Lawrence of Arabia Reviews | RateItAll

Lawrence of Arabia

1962 British epic historical drama film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence and his 1926 book Seven Pillars of Wisdom Website

Approval Rate: 87%

87%Approval ratio

Reviews 27

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    Wed Sep 08 2010

    Really deserves to be seen on a big screen, but even so the acting, story and history are one of the great movie experiences of all time.

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    Sat Feb 06 2010

    Saw it for the first time on its release when I was about eight years old and I was captivated by it. The scenery, the musical score, the superb acting and a larger than life true character made for epic viewing. Some of the action scenes are a little dated now but hey, it's nearly 50 years old. There's something about cinematic biographies about legendary figures, that when done well they can be awe inspiring to the average man. This is certainly the case with Lawrence. Without doubt one of the top 5 movies ever made.

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    Mon Nov 17 2008

    Clocks in at nearly 4 hours, but I wasn't bored for a minute (most 2 hour films bore me). Fictionalized epic about T.E. Lawrence, the British soldier made famous for his efforts on behalf of Arab nationalism. The best thing about the movie, for me, was the exquisite photography, the magnificent scenery, and the all-star cast, which includes Peter O'Toole as Lawrence (historically, it is somewhat ambiguous as to whether Lawrence was actually homosexual or asexual, but O'Toole plays him with fey mannerisms, suggesting on which side of that question the film-makers placed themselves), Anthony Quinn (with what appears to be a prosthetic nose),  Alec Guinness,  Jack Hawkins, Omar Sharif,  Jose Ferrer (was Lawrence raped by the Turks? O'Toole's emotional breakdown suggests he was the victim of more than a whipping), Claude Raines, Arthur Kennedy, and others. An epic production of sweeping grandeur that Hollywood just doesn't know how to make anymore. Should be on everyone's "must see at leas... Read more

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    Thu Feb 14 2008

    Beautiful landscapes, great acting, great fabricated story hinting at the sadist pleasures and hidden homosexuality of T.E. Lawrence played by Peter O'Toole.  Sir David Lean's greatest achievement as director.

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    Thu Aug 23 2007

    A huge movie that must be seen in a theater with a wide screen. It was a monster hit when it was released and must have cost a fortune to make. Peter O'Toole's best work ever.

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    Thu Sep 14 2006

    It took me 2 days to finish this one off, but it was worth the ride. Peter O'Toole was fantastic as Al Lawrence and seems I saw Omar Sharif before (Dr. Zhivago) he was equally brilliant. A good one to add to the ole' DVD library.

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    Mon Aug 29 2005

    This is a true blockbuster. See if you agree with me that the climax of the film is the massacre scene with Arthur Kennedy saying, Jesus Wept! The film-maker does a good job developing the character of one of that weird set of Brits, the Arabist.

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    Fri Apr 29 2005

    Stunning film. Spectacular 70mm photography, wonderful cast. This is truly one of the great films. See the desert sun in 70mm and it becomes a character too. Great fim by a great director.

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    Thu Dec 30 2004

    Fantastic movie, Fantastic scenery, Fantastic music..... 5 all the way!!!!

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    Sun Sep 05 2004

    Who are you? The question shouted at him from across the Suez Canal is one that T.E. Lawrence spent his entire life trying to answer. It is not surprising, then, that David Lean's epic film fails to provide us with an answer to that question. Lawrence was many things -- bastard son, wandering scholar, ineffectual subaltern, idealist, romantic warrior, military genius, cold-blooded killer, sadist, masochist, sexual misfit -- and probably much more. Lean views him telescopically, against immense, empty vistas, and microscopically, methodically dissecting this tortured soul, but in the end, Lawrence remains an enigma. Peter O'Toole's astonishing performance -- he is in virtually every scene -- embodies Lawrence's complexity without condescending to meet conventional audience expectations. Lean surrounds Lawrence with older, more knowing men -- Jack Hawkins's manipulative Allenby, Claude Rains's cynical diplomat, Alec Guinness's subtle Prince Faisal, Arthur Kennedy's headline-hungry ... Read more

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    Wed Jun 23 2004

    It may not be factual, but visually there is no movie that can touch it. And that's what motion pictures are really all about.

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    Fri Apr 23 2004

    Cannot avoid watching it over and over whenever it comes on TV. Captivating scenes, music background, the stars of that day and the starting Omar Sharif. This, Out of Africa, Gone with the Wind, Dances with Wolves, In Harms Way, The Longest Day, and more stand out as keepers in my book. Does anyone know the shooting/edit goof (Royale) made in Pulp Fiction? When you watch again, watch for bullet holes to appear in the wall in the scene before guns were fired that missed Samuel L. Jackson and provided his miracle. Larry in L. A.

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    Tue Dec 16 2003

    Powerful and rich portrait of T.E. Lawrence, and one of the deepest character portraits in cinema. I love the way you see him coming unglued during some of the violent scenes. Superb music score.

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    Sat Nov 22 2003

    David Lean's masterpiece film which stars Peter O'Toole who is absolutely magnificent as T.E Lawrence a British lieutenant who helps the Arabs fight against the Ottoman Turks. It is a long film, but a fascinating and deep character study on Lawrence. The supporting cast is excellent with Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Claude Rains, Jack Hawkins and Jose Ferrer. The cinematography is also stunning and one could make postcards out of it. A brilliant deeply layered biography of T.E Lawrence.

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    Mon Jun 23 2003

    I'm not really sure why I like this movie. I've seen it many times, and still can't quite put my finger on it - like there's something underneath the surface of the script bubbling up from the sand of Arabia. Very homoerotic - it's an all-male movie, which I think is why they cast O'Toole, to give it a feminine edge. The Turkish bath scene and his rape are infamous, and were ahead of their time for their shock value and adult content. Lean turned a not-so-interesting story into a sweeping, epic, extravaganza. I lump this one with Bridge over River Kwai for dumb, arrogant Brits in foreign lands.

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    Thu Nov 14 2002

    Very good film, impressive acting and cinematography. It could have been shortened and tightened up in the middle. To watch it in one sitting is a bit of an ordeal.

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    Thu Jun 13 2002

    This was the first David Lean film I've ever seen and so far the best. Lean has a real talent of making a shocking moment, which he did in this several times and in The Bridge On The River Kwai. I was shocked at the greatness. At the moment my #3 movie (surpassed only by The Godfather and Pulp Fiction). Wow! See this movie.

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    Sat Dec 22 2001

    Director David Lean's greatest strength in film making is to make you feel the climate. I felt hot and thirsty watching this film. Just Like Dr Zhivago will make you feel cold

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    Fri Oct 26 2001

    This is by far the Greatest movie of all time and David Leans best film. A biography of the enigmatic T.E. Lawrence the desert loving Englishman who united arab tribes in the battle against the Ottoman turks during WW1. At the center of Leans sun-drenched, 70mm canvas is young Peter O'toole (Lawrence) in his Debut movie. All the actors gave great performances, especially Peter O'toole, Omar Sharif and Anthony Quinn gave his best performance in this movie. Freddie Youngs cinematography was spectacular, making it seem as if the desert was alive. The most striking scene in the film is when Sharif Ali (Omar Sharif) is introduced as a tiny dot on the desert horizon that steadily enlarges as he gets closer. This film has to be watched in widescreen. The directors cut version of the film is much much better than the edited version.

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    Tue Jul 03 2001

    I think this will be one of the all time great movie ever made. David Lean's yet another masterpiece after "the bridge across river kwai". Excellent portrayal of a great man "Lawrence" who defies all barriers in uniting the waring Arab's under one fold. He makes the foundation of a nation for them. Peter'O Toole does an extra-ordinary job as Lawrence(unbelievable that this his debut film - how did he miss the Academy award). Anthony Quinn, Alec Guiness and Jack Hawkins, Omar Shariff-full credit to their outstanding performance. No wonder it won 7 academy awards. See the restored version and the extra footage. I would recommend this movie as a Golden collection.

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    Sat Jun 30 2001

    My favourite movie of all time! And I have been watching movies for 58 years. I can also relate to the film and its location as I worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years. And travelled extensively in Arabia on and off the job.Including a visit to Acabah I personally drove along the track from Jordan to Medina on the Hejaz railway and seen the trains which Lawrence derailed.Which are still lying there to this day. I have lots of photos and video as proof.I also found in the sand lots of brass cartridge cases from his battle areas.I retired to Dorset when I left Saudi and by coincidence lived just a few miles from where Lawrence came off his motor bike and from where he is buried.Anyone who can organise Arabs the way Lawrence did.Has to be a very special person.I know, I worked in the training department of a large Arabian Oil Company!

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    Fri Dec 29 2000

    I put this movie in my personal list of the top three of all time....script, camera work, acting, direction, location and outstanding acting. The film has it all. I am amazed at how it has held up after forty or so years.

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    Tue Nov 14 2000

    Imagine some very unlikly person going to Arabia, and uniting many warring Arab tribes into one force (The United Arab Republic) against a common foe! The turks! Well, that's what this great movie is about. They crossed the Sainai Dessert to take back from the Turks Acaca on the sea. The great canons of Acaba were fixed toward the sea and can't be turned around since they never expected an attack from that deadly dessert. And when told that ya can't cross the Sainai dessert with children, Lawrence said, "Why not? Moses did!" (only Moses went the opposite way.)So they cross the Sainai and if David Lean ever meant that the location is as important as any of the characters, this is it. They caught on film this tall and spindly desert tornado right there for all to see. The original movie and video release was a bit of a choppy story with some loose ends not tied. There is a "restored" version where they had in hand the extra film footage but not all of the sound from the actors speaking... Read more

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    Fri Oct 20 2000

    Peter O'Toole is beautiful. This movie's cinematography is mind blowing. Also shows how a nation's greed (England) underscores any and all their actions.

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    Thu Oct 19 2000

    I loved this classic. Just an epic movie, it showed me a different kind of CULTURE and a different way of ACTING.

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    Tue Oct 17 2000

    One of my all time favorites. The lead actor did wonderfully and I loved the philosophical points made throughout the movie.

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    Wed Jan 26 2000

    A truly fascinating biography and cinematograhic success. Both Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif are perfect in their respective roles. Although the movie is a little long, it brings the full romance of the desert into your living room and nothing can compare to it on the big screen. This movie is also an excellent history lesson in early 20th century Middle East politics.