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Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

A Mighty Motion Picture Of Action And Adventure!

Rating: 10/10

Running Time: 216 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: PG


If you’ve ever known a pompous gap year student who’s taken a local bus in Eastern Europe or walked through a forest in Thailand and harped on about it being a truly life-changing, death defying experience and then bored you with their inane tales for years, Lawrence of Arabia is the perfect antidote.

David Lean’s epic masterpiece is based on the true story of T. E. Lawrence (O’Toole), who as a young intelligence officer in Cairo during World War One, was sent to investigate the progress of an Arab revolt against the ruling Turks. For two years Lawrence organises a guerilla army that harrasses the Turks through ambushes, sabotages and attacks on Turkish strongholds and eventually joins the British in smashing the Ottoman forces. Along the way however, Lawrence the man changes as his personality slides from optimistic to world weary and slightly disturbed.

O’Toole gives an intense performance as the man who was labelled many things – fruitcake, visionary, hero, sadist – and he always shows the right levels of charisma, madness and brooding hatred. O’Toole’s persona will forever be  intertwined with Lawrence’s however LofA has so much else going for it. A quality supporting cast, especially Alec Guinness and Omar Sharif , sweeping desert panoramas and glorious cinematography, an intelligent script and an iconic musical score. On top of that, David Lean plays fast and loose with the exact truth as this is based on Lawrence’s own patchy memoirs and so it doesn’t get bogged down in historical detail.

The word epic is used too often nowadays (and yes, I am a chief culprit) but it is almost as if LoA has made this word obsolete. The sheer epic scale and epic star power make this one of the best epic movies ever made. Epic.

It's Got: Star power, an intelligent script, awesome sound and visuals

It Needs: Nothing

DVD Extras The Special Edition had a one-hour making of documentary, four short featurettes, 9 minute conversation with Steven Spielberg regarding David Lean, trailers, premiere footage and photo galleries - pretty good but just what you would expect from a two disc special edition DVD Extras Rating: 7/10


David Lean’s based-on-a-true-story epic oozes star power and quality on a scale rarely seen before or since.