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8,916 Ratings

Lawrence of Arabia

Directed by David Lean
United Kingdom, 1962
Drama, Biography, Adventure


British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence is enlisted as a liaison between the diverse tribes of the Arabian peninsula and the British, in order to battle the Turks in World War I.

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Lawrence of Arabia Directed by David Lean

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1963 | 7 wins including: Best Picture

1963 | 3 nominations including: Best Actor in a Leading Role

Heroism in the classical sense had never truly been a subject of the interwar films, which instead tended to celebrate the quiet stoicism of the ordinary soldier. But Lean explored the idea of the hero in a very complex way, depicting Peter O’Toole’s T.E. Lawrence as a man in conflict with both himself and the very country for which he fights.
November 07, 2018
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The film’s understanding of T.E. Lawrence (or lack thereof) is encapsulated in its use of white. That we know Lawrence’s fate at the outset of the film renders his figure on screen akin to that of a ghost. The white of his robes reinforces this, as his silhouette is rendered visible by the space it carves out around him—like a puncture, only the edges remain. Thus, in the way white reflects everything back to us, readings of Lawrence’s character find no fixed point.
August 29, 2012
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If there is a single sequence in the history of film that tells you what watching a movie on a big screen really means, and how that larger-than-life way of experiencing a movie can be so important, it’s in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.
December 12, 2008
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What are people saying?

  • Zac Weber's rating of the film Lawrence of Arabia

    It's a monumental film that fills the walls of the Wadi Rum with its ambition. I love how so many elements from the film converge in the well scene where we first meet Sherif Ali. The symbolism abounds, from Lawrence's white robes to the moment he loses his compass.

  • HKFanatic's rating of the film Lawrence of Arabia

    70mm screening in San Francisco's grandest movie palace, so I couldn't have asked for a better venue to see this for the first time. But even with such a massive production, it's the writing of "Lawrence" that impressed me the most—David Lean and his screenwriters honing in on a man without a country, tormented by bloodlust and a question shouted across the Suez Canal, one destined to go unanswered: "Who are you?!"

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Lawrence of Arabia

    An epic vision of an 'overman' à la Cecil Rhodes, Lean's legendary film may not stand out for formal innovations but it's a pure cinema of heroism and shrewd tactics. It is also a cinema that, like its hero, entails extraordinary imagery of the desert, itself a landscape that reflects, as if a mirage, the barren course of contingent and undifferentiated events before the latter become History by charismatic leaders.

  • ASHES IN THE HOURGLASS's rating of the film Lawrence of Arabia

    Perhaps the only film that captures the desert more as a state of mind than just an environment. A place where left is right and forward is backward, where the mind may wander, where ambition is born, where all men become barbaric, etc.

  • Stefan Drees's rating of the film Lawrence of Arabia

    In its interaction of color, light, photography and music the beginning of the desert sequence with the sunrise around minute 18 is one of the most magical moments ever created in the history of cinema. If you see this you get an idea why Freddie Young’s camera work and Maurice Jarre's score are so important for this film and why David Lean gives room for a long musical introduction as well as for an interlude.

  • OFF_FRAME's rating of the film Lawrence of Arabia

    Just re-watched the stunning 2012 restoration and there is hardly a minute wasted in this compelling, engaging and superbly well written epic about a man's search for identity. Aside from the dodgy make-up and suspect ethnic casting the film is an incredible achievement for a time before CGI and crowd compositing. Even the middle-eastern politics are surprisingly resonant. recommended! 5 stars

  • msmichel's rating of the film Lawrence of Arabia

    One of the all time great epics expertly directed by David Lean. Seeing this in 70mm a couple of times was a treat for the young film lover. when it was first restored. Seeing again now still marvel at the sheer number of classic film moments on display. The amazing edits, shadowplay, optical effects from craftsmen guided to near perfection. 'Nothing is written'. Love the warts and all performance by O'Toole.

  • Trevor Tillman's rating of the film Lawrence of Arabia

    I saw this for the first time in one sitting (I'd seen it in multiple sittings on TV) at San Francisco's Castro Theatre, projected in 70mm. That was a year ago. I haven't seen it since, and yet this movie hasn't left my mind. I'd re-watch it, but nothing could ever compare to that last presentation, so I'm always on the lookout for it being projected somewhere.

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