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Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks. (PG, 216 min.)


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David Lean's splendid biography of the enigmatic T. E. Lawrence paints a complex portrait of the desert-loving Englishman who united Arab tribes in a battle against the Ottoman Turks during World War I. [Sony Pictures]

Starring: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Omar Sharif
Director: David Lean
Genre(s): Adventure, Biography, Drama

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"It's an astonishing, unrepeatable epic."

— Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

"One of the most magnificent pictures, if not the most magnificent."

— Philip K. Scheuer, Los Angeles Times

"Lawrence is too emotionally overpowering for critical reservations."

— Desson Thomson, Washington Post

"It is hard to recall any film that has put the wide screen to such impressive use."

— Bob Thomas, Associated Press

"What a bold, mad act of genius it was, to make Lawrence of Arabia, or even think that it could be made."

— Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"Released in 1962, it was pretty clearly the most intelligent spectacular within living memory. On its 40th anniversary, it's even better."

— Andy Klein, New Times (L.A.)

"A supremely engrossing film, Lawrence of Arabia makes one forget that it runs nearly three and three-quarter hours: and sends one out haunted and shaken."

— Josephine O'Neill, Sydney Morning Herald

"No special effects are front and center here, simply the way a master creator of images pulls us into a dramatic story of great psychological complexity."

— Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

"One of the cinema's grandest spectacles, Lawrence of Arabia is at turns exhilarating, devastating, and puzzling as it ponders the mystery of a man who was a mystery to himself."

— Steven D. Greydanus, Decent Films

"Riveting from beginning to end, featuring stellar performances, amazing cinematography, and a story without a trace of fat, the film does everything an epic is supposed to do - and more."

— James Berardinelli, ReelViews

"In short, they don't make 'em like this one anymore. Viewing it is like taking a time machine to a movie age that was more naive than our own in some ways, more sophisticated and ambitious in others."

— David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor

"The movie manages both senses of scale—the intimate and the expansive—with equal majesty, merging them into something moving, mesmerizing, and poetic, in a way only Lean movies could really manage."

— Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm

"From the early shots laid on the sun-hot sands there is grandeur and awe-inspiring, stark splendor, against which men fight and die, battle for their ambitions and then see their dearest ideals crushed by uncaring, mercenary politicians."

— Marjory Adams, Boston Globe

"It has an epic hero whom it doesn't hero-worship...[O'Toole] brings flawlessly to life the film's vision of a flawed warrior who is corrupted by pride, soured by empty victories and betrayed finally by the jubilant jump of his heart every time he kills."

— Alexander Walker, London Evening Standard