to various characters that will later be shown to be of significance in the story. Two of these characters are British Generals Murray and Allenby. Both of them claim to have not known him well. This scene perfectly sets the stage for the story. A story about a man who was mysterious, strange and seldom understood by those around him, particularly his peers in the British Army. The director, Sir David Lean, also does an excellent job in casting each and every one of the characters, especially the main character, T.E. Lawrence himself. Peter O'Toole's portrayal of Lawrence is absolutely spectacular, as he is able to make it such that Lawrence's behavior and actions are uniquely in tune with his circumstances, while still transcending all of it. If I were to go into how amazing the casting of the other characters is as well, this review would go well beyond the IMDb word limit. One of the most striking elements of this film is the cinematography. Not many films are this successful at immersing the audience into the environment of the story. The spectacular views of the desert in this film make the viewer feel as though they are going through this adventure with Lawrence, and make the entire experience feel so much more real. I could go on, but I feel that a review about this films many strengths would take far too long.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Take it from me for ordinary men it's a burning fiery Dryden it's going to be fun.......

Author: Maddyclassicfilms from United Kingdom
11 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lawrence Of Arabia is directed by David Lean,produced by Sam Spiegel and Robert A.Harris,Cinematography by Freddie Young,Music by Maurice Jarre and stars Peter O'Toole,Omar Shariff,Anthony Quinn,Alec Guinness and Claude Rains.

What more can one add to the extensive writings and discussions about this landmark film over the years.Well for one thing this is so much more than just a biopic of an incredible time in one mans life.Lawrence Of Arabia is a detailed study of one man,his psyche,emotions and his tragic rise and fall from fame and grace.At first setting out to understand and perhaps even change the Arab soldiers,Lawrence soon lets rage rule his heart and bloodlust go to head.In so doing he becomes one of the bloodthirsty so called barbarians he thinks he can mould into a form of his choosing as their new leader,but soon discovers he cannot change so many years of tradition no matter how hard he tries.In this he sees all his efforts have been futile.

He also comes to understand he cannot stay as one of them,yet nor can he return to the British who he has alienated more(through his actions in the desert)than he did when he was among them as an oddity.His fate is to live alone,forever torn between two cultures drifting alone in the breeze.

Visually this film continues to inspire and stun audiences today mainly due to the fact everything seen on screen is real.There are no CGI armies but real ones consisting of hundreds of extras.The desert locations had to be cleared of footprints if a shot went wrong to keep the appearance of untouched sand for the retake.Decades on and Leans masterpiece still stands firm as the goal new filmmakers aspire to in their own work,that is obvious testament to his talent,dedication and vision.

Lawrence Of Arabia tells the fascinating true story of the complex British Intelligence Officer,T.E Lawrence(an impressive film debut from Peter O'Toole).The film begins with Lawrences death in a motorcycle accident in Britain,then flashes back to the First World War.In 1916 he's sent to report on the progress of the Arab revolt against the Turkish Empire.He ends up becoming adviser to Prince Feisal(Alec Guinness)and with the help of the man who becomes his friend,confidant and at times conscience,Sheriff Ali(Omar Shariff)organizes a guerrilla army.For two years Lawrence leads the Arabs in harassing the Turks,courtesy of raids and train and camel attacks.

Sadly his new found power goes to his head somewhat,and his ego becomes inflated as he thinks he is invincible and of great importance(not just in the desert but everywhere).The heart of this film lies in finding out exactly who is Lawrence?.A question echoed in a scene across a river where a dispatch rider(voice dubbed by Director David Lean)shouts to Lawrence "who are you"?.

That in a nutshell is the whole point of the story,Lawrence doesn't know where he belongs,does he belong with Ali in the Desert,in the English countryside,is he British,Arab or neither,where does he fit in?.From when we first see him he is not fully accepted by English fellows and peers so he jumps at the chance to go somewhere that might accept him(and for a time he does find his place).

With a stunning lead performance by Peter O'Toole (who beat fellow Brit and all round favourite for the role)Albert Finney to the hot role of the year.Breathtaking photography,fine ensemble cast and Maurice Jarres iconic,sweeping score Lawrence Of Arabia truly is a remarkable film experience not to be missed.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: williwaw from United States
25 July 2011

Sam Spiegel who began his career as 'Sam P Eagle' reverted to his birth name and produced some of the greatest films of the 50's: The African Queen, The Wild One, Bridge On The River Kwai and Suddenly Last Summer. Spiegel's greatest triumph would come with this film in a new decade the 1960's. Columbia Pictures gave Spiegel's great discretion as he worked from London under his Horizon Film's banner. Stars like Brando, Hepburn, Bogart, Taylor, Clift, were in Speigel's films. Taking the story of T E Lawrence, Sam Spiegel once again joined forces with His great collaborator on The Bridge on River Kawi David Lean and together they made in my assessment the finest film of all time "Lawrence Of Arabia".

Casting Peter O Toole after Marlon Brando declined the role, Lean and Spiegel created a worldwide star and to me O'Toole's Lawrence is the finest performance I have ever seen from an male star. (Gloria Swanson's Sunset Blvd gets my vote as best femme performance). O Toole while nominated lost the Oscar to Gregory Peck. (Jack Lemmon's searing Days of Wine And Roses was also nominated)

Maurice Jarre created a memorable score, one of the best if not best ever. David Lean assembled a cast of Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Anthony Quinn and in a star making performance, Omar Sharif.

One cannot praise this film enough, including the magical photography in the desert, and the performance of a lifetime from Peter O Toole.

I consider this the finest film I have ever seen


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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

As Close to Perfect as a Movie Can Get.

Author: zeedunn from United States
14 February 2009

Last week, I received the awesome privilege of being able to watch Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen at a local theater. I have seen this film multiple times. In fact, I own a DVD copy, but I have never seen it magnified. And yes, it makes a difference. You can actually see the grains of sand blowing around the Nefud desert. You feel the sun burning down as Lawrence rides through the scorching Devil's Anvil. And more than once, you see those blue penetrating eyes staring straight into your heart and know how a skinny, white British soldier inspired the Arab people to almost free themselves once and for all from imperialism.

This won't be so much of a review as a reflection. Truly reviewing this movie would be a daunting task which I won't attempt now.

If you haven't seen Lawrence, it is an experience worth having. True, at 216 minutes, it is longer than your average film. But unlike some films of this length the viewer stays involved. In fact, at the end of this film, I am always wanting more. It seems impossible that a people group could get so close to their goal only to turn back. And I want to see Lawrence and Sheriff Ali continue their strange, endearing fellowship past what this film shows. And unlike some biopics, we don't see some long drawn out story about how painful Lawrence's childhood was or follow him past his prime to see him sighing over lost opportunities. The ending is abrupt with no sense of conclusion. The whole thing seems like a big buildup to failure, but no one ever said Lawrence of Arabia could be put into a nice, neat box.

At the beginning, T.E. Lawrence is stationed in Cairo in the maps room. He is portrayed as messy, reckless, and somewhat masochistic. He enjoys letting a match burn down to his fingers and "not minding that it hurts." He is called to the general's quarters by Mr. Dryden, of the Arab Bureau, for his knowledge of the Bedouin people. They want to send him to look for the Bedouin people and Prince Feisal. His mission is to assess the situation. That's a somewhat nebulous task, but Lawrence is enthralled. He gets to come out of his hidey hole in the maps room, out into the desert, and away from those stodgy British military folks. Lawrence has an obvious obsession with the Arabian culture and the desert. As we watch him riding his camel, he looks around him like a kid with his first slingshot.

Lawrence's initial encounters with the Arabs are mixed. He gets along well with his guide only to see the man get killed the next day by another Arab merely for drinking from a well. Lawrence sees this as somewhat barbaric, but we can see his eyes sparkle when it happens. This is a physical tell. He has been raised to be a civilized British conservative, but his heart longs for the feuding and bloodthirst of the eastern world.

Lawrence finds Prince Feisal and his people in the midst of a Turkish air strike. He is invited into the tent and speak out of turn. Feisal wants to hear what he has to say. Lawrence seems to desperately want to please this man and to "out-Arab" the Arabs. What is his motivation? Does he truly love the Arab culture so much? Does he wish to glorify himself as the one who could make it work? Is he just suicidal? Is he out to prove an agenda? Director David Lean (genius) makes the wise choice to leave this open. He never attempts to "explain Lawrence." This is why people are still obsessed with this movie 40 years later. Lawrence is a mystery.

Lawrence breaks with his orders by deciding to do more than assess. He decides to help the Arabs take Damascus and will stop at nothing to make this goal a reality. Not ridicule, not the impassable desert, and especially not "what is written" will keep this white boy from dreaming the impossible dream. He dares to hope, to dream and creates a believer out of Sharif Ali and the rest of the Bedouin peoples.

The film contains moments of grandeur, such as the battle scenes and the train raids. It also includes quiet moments around the fire, like when Sheriff Ali tells Lawrence he can choose his own name. This movie is a symphony, which has dynamics of highs and lows. This is a lost art in the film world today. Above all, there is the desert, which is more than the setting of the movie, it is a living thing which invites Lawrence into its danger and secrets. The desert is the seductress which pulls Lawrence into his long arduous path from conquering hero to possible madman to a man resigned. The dessert brings out the very best in Lawrence, and the very worst.

The dialogue is precise and memorable. The music is gorgeous. The acting is superb. The only problem with this film is that I will never be able to understand who Lawrence truly was. That is the maddening genius of this film. I am going to make a bold statement here. I believe this is as close to being a perfect movie as one can get.

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