After settling his differences with a Japanese P.O.W. camp commander, a British Colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors, while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
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
Producer Sam Spiegel and Director Sir David Lean's already testy relationship soon reached the breaking point. Spiegel rarely visited the set, but constantly complained long-distance about Lean's "wasting" money, and allegedly poor footage. Lean eventually got back at Spiegel by sneaking into the dailies a shot of him flipping Spiegel off, in 70mm. See more »
When Allenby and Lawrence visit the officers' bar in Cairo, immediately after Allenby says "Shall we go outside?", a bright yellow American school bus is briefly visible driving by the distant window in the right-middle portion of the frame. See more »
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 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. See more »
I first saw this movie on a scratchy VHS almost twenty years ago (I was 10). Liked it (sort of-enjoyed the battle scenes and the train blowing up), but didn't understand why my dad was so crazy about it.
The next time was on laserdisc (remember those?) almost 10 years ago and I was hooked. I finally got it - the conflict, the performances, the music, the dialogue - all mesmerising.
But it was only in 2002, when I saw the 40th-anniversary reissue on 70mm that I was completely blown away seeing the scale, the enormity of Lean's accomplishment. There were scenes that gave me goosepimples (the opening credits, the cut from the matchstick to the desert sunrise, "nothing is written" - others too numerous to mention).
The point of this rather rambling review is this - a movie that can evoke such passion in its admirers stands by itself, beyond reviews or criticism. If you haven't seen it yet I envy you, because you get to experience it for the first time.
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