Lawrence of Arabia

1962 | War | 216 minutes | English

Info

Lawrence is a Lieutenant in the British Army during World War I. He’s irascible and often insolent to his superiors. Mr. Dryden, of the Arab Bureau, has an idea.  He’ll send Lawrence to Arabia to assess the strategy of Prince Faisal in his revolt against the Turks. Turkey (part of the Ottoman Empire) is a British enemy during the war. In the desert, Lawrence’s Bedouin guide is killed by Sherif Ali for drinking from Ali’s well without requesting permission. Lawrence is infuriated with Ali, but Lawrence quickly realizes that Ali is a person who can lead him to Faisal.  The Turks are protecting the vital port of Aqaba from attack from the sea. They are convinced the enemy cannot attack from the land as they would have to cross the vast Nefud Desert. Lawrence convinces Faisal that if he is provided with enough Arab fighters he will cross the desert, surprise the Turks, and capture Aqaba. His brilliant scheme and leadership result in a huge success. Lawrence heads to Cairo to inform Dryden and  General Allenby that Aqaba has been captured and to seek more arms and funds. Back in Arabia, Lawrence and his small Arab army create havoc against the Turks. They blow up trains, harass them at every turn, and brutally shoot them down. An American journalist, Jackson Bentley (supposedly Lowell Thomas), publicizes Lawrence’s exploits and turns Lawrence into a worldwide legend.  General Allenby now orders Lawrence to attack Damascus. Lawrence and his Arab army defeat the Turks in Damascus. The war in the Middle East is  nearly over. Lawrence is promoted  and ordered back to Britain. There he  agonizes over the brutal acts he committed, the deaths of his close Arab friends, and, most of all, his realization that the British will not give the Arabs independence after the war, as promised. And he sorely misses the desert. His outlet for all his pain is getting on a motorcycle and speeding on the narrow country roads. It’s the end of the life of a heroic, tragic military legend.

Cast

Peter O’Toole (T.E. Lawrence) / Omar Sharif (Sherif Ali) / Alec Guinness (Prince Faisal) / Claude Raines (Mr. Dryden) / Jack Hawkins (General Allenby) / Arthur Kennedy (Jackson Bentley)

Why Stream This Film?
Film director Steven Spielberg regarded Lawrence of Arabia as his all-time favorite film and the one that inspired him to become a filmmaker. I rest my case!
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 98%
  • Metacritic Score: 100
Accolades
  • Academy Awards: Winner, Best Picture; Best Director (David Lean); Best Original Score (Maurice Jarre); Best Cinematography (Frederick Young)
  • British Academy Film Awards: Best Film; Best Actor (Peter O’Toole); Best Director (David Lean); Best Screenplay (Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson)
  • Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture-Drama; Best Director (David Lean); Best Cinematographer (Frederick A. Young) 
  • Lawrence of Arabia was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant and selected for preservation in the U.S. Library of Congress National Film Registry. 
  • American Film Institute selected it 5th on their list of “100 Years…100 Movies of Greatest American Films.”

Now streaming on:

What a bold, mad act of genius it was, to make LAWRENCE of ARABIA, or even think that it could be made. T.E. Lawrence must be the strangest hero ever to stand at the center of an epic. This film is an experience on the short list of things that must be done during the lifetime of every lover of film.
Roger Ebert

RogerEbert.com

Here is an epic with intellect behind it. An unforgettable display of action staged with artistry. A momentous story told with moral force.
Neil Norman

London Evening Standard

They don’t make them like this any more. This is a movie with the excitement of a cavalry charge.
Peter Bradshaw

The Guardian

It is a sweepingly produced, directed and lensed job. Authentic desert locations, a stellar cast and an intriguing subject combine to put this into the blockbuster league.

VARIETY Staff

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