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Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia is an Academy Award-winning film based loosely on the life of T. E. Lawrence, starring Peter O'Toole as the title character, directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel. more...

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(Lean and Spiegel had recently completed the acclaimed film The Bridge on the River Kwai). The score by Maurice Jarre and the on-location cinematography are especially acclaimed. Apart from the film's depiction of Lawrence's life while in World War I Arabia, major cinematic themes include Lawrence's emotional struggles with violence in war (especially between Arabic tribes and while battling the Turkish army), personal identity ("Who are you?" is a recurring line throughout the film), and devotion to either his native Britain and its army or his newfound comrades within the migrant Arabian tribes, to which he is romantically drawn.

Shooting began on May 15, 1961 and ended on October 20, 1962. The desert scenes were shot not only in Jordan and Morocco, but also in Almería and Doñana, Spain. The film premiered in London on December 10, 1962, and was released in the USA on December 16, 1962.

The film runs 216 minutes (in the most recent Director's Cut) and includes no women in speaking roles.

The style of filming was an inspiration for Richard Attenborough's 1982 film Gandhi. Both films open with the lead character's death and then move into a flashback into their lives.


  • T. E. Lawrence - Peter O'Toole
  • Sherif Ali - Omar Sharif
  • Prince Feisal - Alec Guinness
  • Auda ibu Tayi - Anthony Quinn
  • Mr. Dryden - Claude Rains

Awards and nominations

The film was nominated for ten, and awarded seven, Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in 1962. In 1998, the American Film Institute ranked it #5 on its "100 Greatest Movies" list. The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. In 1999 it came 3rd in a BFI poll of British films, while in 2004 the magazine Total Film named it the 8th greatest British film of all time.

  • Academy Awards (won)
    • Best Picture
    • Best Director - David Lean
    • Best Art Direction
    • Best Cinematography
    • Best Film Editing
    • Best Music - Maurice Jarre
    • Best Sound
  • Academy Award nominations
    • Best Actor - Peter O'Toole
    • Best Supporting Actor - Omar Sharif
    • Best Adapted Screenplay


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