Starring: Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif
Director: David Lean
Running Time: 216 mins
Lawrence Of Arabia is a British film based on the life of the controversial maverick British soldier whose experiences and expeditions in the Middle East lead him to becoming the leader of an Arab revolt against the Turks at the height of the First World War.
Well, if you’re looking for a film that defines an ‘epic adventure’, go no further than this, because it’s one of the biggest and most epic films you’ll ever see. With a fascinating central character, brilliantly acted by Peter O’Toole, an engrossing screenplay, breathtaking visuals, and an intriguing historical story, this is a film that will really keep you glued to the screen for all of its three and a half hours.
Let’s start, rather appropriately, with the beginning of this film, which I thought was by far the best part of the entire epic. The film begins with the untimely death of T.E. Lawrence, in a motorcycle accident in 1935, which immediately shocked me and grabbed my attention, so as soon as the film goes back to the First World War in the Middle East, it’s hugely intriguing because it you know that it has the potential to shock you and surprisingly excite you even more, which was a huge pleasure to start off this epic with.
The other reason why the first part of this film in particular is most intriguing is that it really looks deep into the character of T.E. Lawrence. Yes, there are still references to the battles and troop movements, but the majority of the first two hours of this film are about getting to know the controversial figure that is T.E. Lawrence, where you not only get the opportunity to wilfully support him in his rise to prominence in fighting the Turks, but also take a step back and think a bit about whether his methods really are the right ones, which I found absolutely fascinating.
One of the other things that you’ve got to love about this film, also mostly in the first half, are the stunning visuals. The grandiose shots of the Arabian desert are absolutely breathtaking, and they really add to the epic scale of the whole adventure, as well as heightening the sense of harshness of the desert landscape in some of the more brutal scenes.
In my opinion, the second half of the film, while still perfectly interesting, isn’t as strong as the first part, because it slows down considerably, gets a little bit too factual and dry in places, and doesn’t look so much into the character of T.E. Lawrence, however what it does do is tie up the story very well, detailing Lawrence of Arabia’s rise to almost prophetic stature in yet another hugely fascinating way.
Overall, this gets an 8.4, because it’s a brilliantly intriguing historical drama, the definition of an epic adventure, and a fascinating character study topped off with a strong central performance by Peter O’Toole.