The following is a classic review of Lawrence of Arabia (1962), a David Lean film.
There are some classic films that you just have to have seen at some point if you consider yourself a cinephile. Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Jaws, Taxi Driver, Star Wars, and so on, and so forth. Lawrence of Arabia is another one of these special films that you just have to sit down and watch. It is a film you need an opinion on. Lawrence of Arabia is very long, and I doubt that you can find a lot of young people today that are willing to sit down for close to four hours to watch a film from 1962. But outside of the film perhaps being a bit too long, I am of the opinion that Lawrence of Arabia definitely is a masterpiece.
Lawrence of Arabia is based on the life and experiences of T. E. Lawrence, and follows Lawrence (played by Peter O’Toole), a British military officer, during the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Turkish Empire. We are provided with a look into how Lawrence became an adviser for Prince Faisal (played by Sir Alec Guinness), and became regarded as an Arab in spirit by groups led by Sherif Ali (played by Omar Sharif) and Auda abu Tayi (played by Anthony Quinn).
Lawrence of Arabia is an awe-inspiring tale of adventure, war, and determination – it is a proper historical war-epic. It truly is one of the most impressive films I’ve seen from the 1960s. It features iconic shots, and a spellbinding musical score. Cinematographer Frederick A. Young shot the desert perfectly, and the film is one of the most extraordinary and well-shot films I’ve ever seen. Maurice Jarre’s musical score is even more iconic, however. It is an amazing score, and contains probably the quintessential desert musical theme.
Lawrence of Arabia is a pretty perfect film, containing not just iconic cinematography and music, but also one of the best performances I’ve ever seen, as well as some supporting performances that are out of this world. I was blown away by Peter O’Toole’s honest performance as T. E. Lawrence. He is lively, intense, and charismatic. There are many adjectives to attribute to his performance, but make no mistake they all fit perfectly. Omar Sharif is perfectly captivating as Sherif Ali, and he holds his own in every scene with O’Toole. Sir Alec Guinness does a great job as Prince Faisal as well. It might not be the most memorable performance of his career, but he is very convincing.
Now, while I think the film may be too long for multiple viewings, rest assured that the film is never boring. Somehow every scene feels important, and the cinematography in the long desert takes keep you interested. Lawrence of Arabia is thought-provoking, awe-inspiring, and, quite simply, one of the best films of all-time.
10 out of 10
I’m Jeffrey Rex