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Lawrence of Arabia
Drama, Adventure, Biography, History, War
IMDB rating:
David Lean
Peter O'Toole as T.E. Lawrence
Alec Guinness as Prince Feisal
Anthony Quinn as Auda abu Tayi
Jack Hawkins as General Lord Edmund Allenby
Omar Sharif as Sherif Ali
José Ferrer as Turkish Bey
Anthony Quayle as Colonel Brighton
Claude Rains as Mr. Dryden
Arthur Kennedy as Jackson Bentley
Donald Wolfit as General Sir Archibald Murray
I.S. Johar as Gasim
Gamil Ratib as Majid
Michel Ray as Farraj
John Dimech as Daud
Storyline: An inordinately complex man who has been labeled everything from hero, to charlatan, to sadist, Thomas Edward Lawrence blazed his way to glory in the Arabian desert, then sought anonymity as a common soldier under an assumed name. The story opens with the death of Lawrence in a motorcycle accident in Dorset at the age of 46, then flashbacks to recount his adventures: as a young intelligence officer in Cairo in 1916, he is given leave to investigate the progress of the Arab revolt against the Turks in World War I. In the desert, he organizes a guerrilla army and--for two years--leads the Arabs in harassing the Turks with desert raids, train-wrecking and camel attacks. Eventually, he leads his army northward and helps a British General destroy the power of the Ottoman Empire.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
1080p 1920x874 px 4604 Mb h264 2835 Kbps mp4 Download
DVD-rip 560x320 px 1865 Mb mpeg4 1181 Kbps mp4 Download
stunning film - must see
If ever a movie earned the definition 'epic', then 'Lawrence Of Arabia' is it. In an age when sumptuous set-pieces can be effortlessly conjured-up by computer programmers, this truly authentic feast of cinematic vision still possesses the power to blow your mind. This is the real thing. The wide-sweeping vistas of desert wilderness are not special-effects; they are REAL. And they look real. Long views, sweeping pans and takes sustained over minutes are realised with a clarity, colour and vividness that absolutely melt your heart. That imagery is a more believable conduit to this complex man's evolving obsession with Arabia than the narrative itself.

Every scene is a breathtaking study in light and colour, character and dialogue. Every second is worth seeing and every word worth hearing. And its theme music is as iconic as the man himself.

The inimitable Peter O'Toole with his blonde hair, steely-blue eyes, haunting expressions and mood swings, commands your attention in every take. His Lawrence is a man swallowed up by a personal sense of destiny, striding between his cynical and prosaic taskmasters and a doomed belief in what might be achieved with superhuman effort. Omar Sharif never played a better role as foil to his capricious hero. Unusually, there are no leading ladies. And they're certainly not needed. A love interest would have cheapened the entire presentation. Here is a story about the romance of time and place. As that other great Arabian traveller and admirer of the ideal - Wilfred Thessiger - once remarked; "women spoil everything".

This is a long movie. Those with short attention-spans raised upon sausage-machine editing are doomed to find it dull, tedious, boring, slow and all of the other criticisms that fall from the lips of a generation accustomed to x-box action sequencing. But if you are blessed with a longer vintage, then Lean's masterpiece will swallow you up as surely as the desert itself.
After three hours of watching this film I went and had a bath and when I came back it was still going. Why we're all expected to swoon over this film I don't know. I always found it a colossal bore. Okay, nice scenery but it's basically yellow and flat. The endless vanities and self aggrandisements of the characters are supposed to enthrall us I suspose. Lawrence walking along the top of the train to stirring music is supposed to do what exactly? Having to shoot the man he laboured so hard to save and at great personal risk was the only interesting irony that compelled me a bit. I can't bear Lean's films.
A saga of epic proportions..
"Lawrence of Arabia" had been on my must-watch movies list for a long time. There was so much I had heard and read about it. A lot had been written about this epic saga of T.E. Lawrence as being one of the greatest and most influential films of all time, revered by many great directors including Martin Scorsese.

I finally got a chance to see it recently, and considering all the good things I had heard about it, I must admit that my expectations were quite high.

"Lawrence of Arabia" tells the story of Lt. Colonel T.E. Lawrence, focussing on his war experiences in Arabia during World War I. A topic of such vast proportions needed an equally ambitious project to pull it off, and indeed, the filmmakers have put in a lot of efforts in painting this huge canvas and achieving what they'd set out to. Peter O'Toole plays the eponymous T.E. Lawrence. The film starts out with the accidental death of T.E. Lawrence in the present. The film then flashes back to narrate the story of how Lawrence was sent on a mission to evaluate the situation in Arabia, pertaining to Prince Faisal and his revolt against the Ottoman Turks.

Rest of the film then shows Lawrence's own involvement in leading the Arabs in the battle against Turks. So needless to say, you are presented with extravagant battle scenes, and long, never-ending desert treks, Lawrence's new-found friendships, his emotional ups and downs and some difficult choices that he is presented with. The director heavily indulges in showing off the beautifully shot desert landscapes (with the excellent Super Panavision 70 cinematography by Freddie Young).

"Lawrence of Arabia" lived up to my expectations during most of its long running time. In fact a lot more during the first two hours of the film. But something happened in the final act. Somehow the whole film seemed to go a bit awry and disoriented for some reasons which I am finding difficult to put in words. Suffice to say that it wasn't the overwhelming experience I thought it would be. For one, I think the film could have easily been cut short. A lot of time has been spent on desert treks and their long journeys through it. Yes, these scenes do require detail to show the hardships these men must've faced while crossing those perilous desert lands. But I somehow feel the director went too far in his attempt. So much so that the events taking place in the final 30-45 minutes seem too abrupt and disconnected.

There have been films as long as this and longer, but they have enough substance to fill those long hours. There are sufficient examples ('The Godfather Part II', 'Schindler's List', 'Seven Samurai' to name a few). "Lawrence of Arabia" has enough substance, yes, but a running time of 216 minutes, was simply not necessary.

That aside, the film, of course has plenty of plusses: As mentioned earlier, Freddie Young's cinematography is superb, so is Maurice Jarre's inspirational score. David Lean does a great job in directing this script by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson, but falls a little short of expectations in terms of distribution of the content. Nonetheless, this was in itself a magnificent, ambitious project and a difficult one at that, so it is not fair to nitpick too much.

The cast: Peter O'Toole's performance is widely talked about. For me, frankly it was somewhat inconsistent. Not to take away any merits from the Legendary actor's acting talent. He was, in fact, great in some scenes. But I was slightly put off by the sometimes nervous, sometimes excessively confident behaviour. Then there were some scenes in which he went way over the top in displaying his emotions. Maybe it was the director who wanted O'Toole to act like that and O'Toole gave the director what he wanted.

The supporting cast is great, especially Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn and Alec Guiness. I had seen Anthony Quinn in Fellini's "La Strada" earlier and it was great to see him display such versatility.

All said, "Lawrence of Arabia" is a great film, but falls a tad short of being a masterpiece in my book.

However, it definitely deserves to be watched at least once by any serious lover of cinema.
Simultaneously personal and panoramic
Sweeping, epic and literate version of British adventurer and soldier T E Lawrence's experiences in Arabia during the First World War. Lawrence, miraculously well played by Peter O'Toole, "went native" when sent into the desert to find Alec Guinness's Prince Feisal. Before long he was striking out himself against the Turkish Ottoman Empire, which still held sway in the region at the beginning of the last century. Lawrence's efforts to unify the various Arab factions are particularly prescient.

Lawrence became an inspirational warlord whose neutral presence amongst the Arab tribes, lead by Omar Sharif and Anthony Quinn, amongst others, served to glue together shifting and uneasy alliances. As well as wrestling with himself, with his own demons, and with the cruel desert environment, the Englishman was also faced with culture clashes which pitted not only the imperialists against the indigenous populations, but also the mercenary practices of the Arab guerillas against the discipline of the British army. In the end, Lawrence himself does not know which side he is on, nor which party he belongs to. Set against a backdrop of the Arabian desert, the nomadic allies under Lawrence's direction, attack and disrupt the Turks' efforts to maintain control of the territory, whilst the elephant - the British army and its heavy guns under General Jack Hawkins - pushes ever deeper into the area: not until his job is done does Lawrence learn that the French and British governments have carved up the middle-east between them and that the battle-lines for the 21st century are already being drawn.

Scripted by the inimitable Robert Bolt and directed by David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia is one of those films without a weakness, despite drawing complaints for its near four hour length. The dialogue, cinematography, soundtrack and especially direction are superlative; likewise the supporting actors. But it is O'Toole at his charismatic best who steals the show in his starring debut; he never looked back. It may take an effort to watch this movie, but is well worth the ride and will, by the bye, provide some insight into the fractious and volatile world of Arab politics.

One of the best films ever made.
A Vision that Defines Itself
A man has an inner drive that makes him peculiar and intense. He goes to the desert and falls in love with it and its people. Gaining powerful sponsors, he has a grand vision that he accomplishes by inspiring and directing thousands. But in a very short time, that grand work is compromised and disassembled by fat cats in offices who are concerned with different values.

True of both Lawrence and Lean. The legacy of Lawrence is still in violent disarray (I write this a short time after the Sept 11 attacks on New York). But Lean's vision was saved, and what a vision! Of this picture, it can be said that it is perfect if only because it is so visionary that it defines its own rules.

Lean's vision is also lean, with vast zones of sonic and visual silence -- several meditations on the unperceived. Though there is a story (who are you?) this is really a film of TE's 'Seven Pillars,' which creates a romantic vision of sculpted natural forces. So powerful a depiction that Islam experienced a faddish attraction in the West, a place now enjoyed by Tibetan Buddhism. That was before.

See here the original Obiwan, every intonation, movement and dress. See here Peter O'Toole's personality become completely entwined with the character, who is as fictionalized by our eye as by Lowell's. See the most expressive, anthropomorphic train wreck in history.

Watch a particularly interesting brand of acting by the 'Arabs.' Macho men are acting anyway, so an actor can play an actor when he lands such a role.

The star of the film is the clever eye of God, not the clockmaker or judge of the west but the chess player of the mirage. Its face is clearest in my mind when the Turk holds TE down for torture and smiles. Its hand in the creaking of Feisal's tent -- who would ever imagine the wind acting? (Kurosawa's 'Ran' at the beginning is the only other example I know.)

I have a few films I admire for various. mostly intellectual qualities. But in the direct matter of visual storytelling, this one tops my list.
The grand-daddy of all biopics
If we're in the mood to do film genealogies, and I am, then Lawrence of Arabia is probably the inventor of the modern biopic, the perennial awards-bait genre. (You could maybe posit Citizen Kane as the originator, but that's really a different kettle of fish.) It examines a fairly recent historical figure at the prime of their life, dedicating numerous scenes and most of the dialogue to hammering home that the central character is a Very Special Person Unlike His Short-Sighted Bosses, and in this way the film spends a good amount of time justifying itself. This genre obviously has strengths and flaws, and they're apparent in Lawrence: the striking personal power as well as the kind of historical oversimplification and tourism that goes along with it.

Lawrence of Arabia's main claims to being a great film are David Lean's gorgeous cinematography, stopping the action at several points simply to capture the desert in all its cold grandeur, and the film's final hour, in which Peter O'Toole turns his larger-than-life hero into a desperate, wild-eyed man who can no longer control the violence he's created. The biggest points against it are its indulgent four-hour running time and its unavoidable racism (having two of its major Arab characters played by white actors in brownface is really one of the lesser offences.) With this in mind, it's hard to say whether a contemporary viewer will really enjoy this film. I found it fitfully interesting but ultimately had trouble engaging with it, and felt kind of exhausted by the film. On the other hand, I've been told that it needs to be seen on a big screen for true appreciation, and not my modest laptop monitor, so I don't want to say anything definitive. Whether or not it "holds up", Lawrence of Arabia is a pioneering movie that manages, despite everything, to capture a kind of beauty, and that makes it worth slogging through for anyone genuinely interested in film.
50 years of enjoyment and still thrilling audiences at any age!
How many movies in your lifetime can you really say left a mark on you? I was 9 years old when my father took me to the Michigan Theater downtown Lansing in January of 1963. I was amazed by the size of the theater let alone the opening scene of this movie with the desert sunrise. There were huge speakers in the back of the theater which enhanced the music perfectly. Peter O'Toole was the perfect choice to play the main character T.E. Lawrence. Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Claude Rains, Jack Hawkins, Anthony Quinn and Jose Ferrer were perfectly cast for their parts throughout the movie as well as other movies that they would play in. World War I was a horrible war with so many new ways to kill each other readily available. The battle scene in the second half of the movie brings out some of those horrors. Lawrence was a visionary at the right place at the right time in history even though as time passed his vision was more skewed until he finally left Arabia. Jack Hawkins and Claude Rains played their parts perfectly as the General and diplomat who would use whomever they could to get what they wanted in the end. I have enjoyed watching this film for over 50 years and it still ranks a 10 out of 10 because of the depth of characters, scenery, script and music. I cannot say enough to advance this film as it does it on it's own.
Breathtakingly beautiful
Nearly perfect cinematography, along with great acting is a magnificent mix.

An incredible performance by Peter O'Toole leaves great space and opportunity for the storytelling of Lawrence of Arabia's journey across the desert. This movie is truly beautiful. Breathtaking views and heavily realistic fight scenes help with interesting character development.

Maurice Jarre's score fits each and every moment of the story-line and make us feel part of something great.

The running time of this film may be imposing (227 minutes), but every second counts, and is enjoyable: in the end, you don't feel like you wasted your time.
If you can find it on the big screen - that's the way to see it!
This film should be viewed in a big cinema on a big screen. That really is the only way to truly "feel" the desert scenes in this film beautifully photographed by Fred A. Young.

This film has influenced so many - Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, etc., etc., but most of all film restorer Robert A. Harris. Mr. Harris along with Jim Painten, brought the film back to life with the magnificent 1989 restoration and director's cut watched over by Sir David Lean and Anne V. Coates, the film's original editor. It is a MUST for all film buffs.

Although the film is over 40 years old, being a period piece it doesn't date. The film re-creates the stiff formality of the British Military of the First World War very nicely bringing to life the pompousness of General Murray, a type not likely to be encountered by today's generation. The odd quirkiness of Lawrence and his many hang-ups are depicted as only O'Toole could have created the character.

The DVD is pretty crisp and clear infrequently revealing the age of the celluloid. It is very exciting but no television can match the awesome landscape created in a large format cinema equipped with real 70 mm projectors. If you have the chance, see it there first (and often, if possible).
Finally a classic worth watching
I should probably throw on a pair of asbestos overalls if I plan to insult the classics. It just needs to be said that the old movies are dull.

I tried liking the Manchurian Candidate, but it didn't get my heart racing. Citizen Kane almost put me to sleep. Even some of the newer "must-sees" like Marathon Man were less than appealing.

But finally, I can give an solid 8 out of 10 to a classic movie. While Lawrence's running time has put a dent in my free time, I can honestly say that the adventurous story was well worth watching. There were grand scenes and great fights. While melodramatic in some parts, most of the acting was good.

Lawrence of Arabia is the best classic I've watched so far. I recommend it to anyone who's a fan of the epic adventure movies.
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