Lawrence of Arabia (film)
Overview
Lawrence of Arabia is a 1962 British film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence
T. E. Lawrence
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO , known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18...

. It was directed by David Lean
David Lean
Sir David Lean CBE was an English film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor best remembered for big-screen epics such as The Bridge on the River Kwai , Lawrence of Arabia ,...

 and produced by Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel was an Austrian-born American independent film producer.-Life and career:Spiegel was born in Jarosław, Galicia, Austria-Hungary as Samuel P. Spiegel to a German-Jewish father and Polish mother and educated at the University of Vienna. His brother was Shalom Spiegel, a professor of...

 through his British company, Horizon Pictures
Horizon Pictures
Horizon Pictures Ltd was a film production company founded in Britain by the Austrian-born film producer Sam Spiegel. The company's first production was the Academy Award-winning The African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, in 1951.It later produced the David Lean films The...

, with the screenplay by Robert Bolt
Robert Bolt
Robert Oxton Bolt, CBE was an English playwright and a two-time Oscar winning screenwriter.-Career:He was born in Sale, Cheshire. At Manchester Grammar School his affinity for Sir Thomas More first developed. He attended the University of Manchester, and, after war service, the University of...

 and Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson (writer)
Michael Wilson was an Academy Award winning American screenwriter who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses during the era of McCarthyism....

. The film stars Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole is an Irish actor of stage and screen. O'Toole achieved stardom in 1962 playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, and then went on to become a highly-honoured film and stage actor. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, and holds the record for most...

 in the title role. It is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential films in the history of cinema. The dramatic score by Maurice Jarre
Maurice Jarre
Maurice-Alexis Jarre was a French composer and conductor.Although he composed several concert works, he is best known for his film scores, and is particularly known for his collaborations with film director David Lean. Jarre composed the scores to all of Lean's films since Lawrence of Arabia...

 and the Super Panavision 70
Super Panavision 70
Super Panavision 70 was the marketing brand name used to identify movies photographed with Panavision 70 mm spherical optics between 1959 and 1983.-History:...

 cinematography by Freddie Young
Freddie Young
Freddie Young OBE, BSC , was one of Britain's most distinguished and influential cinematographers...

 are also highly acclaimed.

The film depicts Lawrence's experiences in Arabia during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, in particular his attacks on Aqaba
Aqaba
Aqaba is a coastal city in the far south of Jordan, the capital of Aqaba Governorate at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. Aqaba is strategically important to Jordan as it is the country's only seaport. Aqaba is best known today as a diving and beach resort, but industrial activity remains important...

 and Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 and his involvement in the Arab National Council.
Quotations

I think you are another of these desert-loving English: Doughty, Stanhope, Gordon of Khartoum. No Arab loves the desert. We love water and green trees, there is nothing in the desert. No man needs nothing.

Young men make wars, and the virtues of war are the virtues of young men – courage and hope for the future. Then old men make the peace, and the vices of peace are the vices of old men – mistrust and caution. It must be so.

Lawrence: Sherif Ali, so long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people, greedy, barbarous, and cruel, as you are.

Encyclopedia
Lawrence of Arabia is a 1962 British film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence
T. E. Lawrence
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO , known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18...

. It was directed by David Lean
David Lean
Sir David Lean CBE was an English film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor best remembered for big-screen epics such as The Bridge on the River Kwai , Lawrence of Arabia ,...

 and produced by Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel was an Austrian-born American independent film producer.-Life and career:Spiegel was born in Jarosław, Galicia, Austria-Hungary as Samuel P. Spiegel to a German-Jewish father and Polish mother and educated at the University of Vienna. His brother was Shalom Spiegel, a professor of...

 through his British company, Horizon Pictures
Horizon Pictures
Horizon Pictures Ltd was a film production company founded in Britain by the Austrian-born film producer Sam Spiegel. The company's first production was the Academy Award-winning The African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, in 1951.It later produced the David Lean films The...

, with the screenplay by Robert Bolt
Robert Bolt
Robert Oxton Bolt, CBE was an English playwright and a two-time Oscar winning screenwriter.-Career:He was born in Sale, Cheshire. At Manchester Grammar School his affinity for Sir Thomas More first developed. He attended the University of Manchester, and, after war service, the University of...

 and Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson (writer)
Michael Wilson was an Academy Award winning American screenwriter who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses during the era of McCarthyism....

. The film stars Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole is an Irish actor of stage and screen. O'Toole achieved stardom in 1962 playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, and then went on to become a highly-honoured film and stage actor. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, and holds the record for most...

 in the title role. It is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential films in the history of cinema. The dramatic score by Maurice Jarre
Maurice Jarre
Maurice-Alexis Jarre was a French composer and conductor.Although he composed several concert works, he is best known for his film scores, and is particularly known for his collaborations with film director David Lean. Jarre composed the scores to all of Lean's films since Lawrence of Arabia...

 and the Super Panavision 70
Super Panavision 70
Super Panavision 70 was the marketing brand name used to identify movies photographed with Panavision 70 mm spherical optics between 1959 and 1983.-History:...

 cinematography by Freddie Young
Freddie Young
Freddie Young OBE, BSC , was one of Britain's most distinguished and influential cinematographers...

 are also highly acclaimed.

The film depicts Lawrence's experiences in Arabia during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, in particular his attacks on Aqaba
Aqaba
Aqaba is a coastal city in the far south of Jordan, the capital of Aqaba Governorate at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. Aqaba is strategically important to Jordan as it is the country's only seaport. Aqaba is best known today as a diving and beach resort, but industrial activity remains important...

 and Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 and his involvement in the Arab National Council. Its themes include Lawrence's emotional struggles with the personal violence inherent in war, his personal identity, and his divided allegiance between his native Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 and its army and his newfound comrades within the Arabian desert tribes.

Act I

In 1935, T. E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole is an Irish actor of stage and screen. O'Toole achieved stardom in 1962 playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, and then went on to become a highly-honoured film and stage actor. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, and holds the record for most...

) is killed in a motorcycle accident. At his memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral, London, is a Church of England cathedral and seat of the Bishop of London. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. St Paul's sits at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, and is the mother...

, reporters try to gain insights into this remarkable, enigmatic man from those who knew him, with little success.

During the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Lawrence is a misfit British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 lieutenant stationed in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, notable only for his insolence and knowledge of the Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

. Over the objections of General Murray
Archibald Murray
General Sir Archibald James Murray, GCMG, KCB, CVO, DSO was a British Army officer during World War I, most famous for his commanding the Egyptian Expeditionary Force from 1916 to 1917.-Army career:...

 (Donald Wolfit
Donald Wolfit
Sir Donald Wolfit, KBE was a well-known English actor-manager.-Biography:Wolfit, who was "Woolfitt" at birth was born at New Balderton, near Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire and attended the Magnus Grammar School and made his stage début in 1920...

), he is sent by Mr. Dryden
Mr. Dryden
Mr. Dryden is a major character in the film Lawrence of Arabia . He is portrayed by veteran actor Claude Rains. He is a diplomat and political leader, the head of the Arab Bureau, who first enlists T. E. Lawrence for work as a liaison to the Arab Revolt, and manipulates Lawrence and the Arabs to...

 (Claude Rains
Claude Rains
Claude Rains was an English stage and film actor whose career spanned 66 years. He was known for many roles in Hollywood films, among them the title role in The Invisible Man , a corrupt senator in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington , Mr...

) of the Arab Bureau
Arab Bureau
The Arab Bureau was a section of the Cairo Intelligence Department during the First World War. According to a Committee of Imperial Defence paper from January 7, 1916 the Arab Bureau was established to "harmonise British political activity in the Near East...[and] keep the Foreign Office, the India...

 to assess the prospects of Prince Faisal
Faisal I of Iraq
Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi, was for a short time King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria or Greater Syria in 1920, and was King of the Kingdom of Iraq from 23 August 1921 to 1933...

 (Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
Sir Alec Guinness, CH, CBE was an English actor. He was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including Kind Hearts and Coronets in which he played eight different characters. He later won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai...

) in his revolt
Arab Revolt
The Arab Revolt was initiated by the Sherif Hussein bin Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Turks and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.- Background :...

 against the Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

.

On the journey, his Bedouin guide is killed by Sherif Ali (Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif is an Egyptian actor who has starred in Hollywood films including Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and Funny Girl. He has been nominated for an Academy Award and has won two Golden Globe Awards.-Early life:...

) for drinking from a well without permission. Lawrence later meets Colonel Brighton (Anthony Quayle
Anthony Quayle
Sir John Anthony Quayle, CBE was an English actor and director.-Early life:Quayle was born in Ainsdale, Southport, in Lancashire to a Manx family....

), who orders him to keep quiet, make his assessment of Faisal's camp, and leave. Lawrence promptly ignores Brighton's commands when he meets Faisal. His knowledge and outspokenness pique the prince's interest.

Brighton advises Faisal to retreat after a major defeat, but Lawrence proposes a daring surprise attack on Aqaba
Aqaba
Aqaba is a coastal city in the far south of Jordan, the capital of Aqaba Governorate at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. Aqaba is strategically important to Jordan as it is the country's only seaport. Aqaba is best known today as a diving and beach resort, but industrial activity remains important...

 which, if successful, would provide a port from which the British could offload much-needed supplies. While strongly fortified against a naval assault, the town is lightly defended on the landward side. He convinces Faisal to provide fifty men, led by a sceptical Sherif Ali. Two teenage orphans, Daud (John Dimech) and Farraj (Michel Ray), attach themselves to Lawrence as his servants.

They cross the Nefud Desert, considered impassable even by the Bedouins, travelling day and night on the last stage to reach water. Gasim (I. S. Johar
I. S. Johar
Inderjeet s Johar , better known as I. S. Johar, was an Indian actor, writer, producer and director.-Early life:...

) succumbs to fatigue and falls off his camel unnoticed during the night. The rest make it to an oasis, but Lawrence turns back for the lost man alone, risking his own life and winning over Sherif Ali after saving Gasim.

Lawrence persuades Auda abu Tayi (Anthony Quinn
Anthony Quinn
Antonio Rodolfo Quinn-Oaxaca , more commonly known as Anthony Quinn, was a Mexican American actor, as well as a painter and writer...

), the leader of the powerful local Howeitat tribe, to turn against the Turks. Lawrence's plan is almost derailed when one of Ali's men kills one of Auda's because of a blood feud
Blood Feud
"Blood Feud" is the twenty-second and final episode of The Simpsons second season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on July 11, 1991. In the episode, Mr. Burns falls ill and desperately needs a blood transfusion. Homer discovers Bart has Burns' rare blood type and urges...

. Since Howeitat retaliation would shatter the fragile alliance, Lawrence declares that he will execute the murderer himself. Stunned to discover that the culprit is Gasim, he shoots him anyway. The next morning, the intact alliance overruns the Turkish garrison
Garrison
Garrison is the collective term for a body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but now often simply using it as a home base....

.

Lawrence heads to Cairo to inform Dryden and the new commander, General Allenby
Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby
Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby GCB, GCMG, GCVO was a British soldier and administrator most famous for his role during the First World War, in which he led the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in the conquest of Palestine and Syria in 1917 and 1918.Allenby, nicknamed...

 (Jack Hawkins
Jack Hawkins
Colonel John Edward "Jack" Hawkins CBE was an English actor of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.-Career:Hawkins was born at Lyndhurst Road, Wood Green, Middlesex, the son of master builder Thomas George Hawkins and his wife, Phoebe née Goodman. The youngest of four children in a close-knit family,...

), of his victory. During the crossing of the Sinai Desert, Daud dies when he stumbles into quicksand
Dry quicksand
Dry quicksand is loose sand whose bulk density is reduced by blowing air through it and which yields easily to weight or pressure. It acts similarly to normal quicksand, but it does not contain any water and does not operate on the same principle...

. Lawrence is promoted to major and given arms and money to support the Arabs. He is deeply disturbed, confessing that he enjoyed executing Gasim, but Allenby brushes aside his qualms. He asks Allenby whether there is any basis for the Arabs' suspicions that the British have designs on Arabia
Sykes-Picot Agreement
The Sykes–Picot Agreement of 1916 was a secret agreement between the governments of the United Kingdom and France, with the assent of Imperial Russia, defining their respective spheres of influence and control in Western Asia after the expected downfall of the Ottoman Empire during World War I...

. Pressed, the general states they have no such designs.

Act II

Lawrence launches a guerrilla war, blowing up trains and harassing the Turks at every turn. American war correspondent
War correspondent
A war correspondent is a journalist who covers stories firsthand from a war zone. In the 19th century they were also called Special Correspondents.-Methods:...

 Jackson Bentley (Arthur Kennedy
Arthur Kennedy (actor)
Arthur Kennedy was an American stage and film actor known for his versatility in supporting film roles and his ability to create "an exceptional honesty and naturalness on stage" especially in the original casts of Arthur Miller plays on Broadway.- Early life and education :Kennedy was born John...

) publicises his exploits, making him world famous. On one raid, Farraj is badly injured. Unwilling to leave him to be tortured, Lawrence is forced to shoot him before fleeing.

When Lawrence scouts the enemy-held city of Daraa with Ali, he is taken, along with several Arab residents, to the Turkish Bey
Bey
Bey is a title for chieftain, traditionally applied to the leaders of small tribal groups. Accoding to some sources, the word "Bey" is of Turkish language In historical accounts, many Turkish, other Turkic and Persian leaders are titled Bey, Beg, Bek, Bay, Baig or Beigh. They are all the same word...

 (José Ferrer
José Ferrer
José Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintrón , best known as José Ferrer, was a Puerto Rican actor, as well as a theater and film director...

). Lawrence is stripped, ogled, and prodded. For striking out at the Bey, he is severely flogged, sexually abused (offscreen) and then thrown out into the street.

In Jerusalem, Allenby urges him to support his "big push" on Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, but Lawrence is a changed, tormented man, unwilling to return. Finally, he relents.

He recruits an army, mainly killers and cutthroats motivated by money, rather than the Arab cause. They sight a column of retreating Turkish soldiers who have just slaughtered the people of Tafas. One of Lawrence's men from the village demands, "No prisoners!" When Lawrence hesitates, the man charges the Turks alone and is killed. Lawrence takes up the dead man's cry, resulting in a massacre in which Lawrence himself participates with relish.

His men then take Damascus ahead of Allenby's forces. The Arabs set up a council to administer the city, but they are desert tribesmen, ill-suited for such a task. Unable to maintain the utilities and bickering constantly with each other, they soon abandon most of the city to the British. Promoted to colonel and immediately ordered home, his usefulness at an end to both Faisal and the British diplomats, a dejected Lawrence is driven away in a staff car.

Cast

  • Peter O'Toole
    Peter O'Toole
    Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole is an Irish actor of stage and screen. O'Toole achieved stardom in 1962 playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, and then went on to become a highly-honoured film and stage actor. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, and holds the record for most...

     as Thomas Edward "T. E." Lawrence
    T. E. Lawrence
    Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO , known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18...

    . Albert Finney
    Albert Finney
    Albert Finney is an English actor. He achieved prominence in films in the early 1960s, and has maintained a successful career in theatre, film and television....

    , at the time a virtual unknown, was Lean's first choice to play Lawrence, but Finney was not sure the film would be a success and turned it down. Marlon Brando
    Marlon Brando
    Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American movie star and political activist. "Unchallenged as the most important actor in modern American Cinema" according to the St...

     was also offered the part, and Anthony Perkins
    Anthony Perkins
    Anthony Perkins was an American actor, best known for his Oscar-nominated role in Friendly Persuasion and as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho , and its three sequels.-Early life:...

     and Montgomery Clift
    Montgomery Clift
    Edward Montgomery Clift was an American film and stage actor. The New York Times’ obituary noted his portrayal of "moody, sensitive young men"....

     were briefly considered, before O'Toole was cast. Alec Guinness
    Alec Guinness
    Sir Alec Guinness, CH, CBE was an English actor. He was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including Kind Hearts and Coronets in which he played eight different characters. He later won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai...

     had previously played Lawrence in the play Ross
    Ross (Play)
    Ross is a 1960 play by British playwright Terence Rattigan.It is a biographical play of T. E. Lawrence- Plot synopsis :The play is structured with a framing device set in 1922, when Lawrence was hiding under an assumed name as "Aircraftman Ross" in the Royal Air Force, and is being disciplined by...

    , and was briefly considered for the part, but David Lean and Sam Spiegel thought him too old. Lean had seen O'Toole in The Day They Robbed the Bank of England
    The Day They Robbed the Bank of England
    The Day They Robbed the Bank of England is a 1960 British crime film directed by John Guillermin. It was written by Howard Clewes and Richard Maibaum and based upon a novel by John Brophy....

    and was bowled over by his screen test, proclaiming "This is Lawrence!" Spiegel disliked O'Toole, having worked with him on Suddenly, Last Summer
    Suddenly, Last Summer (film)
    Suddenly, Last Summer is a 1959 American Southern Gothic mystery film based on the play of the same title by Tennessee Williams. The film was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by Sam Spiegel from a screenplay by Gore Vidal and Williams. The music score was by Buxton Orr using themes by...

    (where O'Toole was an understudy for Montgomery Clift and considered to take over his part after Clift's alcoholism caused problems), but acceded to Lean's demands after Finney and Brando dropped out. Pictures of Lawrence
    T. E. Lawrence
    Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO , known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18...

     suggest also that O'Toole carried some resemblance to him, in spite of their considerable height difference. O'Toole's looks prompted a different reaction from Noël Coward
    Noël Coward
    Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".Born in Teddington, a suburb of London, Coward attended a dance academy...

    , who after seeing the première of the film quipped "If you had been any prettier, the film would have been called Florence of Arabia".
  • Alec Guinness
    Alec Guinness
    Sir Alec Guinness, CH, CBE was an English actor. He was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including Kind Hearts and Coronets in which he played eight different characters. He later won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai...

     as Prince Faisal
    Faisal I of Iraq
    Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi, was for a short time King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria or Greater Syria in 1920, and was King of the Kingdom of Iraq from 23 August 1921 to 1933...

    . Faisal was originally to be portrayed by Laurence Olivier
    Laurence Olivier
    Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM was an English actor, director, and producer. He was one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century. He married three times, to fellow actors Jill Esmond, Vivien Leigh, and Joan Plowright...

    ; Guinness, who performed in other David Lean films, got the part when Olivier dropped out. Guinness was made up to look as much like the real Faisal as possible; he recorded in his diaries that, while shooting in Jordan, he met several people who had known Faisal who actually mistook him for the late prince. Guinness said in interviews that he developed his Arab accent from a conversation he had with Omar Sharif.
  • Anthony Quinn
    Anthony Quinn
    Antonio Rodolfo Quinn-Oaxaca , more commonly known as Anthony Quinn, was a Mexican American actor, as well as a painter and writer...

     as Auda abu Tayi
    Auda ibu Tayi
    Auda ban Harb al-Abo Seed al-Mazro al-Tamame abu Tayi, also Auda ibu Tayi, Awda abu Tayi, etc. was the leader of a section of the Howeitat or Huwaytat tribe of Bedouin Arabs at the time of the Great Arab Revolt during the First World War...

    . Quinn got very much into his role; he spent hours applying his own makeup, using a photograph of the real Auda to make himself look as much like him as he could. One anecdote has Quinn arriving on-set for the first time in full costume, whereupon Lean, mistaking him for a native, asked his assistant to ring Quinn and notify him that they were replacing him with the new arrival.
  • Jack Hawkins
    Jack Hawkins
    Colonel John Edward "Jack" Hawkins CBE was an English actor of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.-Career:Hawkins was born at Lyndhurst Road, Wood Green, Middlesex, the son of master builder Thomas George Hawkins and his wife, Phoebe née Goodman. The youngest of four children in a close-knit family,...

     as General Allenby
    Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby
    Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby GCB, GCMG, GCVO was a British soldier and administrator most famous for his role during the First World War, in which he led the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in the conquest of Palestine and Syria in 1917 and 1918.Allenby, nicknamed...

    . Sam Spiegel pushed Lean to cast Cary Grant
    Cary Grant
    Archibald Alexander Leach , better known by his stage name Cary Grant, was an English actor who later took U.S. citizenship...

     or Laurence Olivier
    Laurence Olivier
    Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM was an English actor, director, and producer. He was one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century. He married three times, to fellow actors Jill Esmond, Vivien Leigh, and Joan Plowright...

     (who was engaged at the Chichester Festival Theatre
    Chichester Festival Theatre
    Chichester Festival Theatre, located in Chichester, England, was designed by Philip Powell and Hidalgo Moya, and opened by its founder Leslie Evershed-Martin in 1962. Subsequently the smaller and more intimate Minerva Theatre was built nearby in 1989....

    , and declined). Lean, however, convinced him to choose Hawkins due to his work for them on The Bridge on the River Kwai. Hawkins shaved his head for the role and reportedly clashed with David Lean several times during filming. Alec Guinness recounted that Hawkins was reprimanded by Lean for celebrating the end of a day's filming with an impromptu dance. Hawkins became close friends with O'Toole during filming, and the two often improvised dialogue during takes, much to Lean's dismay.

  • Omar Sharif
    Omar Sharif
    Omar Sharif is an Egyptian actor who has starred in Hollywood films including Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and Funny Girl. He has been nominated for an Academy Award and has won two Golden Globe Awards.-Early life:...

     as Sherif Ali ibn el Kharish. The role was offered to many actors before Omar Sharif was cast. Horst Buchholz
    Horst Buchholz
    Horst Werner Buchholz was a German actor, remembered for his part in The Magnificent Seven and Nine Hours to Rama. He appeared in over sixty films during his acting career from 1952–2002.-Life and work:...

     was the first choice, but had already signed on for the film One, Two, Three
    One, Two, Three
    One, Two, Three is a 1961 American comedy film directed by Billy Wilder and written by him and I.A.L. Diamond. It is based on the 1929 Hungarian one-act play Egy, kettö, három by Ferenc Molnár, with a "plot borrowed partly from" Ninotchka, a 1939 film co-written by Wilder...

    . Alain Delon
    Alain Delon
    Alain Fabien Maurice Marcel Delon is a French actor. He rose quickly to stardom, and by the age of 23 was already being compared to French actors such as Gérard Philipe and Jean Marais, as well as American actor James Dean. He was even called the male Brigitte Bardot...

     had a successful screen test, but ultimately declined due to the brown contact lenses he would have had to wear. Maurice Ronet
    Maurice Ronet
    Maurice Ronet was a French film actor, director and writer.-Biography:Maurice Ronet was born Maurice Julien Marie Robinet in Nice, Alpes Maritimes, the only child of professional stage actors Émile Robinet and Gilberte Dubreuil. He made his stage debut in 1941, along side his parents, in Sacha...

     and Dilip Kumar
    Dilip Kumar
    Dilip Kumar , is an Indian actor and a former Member of Parliament.He lives in Pali Hill, Bandra in Mumbai, India. He is commonly known as "Tragedy King",and is described as "the ultimate method actor" by Satyajit Ray....

     were also considered. Sharif, who was already a major star in the Middle East
    Middle East
    The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

    , was originally cast as Lawrence's guide Tafas, but when the above actors proved unsuitable, Sharif was shifted to the part of Ali.
  • José Ferrer
    José Ferrer
    José Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintrón , best known as José Ferrer, was a Puerto Rican actor, as well as a theater and film director...

     as the Turkish Bey. Ferrer was initially unsatisfied with the small size of his part, and accepted the role only on the condition of being paid $25,000 (more than O'Toole and Sharif combined) plus a factory-made Porsche
    Porsche
    Porsche Automobil Holding SE, usually shortened to Porsche SE a Societas Europaea or European Public Company, is a German based holding company with investments in the automotive industry....

    . However, he afterwards considered this his best film performance, saying in an interview: "If I was to be judged by any one film performance, it would be my five minutes in Lawrence." Peter O'Toole once said that he learned more about screen acting from Ferrer than he could in any acting class.
  • Anthony Quayle
    Anthony Quayle
    Sir John Anthony Quayle, CBE was an English actor and director.-Early life:Quayle was born in Ainsdale, Southport, in Lancashire to a Manx family....

     as Colonel Harry Brighton
    Harry Brighton
    Colonel Harry Brighton is a fictional character in the film Lawrence of Arabia . He is played by Anthony Quayle.- Film :Brighton first appears at T. E. Lawrence's funeral. He has the film's first line of dialogue: "He was the most extraordinary man I ever knew."Brighton is mentioned in early scenes...

    . Quayle, a veteran of military roles, was cast after Jack Hawkins, the original choice, was shifted to the part of Allenby. Quayle and Lean argued over how to portray the character, with Lean feeling Brighton to be an honourable character, while Quayle thought him an idiot.
  • Claude Rains
    Claude Rains
    Claude Rains was an English stage and film actor whose career spanned 66 years. He was known for many roles in Hollywood films, among them the title role in The Invisible Man , a corrupt senator in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington , Mr...

     as Mr. Dryden
    Mr. Dryden
    Mr. Dryden is a major character in the film Lawrence of Arabia . He is portrayed by veteran actor Claude Rains. He is a diplomat and political leader, the head of the Arab Bureau, who first enlists T. E. Lawrence for work as a liaison to the Arab Revolt, and manipulates Lawrence and the Arabs to...

    . Rains had previously worked with Lean on The Passionate Friends
    The Passionate Friends
    The Passionate Friends is a 1949 British romantic drama film directed by David Lean. The film is based on The Passionate Friends: A Novel, a 1913 story by H. G. Wells It describes a love triangle in which a woman cannot give up her affair with another man...

    . Lean considered Rains one of his favourite actors and was happy to work with him again.
  • Arthur Kennedy
    Arthur Kennedy (actor)
    Arthur Kennedy was an American stage and film actor known for his versatility in supporting film roles and his ability to create "an exceptional honesty and naturalness on stage" especially in the original casts of Arthur Miller plays on Broadway.- Early life and education :Kennedy was born John...

     as Jackson Bentley
    Jackson Bentley
    Jackson Bentley was a fictional American journalist who appeared in the film Lawrence of Arabia ; he is portrayed by Arthur Kennedy. He is based on famed American journalist Lowell Thomas.- Overview :...

    . In the early days of the production, when the Bentley character had a more prominent role in the film, Kirk Douglas
    Kirk Douglas
    Kirk Douglas is an American stage and film actor, film producer and author. His popular films include Out of the Past , Champion , Ace in the Hole , The Bad and the Beautiful , Lust for Life , Paths of Glory , Gunfight at the O.K...

     was considered for the part; Douglas expressed interest but demanded a star salary and the highest billing after O'Toole, thus being turned down by Spiegel. Later, Edmond O'Brien
    Edmond O'Brien
    Edmond O'Brien was an American actor who is perhaps best remembered for his role in D.O.A. and his Oscar winning role in The Barefoot Contessa...

     was cast in the part. O'Brien filmed the Jerusalem scene, and (according to Omar Sharif) Bentley's political discussion with Ali, but he became ill due to a heart attack on location and had to be replaced at the last moment by Kennedy, who was recommended to Lean by Anthony Quinn.
  • Donald Wolfit
    Donald Wolfit
    Sir Donald Wolfit, KBE was a well-known English actor-manager.-Biography:Wolfit, who was "Woolfitt" at birth was born at New Balderton, near Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire and attended the Magnus Grammar School and made his stage début in 1920...

     as General Murray
    Archibald Murray
    General Sir Archibald James Murray, GCMG, KCB, CVO, DSO was a British Army officer during World War I, most famous for his commanding the Egyptian Expeditionary Force from 1916 to 1917.-Army career:...

    . Wolfit was one of O'Toole's mentor
    Mentor
    In Greek mythology, Mentor was the son of Alcimus or Anchialus. In his old age Mentor was a friend of Odysseus who placed Mentor and Odysseus' foster-brother Eumaeus in charge of his son Telemachus, and of Odysseus' palace, when Odysseus left for the Trojan War.When Athena visited Telemachus she...

    s.
  • Michel Ray as Farraj. At the time, Ray was an up-and-coming Anglo-Brazilian actor, who had previously appeared in several films, including Irving Rapper
    Irving Rapper
    Irving Rapper was a British film director. His most successful body of work is 10 films he made while under contract with Warner Brothers....

    's The Brave One
    The Brave One (1956 film)
    The Brave One is a 1956 American drama film directed by Irving Rapper and starring Michel Ray, Rodolfo Hoyos Jr., and Elsa Cárdenas. It tells the story of a young Mexican boy who tries to save his beloved bull Gitano from the bullfighting arena....

    and Anthony Mann
    Anthony Mann
    Anthony Mann was an American actor and film director, most notably of film noirs and Westerns. As a director, he often collaborated with the cinematographer John Alton and with James Stewart in his Westerns.-Biography:...

    's The Tin Star
    The Tin Star
    The Tin Star was first a short story then a movie American western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring Henry Fonda and Anthony Perkins, in one of Perkins' first roles. The film became one of the few low budget westerns to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Writing, Story or Screenplay...

    . This however would be one of his last roles. Ray, under the name Michel de Carvalho, later became a prominent British businessman and, through his wife, Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken
    Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken
    Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken is the owner of a controlling interest in the world's third-largest brewer, Heineken International....

    , is the majority shareholder in the Heineken
    Heineken
    Heineken is a Dutch beer which has been brewed by Heineken International since 1873. It is available in a 4.6% alcohol variety in countries such as Ireland. It is the flagship product of the Heineken company and is made of purified water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. In 1886 H...

     brewing company, worth over £8,000,000,000 sterling as of 2002.
  • I.S. Johar as Gasim. Johar was a well-known Bollywood
    Bollywood
    Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

     actor who occasionally appeared in international productions.
  • Zia Mohyeddin
    Zia Mohyeddin
    Zia Mohyeddin is a Pakistani actor famed for his voice.He was born in Faisalabad, , British India in a Urdu Speaking Family. He passed his early life in Karachi. He was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London from 1953-1956...

     as Tafas. Mohyeddin was one of Pakistan's best-known actors, and launched a successful stage career in London after this film's success. Most famously, he played Dr Aziz in the stage and TV adaptation of A Passage to India
    A Passage to India
    A Passage to India is a novel by E. M. Forster set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. It was selected as one of the 100 great works of English literature by the Modern Library and won the 1924 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Time...

    in the late 1960s.
  • Gamil Ratib
    Gamil Ratib
    -Filmography:* 1956 : " Trapeze"* 1962 : Lawrence of Arabia by David Lean : Majid* 1973 : L’Alphomega, TV series by Lazare Iglesis : Prince Raheem Abdel Rasheem* 1979: "Chafika et Metwal" by Aly Badrakhan : "Afandina"...

     as Majid. Ratib was a veteran Egyptian actor. His English was not considered good enough, so he was dubbed by Robert Rietti
    Robert Rietti
    Robert Rietti , usually credited as Robert Rietty, is a Italian actor and director.- Biography :Born of Italian heritage, Lucio Rietti was “discovered” at the age of 8 by his father Vittorio who noticed the boy had completely memorized a copy of a script he had given Lucio having wanted help from...

     in the final film.
  • John Dimech as Daud. Dimech was a waiter from Malta. His only prior film appearance was in 1959's Killers of Kilimanjaro.
  • Hugh Miller as the RAMC colonel. Miller worked on several of Lean's films as a dialogue coach, and was one of several members of the film crew to be given bit parts (see below).
  • Fernando Sancho
    Fernando Sancho
    Fernando Sancho was a Spanish actor. Sancho was born in Zaragoza, Aragón, Spain, and died in Madrid after surgery....

     as the Turkish sergeant. A well-known Spanish actor, best remembered for his roles in many spaghetti Westerns.
  • Stuart Saunders as the regimental sergeant major
  • Jack Gwillim
    Jack Gwillim
    Jack William Frederick Gwillim was a prolific English character actor.-Career:Born in Canterbury, Kent, England, he served in the Royal Navy for over twenty years, attaining the rank of Commander...

     as the club secretary. A well-known English actor often playing supporting roles in British war films, Gwillim was recommended to Lean for the film by close friend Anthony Quayle.
  • Kenneth Fortescue as Allenby's aide
  • Harry Fowler
    Harry Fowler
    Harry James Fowler, MBE is an English actor in film and TV. He started in juvenile roles, most notably in the first recognised Ealing Comedy Hue and Cry, made in 1947...

     as Corporal Potter
  • Howard Marion-Crawford
    Howard Marion-Crawford
    Howard Marion-Crawford , the grandson of writer F. Marion Crawford, was an English character actor, best known for his portrayal of Dr. Watson in the 1954 television adaptation of Sherlock Holmes...

     as the medical officer. Marion-Crawford was cast at the last possible minute, during the filming of the "Damascus" scenes in Seville.
  • John Ruddock as Elder Harith. Ruddock was a noted Shakespearean actor.
  • Norman Rossington
    Norman Rossington
    Norman Rossington was an English actor best remembered for his roles in The Army Game, the Carry On films and the Beatles film A Hard Day's Night.-Early life:...

     as Corporal Jenkins
  • Jack Hedley
    Jack Hedley
    Jack Hedley is an English actor, best known for his performances on television....

     as a reporter
  • Henry Oscar
    Henry Oscar
    Henry Oscar was an English stage and film actor.Born as Henry Wale, he changed his name and began acting in 1911 and appeared in a wide range of films, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much , Fire Over England , The Four Feathers , Hatter's Castle ,...

     as Silliam, Faisal's servant. Oscar frequently played ethnic parts, including the Sudanese doctor in The Four Feathers
    The Four Feathers (1939 film)
    The Four Feathers is a 1939 adventure film directed by Zoltan Korda, starring John Clements, Ralph Richardson, June Duprez, C. Aubrey Smith. Set in the 1890s during the reign of Queen Victoria, it tells the story of a man accused of cowardice. It is one of a number of adaptations of the 1902 novel...

    (1939).
  • Peter Burton
    Peter Burton
    Peter Burton was an English film and television actor born in Bromley, England. His biggest claim to fame is being the first actor to portray Major Boothroyd, better known as Q, in the first James Bond film, Dr. No...

     as a Damascus Sheik


Various members of the film's crew portrayed minor characters. First assistant director Roy Stevens
Roy Stevens
Roy Stevens was an American trumpet player, Stevens-Costello System brass embouchure teacher, and author of the Embouchure Self-Analysis: Stevens-Costello Triple C Embouchure Technique with Bill Moriarity.-Biography:...

 played the truck driver who transports Lawrence and Farraj to the Cairo HQ at the end of Act I; the Sergeant who stops Lawrence and Farraj ("Where do you think you're going to, Mustapha?") is construction assistant, Fred Bennett; and screenwriter Robert Bolt
Robert Bolt
Robert Oxton Bolt, CBE was an English playwright and a two-time Oscar winning screenwriter.-Career:He was born in Sale, Cheshire. At Manchester Grammar School his affinity for Sir Thomas More first developed. He attended the University of Manchester, and, after war service, the University of...

 has a wordless cameo as one of the officers watching Allenby and Lawrence confer in the courtyard (he is smoking a pipe). David Lean can be heard as the voice of the motorcycle driver asking Lawrence "Who are you?" at the Suez Canal.

The film is unusual in that it has no women in credited speaking roles.

Real characters

  • T. E. Lawrence
    T. E. Lawrence
    Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO , known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18...

  • Prince Faisal
    Faisal I of Iraq
    Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi, was for a short time King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria or Greater Syria in 1920, and was King of the Kingdom of Iraq from 23 August 1921 to 1933...

  • Auda ibu Tayi
    Auda ibu Tayi
    Auda ban Harb al-Abo Seed al-Mazro al-Tamame abu Tayi, also Auda ibu Tayi, Awda abu Tayi, etc. was the leader of a section of the Howeitat or Huwaytat tribe of Bedouin Arabs at the time of the Great Arab Revolt during the First World War...

  • General Allenby
    Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby
    Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby GCB, GCMG, GCVO was a British soldier and administrator most famous for his role during the First World War, in which he led the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in the conquest of Palestine and Syria in 1917 and 1918.Allenby, nicknamed...

  • General Murray
    Archibald Murray
    General Sir Archibald James Murray, GCMG, KCB, CVO, DSO was a British Army officer during World War I, most famous for his commanding the Egyptian Expeditionary Force from 1916 to 1917.-Army career:...

  • Farraj and Daud, Lawrence's servants
  • Gasim, the man Lawrence rescues from the desert
  • Talal, the man who charges the Turkish column at Tafas

Fictional and fictionalised characters

  • Sherif Ali – A combination of numerous Arab leaders, particularly Sharif Nassir—Faisal
    Faisal I of Iraq
    Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi, was for a short time King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria or Greater Syria in 1920, and was King of the Kingdom of Iraq from 23 August 1921 to 1933...

    's cousin—who led the Harith
    Harith
    Harith is a Sanskrit word, meaning Green color and refers to one of the Surya's seven horses.Harith or Haris is a common Arabic name , Harith meaning the Lion which digs the earth and Haris meaning guardian or guard, and may refer to:* Harith al-Dhari , Sunni Arab cleric, and chairman of the...

     forces involved in the attack on Aqaba
    Aqaba
    Aqaba is a coastal city in the far south of Jordan, the capital of Aqaba Governorate at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. Aqaba is strategically important to Jordan as it is the country's only seaport. Aqaba is best known today as a diving and beach resort, but industrial activity remains important...

    . The character was created largely because Lawrence did not serve with any one Arab leader (aside from Auda
    Auda ibu Tayi
    Auda ban Harb al-Abo Seed al-Mazro al-Tamame abu Tayi, also Auda ibu Tayi, Awda abu Tayi, etc. was the leader of a section of the Howeitat or Huwaytat tribe of Bedouin Arabs at the time of the Great Arab Revolt during the First World War...

    ) throughout the majority of the war; most such leaders were amalgamated in Ali's character. This character was, however, almost certainly named after Sharif Ali ibn Hussein, a leader in the Harith tribe, who played a part in the Revolt and is mentioned and pictured in T.E. Lawrence's memoir "Seven Pillars of Wisdom
    Seven Pillars of Wisdom
    Seven Pillars of Wisdom is the autobiographical account of the experiences of British soldier T. E. Lawrence , while serving as a liaison officer with rebel forces during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks of 1916 to 1918....

    ."
  • Mr Dryden – The cynical Arab Bureau
    Arab Bureau
    The Arab Bureau was a section of the Cairo Intelligence Department during the First World War. According to a Committee of Imperial Defence paper from January 7, 1916 the Arab Bureau was established to "harmonise British political activity in the Near East...[and] keep the Foreign Office, the India...

     official, was based loosely on numerous figures, including Sir Ronald Storrs, who was head of the Arab Bureau and later the governor of Palestine. It was largely Storrs' doing that Lawrence first met Faisal and became involved with the Revolt. This character is also partially based upon Lawrence's archaeologist friend, D.G. Hogarth, as well as Mark Sykes and Henry McMahon
    Henry McMahon (diplomat)
    Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Arthur Henry McMahon, GCMG, GCVO, KCIE, CSI was a British diplomat and Indian Army officer who served as the High Commissioner in Egypt from 1915 to 1917. He was also an administrator in British India, and served twice as Chief Commissioner of Balochistan...

    , who historically fulfilled Dryden's role as a political liaison. He was created by the screenwriters to "represent the civilian and political wing of British interests, to balance Allenby's military objectives."
  • Colonel Brighton – In essence a composite of all of the British officers who served in the Middle East with Lawrence, most notably Lt. Col. Stewart F. Newcombe. Newcombe played much the same role as Brighton does in the film, being Lawrence's predecessor as liaison to the Arab Revolt; he and many of his men were captured by the Turks in 1916, though he later escaped. Also, like Brighton, Newcombe was not well liked by the Arabs, though he remained friends with Lawrence. (In Michael Wilson's original script, he was Colonel Newcombe; the character's name was later changed by Robert Bolt.) Brighton was apparently created to represent how ordinary British soldiers would feel about a man like Lawrence: impressed by his accomplishments but repulsed by his affected manner. (Lean argued that Brighton was "the only honourable character" in the film, whereas Anthony Quayle
    Anthony Quayle
    Sir John Anthony Quayle, CBE was an English actor and director.-Early life:Quayle was born in Ainsdale, Southport, in Lancashire to a Manx family....

     referred to his character as an "idiot".)
  • Turkish Bey – The Turkish Bey who captures Lawrence in Daraa was—according to Lawrence himself—General Hajim Bey (in Turkish, Hacim Muhiddin Bey), though he is not named in the film. Though the incident was mentioned in Lawrence's autobiography Seven Pillars of Wisdom
    Seven Pillars of Wisdom
    Seven Pillars of Wisdom is the autobiographical account of the experiences of British soldier T. E. Lawrence , while serving as a liaison officer with rebel forces during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks of 1916 to 1918....

    , a few historians have conjectured that this event never happened. This is not the view of Jeremy Wilson, The Authorised Biography of T. E. Lawrence (ISBN 0-689-11934-8) or the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning biography A Prince of Our Disorder, John E. Mack, (ISBN 0-316-54232-6).
  • Jackson Bentley – Based on famed American journalist Lowell Thomas
    Lowell Thomas
    Lowell Jackson Thomas was an American writer, broadcaster, and traveler, best known as the man who made Lawrence of Arabia famous...

    , who helped make Lawrence famous with accounts of his bravery. However, Thomas was at the time a young man who spent only a few days (or weeks at most) with Lawrence in the field – unlike Bentley, who is depicted as a cynical middle-aged Chicago newspaperman who is present during the whole of Lawrence's later campaigns. Bentley was the narrator in Michael Wilson
    Michael Wilson (writer)
    Michael Wilson was an Academy Award winning American screenwriter who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses during the era of McCarthyism....

    's original script, but Robert Bolt
    Robert Bolt
    Robert Oxton Bolt, CBE was an English playwright and a two-time Oscar winning screenwriter.-Career:He was born in Sale, Cheshire. At Manchester Grammar School his affinity for Sir Thomas More first developed. He attended the University of Manchester, and, after war service, the University of...

     reduced his role significantly for the final script. Thomas did not start reporting on Lawrence until after the end of World War I, and held Lawrence in high regard, unlike Bentley, who seems to hold him in contempt.
  • Tafas – Lawrence's guide to Faisal is based on his actual guide, Sheikh Obeid el-Rashid, of the Hazimi branch of the Beni Salem, whom Lawrence referred to as Tafas several times in Seven Pillars. Tafas and Lawrence did meet Sherif Ali at a well during Lawrence's travels to Faisal, but the encounter was not fatal for either party. (Indeed, this scene would create much controversy amongst Arab viewers.)
  • Medical officer – This unnamed officer who confronts Lawrence in Damascus is based on an actual incident in Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Lawrence's meeting the officer again while in British uniform was, however, an invention of Wilson or Bolt.

Historical accuracy

The historical accuracy of the film, and particularly its portrayal of Lawrence himself, has been called into question by numerous scholars. Most of the film's characters are either real or based on real characters to varying degrees. The events depicted in the film are largely based on accepted historical fact and Lawrence's own writing about events, though they have various degrees of romanticisation.

Some scenes—such as the attack on Aqaba
Battle of Aqaba
Battle of Aqaba was fought for the Jordanian port of Aqaba. The attacking forces of the Arab Revolt, led by Auda ibu Tayi and T. E. Lawrence , were victorious over the Turkish defenders.-Background:...

—were heavily fictionalised, while those dealing with the Arab Council were inaccurate, inasmuch as the council remained more or less in power in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 until France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 deposed Faisal
Faisal I of Iraq
Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi, was for a short time King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria or Greater Syria in 1920, and was King of the Kingdom of Iraq from 23 August 1921 to 1933...

 in 1920. Little background on the history of the region, the First World War, and the Arab Revolt is provided, probably due to Bolt's increased focus on Lawrence (while Wilson's draft script had a broader, more politicized version of events). The theme (in the second half of the film) that Lawrence's Arab army deserted almost to a man as he moved farther north was completely fictional. The film's timeline of the Arab Revolt
Arab Revolt
The Arab Revolt was initiated by the Sherif Hussein bin Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Turks and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.- Background :...

 and World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, and the geography of the Hejaz
Hejaz
al-Hejaz, also Hijaz is a region in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia. Defined primarily by its western border on the Red Sea, it extends from Haql on the Gulf of Aqaba to Jizan. Its main city is Jeddah, but it is probably better known for the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina...

 region, are frequently questionable. For instance, Bentley interviews Faisal in late 1917, after the fall of Aqaba, saying the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 has not yet entered the war, yet America had been in the war for several months by that point in time. Further, Lawrence's involvement in the Arab Revolt prior to the attack on Aqaba—such as his involvement in the seizures of Yenbo and Wejh—is completely excised. The rescue and execution of Gasim is based on two separate incidents, which were conflated together for dramatic reasons. The film shows Lawrence representing the Allied cause in the Hejaz almost alone with only one incompetent British officer, Colonel Brighton (Anthony Quayle
Anthony Quayle
Sir John Anthony Quayle, CBE was an English actor and director.-Early life:Quayle was born in Ainsdale, Southport, in Lancashire to a Manx family....

) there to assist him. In fact, there were numerous British officers such as Colonel Cyril Wilson, Stewart Francis Newcombe and Colonel Pierce C. Joyce, all of whom arrived before Lawrence serving in Arabia. In addition, there was a French military mission of 1,100 officers led by Colonel Edouard Brémond serving in the Hejaz, of which no mention is made in the film. The film shows Lawrence as the sole originator of the attacks on the Hejaz railroad. The first attacks on the Hejaz railroad began in early January 1917 led by officers such as Newcombe. The first successful attack on the Hejaz railroad with a locomotive-destroying "Garland mine" was led by Major H. Garland in February 1917, a month before Lawrence's first attack on the railroad in March 1917. The film shows the Hashemite forces as comprising Bedouin guerrillas, whereas in fact the core of the Hashemite forces was the Regular Arab Army recruited from Ottoman Arab POWs, who wore British-style uniforms with keffiyahs and fought in conventional battles. The film makes no mention of the Sharifian Army
Sharifian Army
The Sharifian Army was the military force behind the Arab Revolt which was a part of the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I. Sharif Husayn ibn 'Ali led the Sharifian Army in a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire with the ultimate goal of uniting the Arab people under and independent government...

, and leaves the viewer with the impression that the Hashemite forces were composed exclusively of Bedouin irregulars.

Representation of Lawrence

Many complaints about the film's accuracy, however, centre on the characterisation of Lawrence himself. The perceived problems with the portrayal of Lawrence begin with the differences in his physical appearance: 6-foot 2-inch (1.87 m) Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole is an Irish actor of stage and screen. O'Toole achieved stardom in 1962 playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, and then went on to become a highly-honoured film and stage actor. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, and holds the record for most...

 was almost nine inches (23 cm) taller than the real Lawrence. His behaviour, however, has caused much more debate.

The screenwriters depict Lawrence as an egotist
Egotism
Egotism is "characterized by an exaggerated estimate of one's intellect, ability, importance, appearance, wit, or other valued personal characteristics" – the drive to maintain and enhance favorable views of oneself....

. The degree to which Lawrence sought or shunned attention, such as his use after the war of various assumed names, is a matter of debate. Even during the war, Lowell Thomas
Lowell Thomas
Lowell Jackson Thomas was an American writer, broadcaster, and traveler, best known as the man who made Lawrence of Arabia famous...

 wrote in With Lawrence in Arabia that he could take pictures of him only by tricking him, although Lawrence did later agree to pose for several pictures for Thomas's stage show. Thomas's famous comment that Lawrence "had a genius for backing into the limelight" referred to the fact that his extraordinary actions prevented him from being as private as he would have liked. Others disagree, pointing to Lawrence's own writings in Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Seven Pillars of Wisdom is the autobiographical account of the experiences of British soldier T. E. Lawrence , while serving as a liaison officer with rebel forces during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks of 1916 to 1918....

to support the argument that he was egotistical.

Lawrence's sexual orientation remains a controversial topic amongst historians; though Bolt's primary source was ostensibly Seven Pillars, the film's portrayal seems informed by Richard Aldington
Richard Aldington
Richard Aldington , born Edward Godfree Aldington, was an English writer and poet.Aldington was best known for his World War I poetry, the 1929 novel, Death of a Hero, and the controversy arising from his 1955 Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Inquiry...

's then-recent Biographical Inquiry (1955), which posited among other things that Lawrence was homosexual. The film features Lawrence's alleged sadomasochism as a major part of his character (for instance, his "match trick" in Cairo, his "enjoyment" of killing Gasim); while Lawrence almost certainly engaged in flagellation and like activities after the Deraa incident, there is no biographical evidence he was a masochist prior to that incident. The film's depiction of Lawrence as an active participant in the Tafas Massacre was disputed at the time by historians, including Lawrence's biographer Basil Liddell Hart
Basil Liddell Hart
Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart , usually known before his knighthood as Captain B. H. Liddell Hart, was an English soldier, military historian and leading inter-war theorist.-Life and career:...

, but most current biographers accept the film's portrayal of the massacre as reasonably accurate.

Although the film does show that Lawrence could speak and read Arabic, could quote the Quran, and was reasonably knowledgeable about the region, it barely mentions his archaeological travels from 1911 to 1914 in Syria and Arabia, and ignores his espionage work, including a pre-war topographical survey of the Sinai Peninsula and his attempts to negotiate the release of British prisoners at Kut
Siege of Kut
The siege of Kut Al Amara , was the besieging of 8,000 strong British-Indian garrison in the town of Kut, 100 miles south of Baghdad, by the Ottoman Army. Its known also as 1st Battle of Kut. In 1915, its population was around 6,500...

 in Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 in 1916.

Furthermore, in the film, Lawrence is only made aware of the Sykes–Picot Agreement very late in the story whereas the "real" Lawrence, while fighting alongside the Arabs, knew much earlier, but had hoped that the Arabs' contribution to the Allied victory would convince the Allies to grant the Arabs their independence. Lawrence was, as the film suggests, torn between loyalty to the British and his promises to the Arabs, but by delaying his knowledge of the Sykes–Picot Agreement, the film removes the early catalyst for this conflict.

Lawrence's biographers have had a mixed reaction towards the film. Authorized biographer Jeremy Wilson noted that the film has "undoubtedly influenced the perceptions of some subsequent biographers" such as the depiction of the film's Ali as the real Sherif Ali, rather than a composite character, and also the highlighting of the Deraa incident. (In fairness to Lean and his writers, the Deraa connection was made by several Lawrence biographers, including Edward Robinson (Lawrence the Rebel) and Anthony Nutting
Anthony Nutting
Sir Harold Anthony Nutting, 3rd Baronet was a British diplomat and Conservative Party politician.-Early and private life:...

 (The Man and the Motive) before the film's release.) The film's historical inaccuracies are, in Wilson's view, more troublesome than what can be allowed under normal dramatic license. Contemporary biographer Basil Liddell Hart publicly criticized the film, engaging screenwriter Robert Bolt in a lengthy correspondence over the film's portrayal of Lawrence.

Representation of other characters

The film portrays General Allenby as cynical and manipulative, with a superior attitude to Lawrence, but there is much evidence that Allenby and Lawrence respected and liked each other. Lawrence once said that Allenby was "an admiration of mine" and later that he was "physically large and confident and morally so great that the comprehension of our littleness came slow to him". In contrast to the fictional Allenby's words at Lawrence's funeral in the film, upon Lawrence's death Allenby remarked, "I have lost a good friend and a valued comrade. Lawrence was under my command, but, after acquainting him with my strategical plan, I gave him a free hand. His co-operation was marked by the utmost loyalty, and I never had anything but praise for his work, which, indeed, was invaluable throughout the campaign" Allenby also spoke highly of him on numerous other occasions, and much to Lawrence's delight publicly endorsed the accuracy of Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Although Allenby admittedly did manipulate Lawrence during the war, their relationship lasted for years after its end, indicating that in real-life they were friendly, if not close. The Allenby family was particularly upset by the Damascus scenes, where Allenby coldly allows the town to fall into chaos as the Arab Council collapses.

Similarly, General Murray, though initially sceptical of the Arab Revolt's potential, thought highly of Lawrence's abilities as an intelligence officer; indeed, it was largely through Lawrence's persuasion that Murray came to support the revolt. The intense dislike shown toward Lawrence in the film is in fact the opposite of Murray's real feelings, although for his part Lawrence seemed not to hold Murray in any high regard.

The depiction of Auda abu Tayi as a man interested only in loot and money is also at odds with the historical record. Although Auda did at first join the Arab Revolt
Arab Revolt
The Arab Revolt was initiated by the Sherif Hussein bin Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Turks and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.- Background :...

 for monetary reasons, he quickly became a steadfast supporter of Arab independence and abandoned the cause only after the collapse of the Arab government in Damascus. He was present with Lawrence from the beginning of the Aqaba
Aqaba
Aqaba is a coastal city in the far south of Jordan, the capital of Aqaba Governorate at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. Aqaba is strategically important to Jordan as it is the country's only seaport. Aqaba is best known today as a diving and beach resort, but industrial activity remains important...

 expedition and in fact helped plan it along with Prince Faisal
Faisal I of Iraq
Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi, was for a short time King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria or Greater Syria in 1920, and was King of the Kingdom of Iraq from 23 August 1921 to 1933...

.

Faisal, far from being the middle-aged man depicted, was in reality in his early thirties at the time of the revolt. Faisal and Lawrence respected each others' capabilities and intelligence. They worked well together.

A particularly telling fact of the film's inaccuracies is the reaction of those who knew Lawrence and the other characters. The most vehement critic of the film's inaccuracy was Professor A.W. Lawrence
A.W. Lawrence
Arnold Walter Lawrence was a British authority on classical sculpture and architecture. He was Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology at Cambridge University in the 1940s, and in the early 1950s in Accra he founded what later became the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board as well as the...

, T.E.'s younger brother and literary executor, who had sold the rights to Seven Pillars of Wisdom to Sam Spiegel for £25,000. Lawrence went on a campaign in the United States and Britain denouncing the film, famously saying, "I should not have recognised my own brother". Lowell Thomas was also critical of the portrayal of Lawrence and most of the film's characters, believing that the train attack scenes were the only reasonably accurate aspect of the film.

The criticisms were not restricted to Lawrence. The Allenby family lodged a formal complaint against Columbia about the portrayal of their ancestor. Descendants of Auda abu Tayi and the real Sherif Ali, despite the fact that the film's Ali was fictional, went further, actively suing Columbia due to the portrayal of their ancestors. The Auda case went on for almost ten years before it was finally dropped.

Biographer Michael Korda
Michael Korda
Michael Korda is a writer and novelist who was editor-in-Chief of Simon & Schuster in New York City.-Early Years:...

, author of Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia, offers a different opinion. While the film is neither "the full story of Lawrence's life or a completely accurate account of the two years he spent fighting with the Arabs," Korda argues that criticizing its inaccuracy "misses the point": "The object was to produce, not a faithful docudrama that would educate the audience, but a hit picture." Stephen E. Tabachnick goes further than Korda, arguing that the film's portrayal of Lawrence is "appropriate and true to the text of Seven Pillars of Wisdom." The British historian of the Arab Revolt, David Murphy wrote that through the film was flawed due to various inaccuaries and omissions, "it was a truly epic movie and is rightly seen as a classic".

Pre-production

Previous films about T. E. Lawrence had been planned but had not been made. In the 1940s, Alexander Korda
Alexander Korda
Sir Alexander Korda was a Hungarian-born British producer and film director. He was a leading figure in the British film industry, the founder of London Films and the owner of British Lion Films, a film distributing company.-Life and career:The elder brother of filmmakers Zoltán Korda and Vincent...

 was interested in filming The Seven Pillars of Wisdom with Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM was an English actor, director, and producer. He was one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century. He married three times, to fellow actors Jill Esmond, Vivien Leigh, and Joan Plowright...

 as Lawrence, but had to pull out due to financial difficulties. David Lean himself had been approached to direct a 1952 version for the Rank Organisation
Rank Organisation
The Rank Organisation was a British entertainment company formed during 1937 and absorbed in 1996 by The Rank Group Plc. It was the largest and most vertically-integrated film company in Britain, owning production, distribution and exhibition facilities....

, but the project fell through. Also, at the same time as pre-production of the film, Terence Rattigan
Terence Rattigan
Sir Terence Mervyn Rattigan CBE was one of England's most popular 20th-century dramatists. His plays are generally set in an upper-middle-class background...

 was developing his play Ross
Ross (Play)
Ross is a 1960 play by British playwright Terence Rattigan.It is a biographical play of T. E. Lawrence- Plot synopsis :The play is structured with a framing device set in 1922, when Lawrence was hiding under an assumed name as "Aircraftman Ross" in the Royal Air Force, and is being disciplined by...

which centred primarily on Lawrence's alleged homosexuality. Ross had begun life as a screenplay, but was re-written for the stage when the film project fell through. Sam Spiegel grew furious and unsuccessfully attempted to have the play suppressed, furore at which helped to gain publicity for the film. Dirk Bogarde
Dirk Bogarde
Sir Dirk Bogarde was an English actor and novelist. Initially a matinee idol in such films as Doctor in the House and other Rank Organisation pictures, Bogarde later acted in art-house films such as Death in Venice...

 had accepted the role in Ross; he described the cancellation of the project as "my bitterest disappointment". Alec Guinness would play the role on stage.

Lean and Sam Spiegel were coming off the huge success of Bridge on the River Kwai, and were eager to work together again. For a time, Lean was interested in a biopic of Gandhi, with Alec Guinness to play the title role and Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger was a Hungarian-British screenwriter, film director, and producer. He is best known for his series of film collaborations with Michael Powell, in a multiple-award-winning partnership known as The Archers and produced a series of classic British films, notably 49th Parallel , The...

 writing the screenplay, but Lean eventually lost interest in the project. Lean then returned his attention to T.E. Lawrence. Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film production and distribution company. Columbia Pictures now forms part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. It is one of the leading film companies...

 had an interest in a Lawrence project dating back to the early '50s, and when Spiegel convinced a reluctant A.W. Lawrence
A.W. Lawrence
Arnold Walter Lawrence was a British authority on classical sculpture and architecture. He was Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology at Cambridge University in the 1940s, and in the early 1950s in Accra he founded what later became the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board as well as the...

 to sell the rights to The Seven Pillars of Wisdom for £25,000, the project got underway.

When Lawrence of Arabia was first announced, Lawrence's biographer Lowell Thomas
Lowell Thomas
Lowell Jackson Thomas was an American writer, broadcaster, and traveler, best known as the man who made Lawrence of Arabia famous...

 offered producer Spiegel and screenwriters Bolt and Wilson a large amount of research material he had produced on Lawrence during and after his time with him in the Arab Revolt. Spiegel rejected the offer.

Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson (writer)
Michael Wilson was an Academy Award winning American screenwriter who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses during the era of McCarthyism....

 wrote the original draft of the screenplay. However, Lean was dissatisfied with Wilson's work, primarily because his treatment focused primarily on the historical and political aspects of the Arab Revolt. Lean hired Robert Bolt
Robert Bolt
Robert Oxton Bolt, CBE was an English playwright and a two-time Oscar winning screenwriter.-Career:He was born in Sale, Cheshire. At Manchester Grammar School his affinity for Sir Thomas More first developed. He attended the University of Manchester, and, after war service, the University of...

 to re-write the script in order to make it a character study of Lawrence himself. While many of the characters and scenes are Wilson's invention, virtually all of the dialogue in the finished film was written by Bolt.

Lean reportedly watched John Ford
John Ford
John Ford was an American film director. He was famous for both his westerns such as Stagecoach, The Searchers, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and adaptations of such classic 20th-century American novels as The Grapes of Wrath...

's film The Searchers
The Searchers (film)
The Searchers is a 1956 American Western film directed by John Ford, based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May, and set during the Texas–Indian Wars...

(1956) to help him develop ideas as to how to shoot the film. Several scenes in the film directly recall Ford's film, most notably Ali's entrance at the well and the composition of many of the desert scenes and the dramatic exit from Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum also known as The Valley of the Moon is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in south Jordan at to the east of Aqaba. It is the largest wadi in Jordan. The name Rum most likely comes from an Aramaic root meaning 'high' or 'elevated'. To reflect its proper Arabic...

. Lean biographer Kevin Brownlow
Kevin Brownlow
Kevin Brownlow is a filmmaker, film historian, television documentary-maker, author, and Academy Award recipient. Brownlow is best known for his work documenting the history of the silent era. Brownlow became interested in silent film at the age of eleven. This interest grew into a career spent...

 even notes the physical similarity between Rumm and Ford's Monument Valley
Monument Valley
Monument Valley is a region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching above the valley floor. It is located on the northern border of Arizona with southern Utah , near the Four Corners area...

. The film's plot structure also bears similarity to Orson Welles
Orson Welles
George Orson Welles , best known as Orson Welles, was an American film director, actor, theatre director, screenwriter, and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television and radio...

's Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film, directed by and starring Orson Welles. Many critics consider it the greatest American film of all time, especially for its innovative cinematography, music and narrative structure. Citizen Kane was Welles' first feature film...

(1941), particularly the opening scenes with Lawrence's death and the reporter inquiring notables at Lawrence's funeral.

Filming

The film was made by Horizon Pictures
Horizon Pictures
Horizon Pictures Ltd was a film production company founded in Britain by the Austrian-born film producer Sam Spiegel. The company's first production was the Academy Award-winning The African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, in 1951.It later produced the David Lean films The...

 and Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film production and distribution company. Columbia Pictures now forms part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. It is one of the leading film companies...

. Shooting began on 15 May 1961 and ended on 20 October 1962.

The desert scenes were shot in Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 and Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, as well as Almería
Almería (province)
-History:The rich customs and Fiestas of the denizens retain links deep into the past, unto the Moors, the Romans, the Greeks, and the Phoenicians.During the taifa era, it was ruled by the Moor Banu al-Amiri from 1012 to 1038, briefly annexed by Valencia , then given by Zaragoza to the Banu Sumadih...

 and Doñana
Doñana National Park
-Conservation:In 1989 the surroundings of the national park were given more protection when a buffer zone was declared a natural park under the management of the regional government. The two parks, national and natural, have since been classified as a single natural landscape.In 1994 UNESCO...

 in Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. The film was originally to be filmed entirely in Jordan: the government of King Hussein
Hussein of Jordan
Hussein bin Talal was the third King of Jordan from the abdication of his father, King Talal, in 1952, until his death. Hussein's rule extended through the Cold War and four decades of Arab-Israeli conflict...

 was extremely helpful in providing logistical assistance, location scouting
Location scouting
Location scouting is a vital process in the pre-production stage of filmmaking and commercial photography. Once scriptwriters, producers or directors have decided what general kind of scenery they require for the various parts of their work that is shot outside of the studio, the search for a...

, transportation, and extras; Hussein himself visited the set several times during production and maintained cordial relationships with cast and crew. During the production of the film, in fact, Hussein met and married Toni Gardner, who was working as a switchboard operator in Aqaba. One of the film's technical advisors/horse wranglers in Jordan was a descendant of Auda abu Tayi. The only tension occurred when local Jordanian officials learned that English actor Henry Oscar
Henry Oscar
Henry Oscar was an English stage and film actor.Born as Henry Wale, he changed his name and began acting in 1911 and appeared in a wide range of films, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much , Fire Over England , The Four Feathers , Hatter's Castle ,...

, who did not speak Arabic, would be filmed reciting the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

; permission was granted only on condition that an imam
Imam (Sunni Islam)
In Sunni Islam, an imam khatib is a leader, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. This compound title is merely a common combination of two elementary offices: leader of the congregational prayer, which in larger mosques is performed at the times of all daily prayers; and...

 be present to ensure that there were no misquotations.

In Jordan, Lean planned to film in, among other places, the real Aqaba and the archaeological site at Petra
Petra
Petra is a historical and archaeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma'an that is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system. Established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited...

, which Lawrence had been fond of as a place of study. However, the production had to be moved to Spain, much to Lean's regret, due to cost and outbreaks of illness among the cast and crew before these scenes could be shot. The attack on Aqaba (one of the more stirring and memorable scenes in the film with a spectacular pan shot of dust rising up from behind the charging Arabs while Turkish cannons are aimed harmlessly out to sea) was reconstructed in a dried river bed in southern Spain; it consisted of over 300 buildings and was meticulously based on the town's appearance in 1917. The execution of Gasim and the train attacks were filmed in the Almería
Almería
Almería is a city in Andalusia, Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the province of the same name.-Toponym:Tradition says that the name Almería stems from the Arabic المرية Al-Mariyya: "The Mirror", comparing it to "The Mirror of the Sea"...

 region, with the former's filming being delayed because of a flash flood. The city of Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 was also used to represent Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 and Jerusalem, with the appearance of the Alcázar of Seville
Alcázar of Seville
thumb|right|250px|Baths of Lady María de PadillaThe Alcázar of Seville is a royal palace in Seville, Spain, originally a Moorish fort....

 and the Plaza de España
Plaza de España (Seville)
The Plaza de España is a plaza located in the Parque de María Luisa , in Seville, Spain built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929...

. All of the film's interiors were shot in Spain, including Lawrence's first meeting with Faisal and the scene in Auda's tent.

The Tafas massacre was filmed in Ouarzazate
Ouarzazate
-See also:* Tizi n'Tichka: The mountain pass that leads to Ouarzazate* List of Movies shot in Morocco-External links:* at IMDb...

, Morocco, with Moroccan army troops substituting for the Turkish army; however, Lean was unable to film as much as he wanted because the soldiers were uncooperative and impatient. One of the second-unit directors for the Morocco scenes was André de Toth
André De Toth
André de Toth was a Hungarian-American filmmaker, born and raised in Makó, Csongrád, Kingdom of Hungary Austro-Hungarian Empire. He directed the 3-D film House of Wax, despite being unable to see in 3-D himself, having lost an eye at an early age. He is known for his gritty B movies in the western...

, who suggested a shot wherein bags of blood would be machine-gunned, spraying the screen with blood. Assistant director Nicolas Roeg
Nicolas Roeg
Nicolas Jack Roeg, CBE, BSC is an English film director and cinematographer.-Life and career:Roeg was born in London, the son of Mabel Gertrude and Jack Nicolas Roeg...

 approached Lean with this idea, but Lean found it disgusting. De Toth subsequently left the project.

The film's production was frequently delayed because, unusually, the film started shooting without a finished script. After Wilson quit early in the production, playwright Beverley Cross
Beverley Cross
Beverley Cross was an English playwright, librettist and screenwriter.Born in London into a theatrical family, Cross started off by writing children's plays in the 1950s. He achieved instant success with his first play One More River, which dealt with a mutiny in which a crew puts its first...

 worked on the script in the interim before Bolt took over, although none of Cross's material made it to the final film. A further mishap occurred when Bolt was arrested for taking part in an anti-nuclear weapons demonstration, and Spiegel had to persuade Bolt to sign a recognizance
Bind over
Bind over, binding over order or bind over for sentence is a legal term relating to a power exercised by magistrates in England and Wales and in other common law jurisdictions such as Hong Kong....

 of good behaviour for him to be released from jail and continue working on the script.

Camel
Camel
A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

s caused several problems on set. O'Toole was not used to riding camels and found the saddle to be uncomfortable. While in Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

 during a break in filming, he bought a piece of foam rubber
Foam rubber
Foam rubber refers to rubber that has been manufactured with a foaming agent to create an air-filled matrix structure. Commercial foam rubbers are generally either polyurethane foam or natural foam rubber latex. Latex foam rubber, used in mattresses, is well-known for its endurance.-See also:*...

 at a market and added it to his saddle. Many of the extras copied the idea and sheets of the foam can be seen on many of the horse and camel saddles. The Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

s nicknamed O'Toole " 'Ab al-'Isfanjah " , meaning "Father of the Sponge". The idea spread and to this day, many Bedouins add foam rubber to their saddles.

Later, during the filming of the Aqaba scene, O'Toole was nearly killed when he fell from his camel, but fortunately, it stood over him, preventing the horses of the extras from trampling him. Coincidentally a very similar mishap befell the real Lawrence at the Battle of Abu El Lissal
Battle of Aqaba
Battle of Aqaba was fought for the Jordanian port of Aqaba. The attacking forces of the Arab Revolt, led by Auda ibu Tayi and T. E. Lawrence , were victorious over the Turkish defenders.-Background:...

 in 1917. In another mishap, O'Toole seriously injured his hand during filming by punching through the window of a caravan while drunk. A brace or bandage can be seen on his left thumb during the first train attack scene, presumably due to this incident.

Along with many other Arab countries, Jordan would ban the film for what they felt to be a disrespectful portrayal of Arab culture. Egypt, Omar Sharif's home country, was the only Arab nation to give the film a wide release, where it became a success through the endorsement of President Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

, who appreciated the film's depiction of Arab nationalism
Pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism is an ideology espousing the unification--or, sometimes, close cooperation and solidarity against perceived enemies of the Arabs--of the countries of the Arab world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea. It is closely connected to Arab nationalism, which asserts that the Arabs...

.

Music

The score
Film score
A film score is original music written specifically to accompany a film, forming part of the film's soundtrack, which also usually includes dialogue and sound effects...

 was composed by Maurice Jarre
Maurice Jarre
Maurice-Alexis Jarre was a French composer and conductor.Although he composed several concert works, he is best known for his film scores, and is particularly known for his collaborations with film director David Lean. Jarre composed the scores to all of Lean's films since Lawrence of Arabia...

, little known at the time and selected only after both William Walton
William Walton
Sir William Turner Walton OM was an English composer. During a sixty-year career, he wrote music in several classical genres and styles, from film scores to opera...

 and Malcolm Arnold
Malcolm Arnold
Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold, CBE was an English composer and symphonist.Malcolm Arnold began his career playing trumpet professionally, but by age thirty his life was devoted to composition. He was ranked with Benjamin Britten as one of the most sought-after composers in Britain...

 had proved unavailable. Jarre was given just six weeks to compose two hours of orchestral music for Lawrence. The score was performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra
London Philharmonic Orchestra
The London Philharmonic Orchestra , based in London, is one of the major orchestras of the United Kingdom, and is based in the Royal Festival Hall. In addition, the LPO is the main resident orchestra of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera...

. Although Sir Adrian Boult
Adrian Boult
Sir Adrian Cedric Boult CH was an English conductor. Brought up in a prosperous mercantile family he followed musical studies in England and at Leipzig, Germany, with early conducting work in London for the Royal Opera House and Sergei Diaghilev's ballet company. His first prominent post was...

 is credited as the conductor of the score in the film's credits, he was unable to conduct most of the score, due in part to his failure to adapt to the intricate timings of each cue, and Jarre replaced him as the conductor. The score went on to garner Jarre
Maurice Jarre
Maurice-Alexis Jarre was a French composer and conductor.Although he composed several concert works, he is best known for his film scores, and is particularly known for his collaborations with film director David Lean. Jarre composed the scores to all of Lean's films since Lawrence of Arabia...

 his first Academy Award for Music Score-Substantially Original and is now considered one of the greatest scores of all time, ranking number three on the American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

's top twenty-five American film scores.

The original soundtrack recording was originally released on Colpix Records
Colpix Records
Colpix Records was the first recording company for Columbia Pictures–Screen Gems. Colpix got its name from combining Columbia and Pictures . It was founded by Jonie Taps and Harry Cohn in 1958, and was based in New York City. Paul Wexler headed the label. Stu Phillips was in charge of A&R...

, the records division of Columbia Pictures, in 1962. A remastered edition appeared on Castle Music, a division of the Sanctuary Records
Sanctuary Records
Sanctuary Records Group Limited was a record label based in the United Kingdom and a subsidiary of Universal Music Group. Until June 2007, it was the largest independent record label in the UK and the largest independent music management company in the world...

 Group, on 28 August 2006.

Kenneth Alford
Kenneth Alford
Frederick Joseph Ricketts was a British composer of marches for band. Using the pen name Kenneth J. Alford, his marches are considered to be great examples of the art...

's march The Voice of the Guns
The Voice of the Guns
The Voice of the Guns is a British military march composed by Kenneth Alford during World War I. It was written as a tribute to British artillerymen serving in the war, hence its name, though later became widely adopted by the entire British army...

(1917) is prominently featured on the soundtrack. One of Alford's other pieces, the Colonel Bogey March
Colonel Bogey March
The "Colonel Bogey March" is a popular march that was written in 1914 by Lieutenant F. J. Ricketts , a British army bandmaster who later became director of music for the Royal Marines at Plymouth...

, was the musical theme for Lean's previous film, The Bridge on the River Kwai
The Bridge on the River Kwai
The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 British World War II film by David Lean based on The Bridge over the River Kwai by French writer Pierre Boulle. The film is a work of fiction but borrows the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942–43 for its historical setting. It stars William...

.

Theatrical run

The film premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on 10 December 1962 (Royal Premiere) and was released in the United States on 16 December 1962.

The original release ran for about 222 minutes (plus overture, intermission, and exit music). A post-premiere memo (13 Dec. 1962) noted that the film was 24,987.5 ft (70 mm) and 19,990 ft (35 mm). With 90 ft of 35 mm film projected every minute, this corresponds to exactly 222.11 minutes.

In an email to Robert Morris, co-author of a book on Lawrence of Arabia, Richard May, VP Film Preservation at Warner Bros., noted that Gone With the Wind, never edited after its premiere, is 19,884 ft of 35 mm film (without leaders, overture, intermission, entr'acte or walkout music) corresponding to 220.93 min.

Thus, Lawrence of Arabia, slightly more than 1 minute longer than Gone With the Wind, is the longest movie ever to win a Best Picture Oscar.

A later theatrical re-release ran for 202 minutes; an even shorter cut of 187 minutes briefly surfaced in the 1970s. The first round of cuts was made at the direction and even insistence of David Lean, to assuage criticisms of the film's length and increase the number of showings per day; however, during the 1989 restoration, he would later pass blame for the cuts onto by-then-deceased producer Sam Spiegel.

The film was screened out of competition at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival
1989 Cannes Film Festival
- Jury :*Wim Wenders *Christine Gouze-Renal*Claude Beylie*Georges Delerue*Hector Babenco*Krzysztof Kieślowski*Peter Handke*Renée Blanchar*Sally Field*Silvio Clementelli-Feature film competition:* Chimère by Claire Devers...

.

Restored director's cut

The current "restored version", undertaken by Robert A. Harris
Robert A. Harris
Robert A. Harris is a film historian and preservationist who specializes in restoring the large-format widescreen films of the 1950s. He has restored and reconstructed a number of classic films including Lawrence of Arabia , Spartacus , My Fair Lady , Vertigo Rear Window , as well as The...

 and James C. Katz
James C. Katz
James C. Katz is a film historian and preservationist who has restored and reconstructed a number of classic films. Though he began his career as a film producer, he concentrated his attention on preserving existing films....

 (under the supervision of director David Lean), was released in 1989 with a 216-minute length (plus overture, intermission, and exit music).

Most of the cut scenes were dialogue sequences, particularly those involving General Allenby and his staff. Two whole scenes—Brighton's briefing of Allenby in Jerusalem before the Daraa scene and the British staff meeting in the field tent—were completely excised, and the former has still not been entirely restored. Much of the missing dialogue involves Lawrence's writing of poetry and verse, alluded to by Allenby in particular, saying "the last poetry general we had was Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

". The opening of Act II, where Faisal is interviewed by Bentley, and the later scene, in Jerusalem where Allenby convinces Lawrence not to resign, existed in only fragmented form; they were restored to the 1989 re-release. Some of the more graphic shots of the Tafas massacre scene—the lengthy panning shot of the corpses in Tafas, and Lawrence shooting a surrendering Turkish soldier—were also restored. Most of the still-missing footage is of minimal import, supplementing existing scenes. One scene is an extended version of the Daraa rape sequence, which makes Lawrence's punishment in that scene more overt. Other scripted scenes exist, including a conversation between Auda and Lawrence immediately after the fall of Aqaba
Aqaba
Aqaba is a coastal city in the far south of Jordan, the capital of Aqaba Governorate at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. Aqaba is strategically important to Jordan as it is the country's only seaport. Aqaba is best known today as a diving and beach resort, but industrial activity remains important...

, a brief scene of Turkish officers noting the extent of Lawrence's campaign, and the battle of Petra
Petra
Petra is a historical and archaeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma'an that is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system. Established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited...

 (later reworked into the first train attack), but these scenes were probably not filmed. The actors still living at the time of the re-release dubbed their own dialogue, though Jack Hawkins
Jack Hawkins
Colonel John Edward "Jack" Hawkins CBE was an English actor of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.-Career:Hawkins was born at Lyndhurst Road, Wood Green, Middlesex, the son of master builder Thomas George Hawkins and his wife, Phoebe née Goodman. The youngest of four children in a close-knit family,...

's dialogue had to be dubbed by Charles Gray
Charles Gray (actor)
Charles Gray was an English actor who was well-known for roles including the arch-villain Blofeld in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, Sherlock Holmes' brother Mycroft Holmes in the Granada television series, and as The Criminologist in the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show in...

 (who had already done Hawkins' voice for several films after the former developed throat cancer in the late 1960s). A full list of cuts can be found at the Internet Movie Database
Internet Movie Database
Internet Movie Database is an online database of information related to movies, television shows, actors, production crew personnel, video games and fictional characters featured in visual entertainment media. It is one of the most popular online entertainment destinations, with over 100 million...

. Reasons for the cuts of various scenes can be found in Lean's notes to Sam Spiegel, Robert Bolt, and Anne V. Coates
Anne V. Coates
Anne Voase Coates is a British film editor with a more than 40-year long career in film editing. She is perhaps best known as the editor of director David Lean's epic film, Lawrence of Arabia in 1962...

. The film runs 216 minutes in the most recent director's cut
Director's cut
A director's cut is a specially edited version of a film, and less often TV series, music video, commercials, comic book or video games, that is supposed to represent the director's own approved edit...

 available on DVD.

Home media

Lawrence of Arabia has been released in five different DVD editions, including an initial release as a two-disc set (2001), followed by a shorter single disc edition (2002), a high resolution version of the director's cut with restored scenes (2003) issued as part of the Superbit
Superbit
Superbit was a brand of premium DVD-Video versions of motion pictures from Columbia TriStar Home Video, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Superbit DVDs aimed to improve picture quality over a standard DVD edition of a feature by increasing the bit rate of the encoded video...

 series, as part of the Columbia Best Pictures collection (2008), and in a fully restored special edition of the director's cut (2008).

Director Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

 helped restore a version of the film for a DVD release in 2000. He also provided commentary for the DVD.

An 8K scan digital restoration is currently underway for Blu-ray release and is expected to be released sometime in 2012 to celebrate the film's 50th anniversary.

Reception

Upon its release, Lawrence was a huge critical and financial success and it remains popular among viewers and critics alike. The striking visuals, dramatic music, literate screenplay and superb performance by Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole is an Irish actor of stage and screen. O'Toole achieved stardom in 1962 playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, and then went on to become a highly-honoured film and stage actor. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, and holds the record for most...

 have all been common points of acclaim and the film as a whole is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. Its visual style has influenced many directors, including George Lucas
George Lucas
George Walton Lucas, Jr. is an American film producer, screenwriter, and director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones...

, Sam Peckinpah
Sam Peckinpah
David Samuel "Sam" Peckinpah was an American filmmaker and screenwriter who achieved prominence following the release of the Western epic The Wild Bunch...

, Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
Martin Charles Scorsese is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. In 1990 he founded The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation...

 and Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

, who called the film a "miracle."

The film is regarded as a masterpiece of world cinema and is ranked highly on many lists of the best films ever made. The American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

 ranked the film 5th in its original and 7th in its updated list of the greatest films and first in its list of the greatest films of the "epic" genre
Epic film
An epic is a genre of film that emphasizes human drama on a grand scale. Epics are more ambitious in scope than other film genres, and their ambitious nature helps to differentiate them from similar genres such as the period piece or adventure film...

. In 1991, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

 and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry
National Film Registry
The National Film Registry is the United States National Film Preservation Board's selection of films for preservation in the Library of Congress. The Board, established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, was reauthorized by acts of Congress in 1992, 1996, 2005, and again in October 2008...

. In 1999 the film placed third in a BFI poll
BFI Top 100 British films
In 1999 the British Film Institute surveyed 1000 people from the world of British film and television to produce the BFI 100 list of the greatest British films of the 20th century. Voters were asked to choose up to 100 films that were 'culturally British'...

 of the best British films and in 2001 the magazine Total Film
Total Film
Total Film is a British film magazine published 13 times a year by Future Publishing. The magazine was launched in 1997 and offers film, DVD and Blu-ray news, reviews and features...

called it "as shockingly beautiful and hugely intelligent as any film ever made" and "faultless." It has also ranked in the top ten films of all time in a Sight and Sound directors poll. Additionally, O'Toole's performance has also often been considered one of the greatest of all time, topping lists made by both Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly is an American magazine, published by the Time division of Time Warner, that covers film, television, music, broadway theatre, books and popular culture...

and Premiere.

However, some critics—notably Bosley Crowther
Bosley Crowther
Bosley Crowther was a journalist and author who was film critic for The New York Times for 27 years. His reviews and articles helped shape the careers of actors, directors and screenwriters, though his reviews, at times, were unnecessarily mean...

 and Andrew Sarris
Andrew Sarris
Andrew Sarris is an American film critic and a leading proponent of the auteur theory of criticism.-Career:Sarris is generally credited with popularizing the auteur theory in the U.S...

—have criticized the film for an indefinite portrayal of Lawrence and lack of depth.

Awards and honours

Award Category Name Outcome
35th Academy Awards
35th Academy Awards
The 35th Academy Awards, honoring the best in film for 1962, were held on April 8, 1963 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California...


(Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

)
Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Picture
The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel was an Austrian-born American independent film producer.-Life and career:Spiegel was born in Jarosław, Galicia, Austria-Hungary as Samuel P. Spiegel to a German-Jewish father and Polish mother and educated at the University of Vienna. His brother was Shalom Spiegel, a professor of...

Best Director David Lean
David Lean
Sir David Lean CBE was an English film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor best remembered for big-screen epics such as The Bridge on the River Kwai , Lawrence of Arabia ,...

Best Art Direction
Academy Award for Best Art Direction
The Academy Awards are the oldest awards ceremony for achievements in motion pictures. The Academy Award for Best Art Direction recognizes achievement in art direction on a film. The films below are listed with their production year, so the Oscar 2000 for best art direction went to a film from 1999...

John Box
John Box
John Allan Hyatt Box OBE, , was a British film production designer and art director. During his career he won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction on four occasions and won its BAFTA equivalent three times, making him the most decorated film designer of all time...

, John Stoll
John Stoll
John Stoll was a British art director. He won an Academy Award in the category Best Art Direction for the film Lawrence of Arabia.-External links:...

 and Dario Simoni
Dario Simoni
Dario Simoni was a set decorator. He won two Academy Awards and was nominated for another two in the category Best Art Direction.-Selected filmography:...

Best Cinematography
Academy Award for Best Cinematography
The Academy Award for Best Cinematography is an Academy Award awarded each year to a cinematographer for work in one particular motion picture.-History:...

Frederick A. Young
Freddie Young
Freddie Young OBE, BSC , was one of Britain's most distinguished and influential cinematographers...

Best Substantially Original Score Maurice Jarre
Maurice Jarre
Maurice-Alexis Jarre was a French composer and conductor.Although he composed several concert works, he is best known for his film scores, and is particularly known for his collaborations with film director David Lean. Jarre composed the scores to all of Lean's films since Lawrence of Arabia...

Best Film Editing Ann V. Coates
Best Sound John Cox
John Cox (sound engineer)
John Cox was a British sound engineer. He won an Academy Award for Sound Recording and was nominated for two more in the same category. He worked on over 140 films between 1931 and 1972.-Selected filmography:Won...

Best Actor
Academy Award for Best Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole is an Irish actor of stage and screen. O'Toole achieved stardom in 1962 playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, and then went on to become a highly-honoured film and stage actor. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, and holds the record for most...

Best Supporting Actor
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif is an Egyptian actor who has starred in Hollywood films including Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and Funny Girl. He has been nominated for an Academy Award and has won two Golden Globe Awards.-Early life:...

Best Adapted Screenplay
Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay
The Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay is one of the Academy Awards, the most prominent film awards in the United States. It is awarded each year to the writer of a screenplay adapted from another source...

Robert Bolt
Robert Bolt
Robert Oxton Bolt, CBE was an English playwright and a two-time Oscar winning screenwriter.-Career:He was born in Sale, Cheshire. At Manchester Grammar School his affinity for Sir Thomas More first developed. He attended the University of Manchester, and, after war service, the University of...

 and Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson (writer)
Michael Wilson was an Academy Award winning American screenwriter who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses during the era of McCarthyism....

16th British Academy Film Awards
16th British Academy Film Awards
The 16th British Film Awards, given by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 1963, honoured the best films of 1962.-Best Film: Lawrence of Arabia *Billy Budd*A Kind of Loving*Lola*The L-Shaped Room...


(British Academy of Film and Television Arts
British Academy of Film and Television Arts
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is a charity in the United Kingdom that hosts annual awards shows for excellence in film, television, television craft, video games and forms of animation.-Introduction:...

)
Best Film from any Source
BAFTA Award for Best Film
This page lists the winners and nominees for the BAFTA Award for Best Film, BAFTA Award for Best Film not in the English Language and Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film for each year, in addition to the retired earlier versions of those awards...

Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel was an Austrian-born American independent film producer.-Life and career:Spiegel was born in Jarosław, Galicia, Austria-Hungary as Samuel P. Spiegel to a German-Jewish father and Polish mother and educated at the University of Vienna. His brother was Shalom Spiegel, a professor of...

 and David Lean
David Lean
Sir David Lean CBE was an English film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor best remembered for big-screen epics such as The Bridge on the River Kwai , Lawrence of Arabia ,...

Best British Film
BAFTA Award for Best Film
This page lists the winners and nominees for the BAFTA Award for Best Film, BAFTA Award for Best Film not in the English Language and Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film for each year, in addition to the retired earlier versions of those awards...

Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel was an Austrian-born American independent film producer.-Life and career:Spiegel was born in Jarosław, Galicia, Austria-Hungary as Samuel P. Spiegel to a German-Jewish father and Polish mother and educated at the University of Vienna. His brother was Shalom Spiegel, a professor of...

 and David Lean
David Lean
Sir David Lean CBE was an English film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor best remembered for big-screen epics such as The Bridge on the River Kwai , Lawrence of Arabia ,...

Best British Actor
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Best Actor in a Leading Role is a British Academy Film award presented annually by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding leading performance in a film.-Superlatives:...

Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole is an Irish actor of stage and screen. O'Toole achieved stardom in 1962 playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, and then went on to become a highly-honoured film and stage actor. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, and holds the record for most...

Best British Screenplay
BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay
* 1982 - Missing - Costa-Gavras and Donald E. Stewart** E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial - Melissa Mathison** Gandhi - John Briley** On Golden Pond - Ernest Thompson* 1981 - Gregory's Girl - Bill Forsyth...

Robert Bolt
Robert Bolt
Robert Oxton Bolt, CBE was an English playwright and a two-time Oscar winning screenwriter.-Career:He was born in Sale, Cheshire. At Manchester Grammar School his affinity for Sir Thomas More first developed. He attended the University of Manchester, and, after war service, the University of...

 and Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson (writer)
Michael Wilson was an Academy Award winning American screenwriter who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses during the era of McCarthyism....

Best Foreign Actor
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Best Actor in a Leading Role is a British Academy Film award presented annually by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding leading performance in a film.-Superlatives:...

Anthony Quinn
Anthony Quinn
Antonio Rodolfo Quinn-Oaxaca , more commonly known as Anthony Quinn, was a Mexican American actor, as well as a painter and writer...

20th Golden Globe Awards
20th Golden Globe Awards
The 20th Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best in film for 1962 films, were held on March 5, 1963.-Best Actor - Drama: Gregory Peck - To Kill a Mockingbird*Bobby Darin - Pressure Point...


(Hollywood Foreign Press Association
Hollywood Foreign Press Association
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is an organization composed of working journalists who cover the United States film industry for a variety of outlets, including newspapers and magazines in Europe, Asia, Australia and Latin America. Today, the 90 members of the HFPA represent at least 55...

)
Best Motion Picture – Drama David Lean
David Lean
Sir David Lean CBE was an English film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor best remembered for big-screen epics such as The Bridge on the River Kwai , Lawrence of Arabia ,...

 and Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel was an Austrian-born American independent film producer.-Life and career:Spiegel was born in Jarosław, Galicia, Austria-Hungary as Samuel P. Spiegel to a German-Jewish father and Polish mother and educated at the University of Vienna. His brother was Shalom Spiegel, a professor of...

Best Director of a Motion Picture
Golden Globe Award for Best Director - Motion Picture
This page lists the winners of and nominees for the Golden Globe Award for Best Director. Since its inception in 1943, it has been presented annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, an organization composed of journalists who cover the United States film industry for publications based...

David Lean
David Lean
Sir David Lean CBE was an English film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor best remembered for big-screen epics such as The Bridge on the River Kwai , Lawrence of Arabia ,...

Best Supporting Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
The Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 1944 for a performance in a motion picture released in the previous year....

Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif is an Egyptian actor who has starred in Hollywood films including Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and Funny Girl. He has been nominated for an Academy Award and has won two Golden Globe Awards.-Early life:...

Most Promising Newcomer – Male
Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actor
The Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor originated in 1948. Between 1954 and 1965, multiple winners were announced. The category was discontinued following the 1983 ceremonies.-Winners:*1948: Richard Widmark*1950: Richard Todd, Gene Nelson...

Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif is an Egyptian actor who has starred in Hollywood films including Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and Funny Girl. He has been nominated for an Academy Award and has won two Golden Globe Awards.-Early life:...

Best Cinematography, Color
Golden Globe Award
The Golden Globe Award is an accolade bestowed by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognizing excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign...

Frederick A. Young
Freddie Young
Freddie Young OBE, BSC , was one of Britain's most distinguished and influential cinematographers...

Most Promising Newcomer – Male
Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actor
The Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor originated in 1948. Between 1954 and 1965, multiple winners were announced. The category was discontinued following the 1983 ceremonies.-Winners:*1948: Richard Widmark*1950: Richard Todd, Gene Nelson...

Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole is an Irish actor of stage and screen. O'Toole achieved stardom in 1962 playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, and then went on to become a highly-honoured film and stage actor. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, and holds the record for most...



Directors Guild of America
  • Outstanding Directorial Achievement
    Directors Guild of America Awards
    The Directors Guild of America Awards are issued annually by the Directors Guild of America. The first DGA Award was an "Honorary Life Member" award issued in 1938 to D.W. Griffith....

     – David Lean
    David Lean
    Sir David Lean CBE was an English film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor best remembered for big-screen epics such as The Bridge on the River Kwai , Lawrence of Arabia ,...


David di Donatello Awards
  • Best Foreign Film – Sam Spiegel

British Society of Cinematographers
  • Best Cinematography Award – Freddie Young

Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists
  • Best Director Foreign Film – David Lean

Kinema Junpo Awards
  • Best Foreign Language Film – David Lean

National Board of Review
National Board of Review of Motion Pictures
The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures was founded in 1909 in New York City, just 13 years after the birth of cinema, to protest New York City Mayor George B. McClellan, Jr.'s revocation of moving-picture exhibition licenses on Christmas Eve 1908. The mayor believed that the new medium...

  • Best Director – David Lean

Writers' Guild of Great Britain
  • Best British Dramatic Screenplay
    Writers' Guild of Great Britain
    The Writers' Guild of Great Britain, established in 1959, is a trade union for professional writers. It is affiliated with both the Trades Union Congress and the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds .-Activities:...

     – Robert Bolt, Michael Wilson


American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

 recognition
  • 1998 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies
    AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies
    The first of the AFI 100 Years… series of cinematic milestones, AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies is a list of the 100 best American movies, as determined by the American Film Institute from a poll of more than 1,500 artists and leaders in the film industry who chose from a list of 400 nominated movies...

     #5
  • 2001 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills
    AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills
    Part of the AFI 100 Years… series, AFI's 100 Years…100 Thrills is a list of the top 100 heart-pounding movies in American cinema. The list was unveiled by the American Film Institute on June 12, 2001, during a CBS special hosted by Harrison Ford....

     # 23
  • 2003 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains
    AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains
    AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains is a list of the 100 greatest screen characters chosen by American Film Institute in June 2003. It is part of the AFI 100 Years… series. The series was first presented in a CBS special hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger...

    :
    • T.E. Lawrence, hero #10
  • 2005 AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores
    AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores
    Part of the AFI 100 Years… series, AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores is a list of the top 25 film scores in American cinema. The list was unveiled by the American Film Institute in 2005.-The List:-External links:**...

     #3
  • 2006 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Cheers
    AFI's 100 Years... 100 Cheers
    100 Years…100 Cheers: America's Most Inspiring Movies is a list of the most inspiring films as determined by the American Film Institute. It is part of the AFI 100 Years… series, which has been compiling lists of the greatest films of all time in various categories since 1998...

     #30
  • 2007 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) #7
  • 2008 AFI's 10 Top 10
    AFI's 10 Top 10
    AFI's 10 Top 10 honors the ten greatest American films in ten classic film genres. Presented by the American Film Institute , the lists were unveiled on a television special broadcast by CBS on June 17, 2008....

     – #1 Epic film
    Epic film
    An epic is a genre of film that emphasizes human drama on a grand scale. Epics are more ambitious in scope than other film genres, and their ambitious nature helps to differentiate them from similar genres such as the period piece or adventure film...


Legacy

The use of the locations in Almería
Almería
Almería is a city in Andalusia, Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the province of the same name.-Toponym:Tradition says that the name Almería stems from the Arabic المرية Al-Mariyya: "The Mirror", comparing it to "The Mirror of the Sea"...

, Spain for the train sequences and others made that region popular with international film makers. Most famously, it became the setting of virtually all of the Spaghetti Westerns of the '60s and '70s, specifically those of Sergio Leone
Sergio Leone
Sergio Leone was an Italian film director, producer and screenwriter most associated with the "Spaghetti Western" genre.Leone's film-making style includes juxtaposing extreme close-up shots with lengthy long shots...

. (The oasis
Oasis
In geography, an oasis or cienega is an isolated area of vegetation in a desert, typically surrounding a spring or similar water source...

 set from Lawrence briefly appears in Leone's For a Few Dollars More
For a Few Dollars More
For a Few Dollars More is a 1965 Italian spaghetti western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Gian Maria Volonté. German actor Klaus Kinski also plays a supporting role as a secondary villain...

(1965).) Many of the sets used or built for the film were re-used in later films, including John Milius
John Milius
John Frederick Milius is an American screenwriter, director, and producer of motion pictures.-Early life:Milius was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Elizabeth and William Styx Milius, who was a shoe manufacturer. Milius attempted to join the Marine Corps in the late 1960s, but was rejected...

's The Wind and the Lion
The Wind and the Lion
The Wind and the Lion is a 1975 adventure film. It was written and directed by John Milius and starred Sean Connery, Candice Bergen, Brian Keith and John Huston...

(1975), which used several of the same palaces in Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 and the Aqaba set as the setting for its climactic battle, while the Plaza de España
Plaza de España (Seville)
The Plaza de España is a plaza located in the Parque de María Luisa , in Seville, Spain built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929...

 appears in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is a 2002 American epic space opera film directed by George Lucas and written by Lucas and Jonathan Hales. It is the fifth film to be released in the Star Wars saga and the second in terms of the series' internal chronology...

(2002), as the Theed Palace.

The main musical title of the film was used in the James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 film The Spy Who Loved Me
The Spy Who Loved Me (film)
The Spy Who Loved Me is a spy film, the tenth film in the James Bond series, and the third to star Roger Moore as the fictional secret agent James Bond. It was directed by Lewis Gilbert and the screenplay was written by Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum...

(1977) in the scene where Roger Moore
Roger Moore
Sir Roger George Moore KBE , is an English actor, perhaps best known for portraying British secret agent James Bond in seven films from 1973 to 1985. He also portrayed Simon Templar in the long-running British television series The Saint.-Early life:Moore was born in Stockwell, London...

 and Barbara Bach
Barbara Bach
Barbara Bach is an American actress and model known as the Bond girl from the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me . She is married to former Beatle Ringo Starr.-Early life:...

's characters have to wander through the desert after their van breaks down. This was done as a joke by one of the editors who liked to play music from the film during the daily rushes.

The main musical title of the film was also used in the movie Spaceballs
Spaceballs
Spaceballs is a 1987 American science fiction comedy parody film co-written by, directed by, Mel Brooks and starring Bill Pullman, John Candy, Mel Brooks & Rick Moranis. It also features, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, and the voice of Joan Rivers. The film was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on...

when the Winnebago crashes on the sand planet and the crew is forced to walk the desert.

Film director Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

 considers this his favorite film of all time and the one that convinced him to become a film maker. Screenwriter William Monahan
William Monahan
William J. Monahan is an American screenwriter and novelist. His second produced screenplay was The Departed, a film which earned him a WGA award and an Academy award for Best Adapted Screenplay.-Writer and editor:...

, who scripted Kingdom of Heaven
Kingdom of Heaven (film)
Kingdom of Heaven is a 2005 epic action film directed by Ridley Scott and written by William Monahan. It stars Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Marton Csokas, Brendan Gleeson, Kevin McKidd, Alexander Siddig, Ghassan Massoud, Edward Norton, Jon Finch, Michael Sheen and Liam...

and The Departed
The Departed
The Departed is a 2006 American crime thriller film, fashioned as a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese and written by William Monahan...

, among others, is a fan of Robert Bolt
Robert Bolt
Robert Oxton Bolt, CBE was an English playwright and a two-time Oscar winning screenwriter.-Career:He was born in Sale, Cheshire. At Manchester Grammar School his affinity for Sir Thomas More first developed. He attended the University of Manchester, and, after war service, the University of...

 and has stated on numerous occasions that viewing Lawrence is what inspired him to be a screenwriter.

Sequel

In 1990, the made-for-television film A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia was produced as a sequel to the Lawrence of Arabia. It featured Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes is an English actor and film director. He has appeared in such films as The English Patient, In Bruges, The Constant Gardener, Strange Days, The Duchess and Schindler's List....

 as Lawrence and Alexander Siddig
Alexander Siddig
Siddig El Tahir El Fadil El Siddig Abderrahman Mohammed Ahmed Abdel Karim El Mahdi is a Sudanese-born English actor, also known as Siddig El Fadil and his stage name Alexander Siddig. He is known for playing Dr...

 as Prince Faisal. The movie dealt primarily with the attempts of Lawrence and Faisal to secure independence for Arabia during the 1919 Versailles Conference
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 following the end of World War I. The film was generally well-received and deals more with the political ramifications of Lawrence's efforts in the Middle East.

See also

  • Cinema of Jordan
    Cinema of Jordan
    Jordan is a country with strong political support and a variety of locations that have been used by filmmakers from all over the world. Films that have been shot in Jordan include Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade which was filmed in Petra' in 1988. Lawrence of Arabia directed by David Lean was...

  • Films considered the greatest ever
  • BFI Top 100 British films
    BFI Top 100 British films
    In 1999 the British Film Institute surveyed 1000 people from the world of British film and television to produce the BFI 100 list of the greatest British films of the 20th century. Voters were asked to choose up to 100 films that were 'culturally British'...


Further reading

  • Morris, L. Robert and Raskin, Lawrence (1992). Lawrence of Arabia: the 30th Anniversary Pictorial History. Doubleday & Anchor, New York. A book on the creation of the film, authorised by Sir David Lean.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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