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Lawrence of Arabia (1989)

Peter O'Toole , Alec Guinness , David Lean  |  PG |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (871 customer reviews)

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Lawrence of Arabia + The Bridge on the River Kwai
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Product Details

  • Actors: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Omar Sharif
  • Directors: David Lean
  • Writers: Michael Wilson, Robert Bolt, T.E. Lawrence
  • Producers: David Lean, Sam Spiegel
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Limited Edition, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 3, 2001
  • Run Time: 216 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (871 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXB2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,094 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lawrence of Arabia" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Two disc set
  • Four original featurettes: "Wind, Sand and Star: The Making of a Classic," "Maan, Jordan: The Camels Are Cast," "In Search of Lawrence" and "Romance of Arabia"
  • Exclusive Documentary: "The Making of Lawrence of Arabia"
  • A Conversation with Steven Spielberg
  • Original Newsreel Footage of the New York Premiere
  • Advertising Campaigns
  • Talent Files
  • DVD ROM ELEMENTS INCLUDE: Journey with Lawrence: Map of Arabia & Military Strategy and Archives of Arabia: Historic Photographs
  • Reproduction of the 1962 Souvenir Booklet

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

This vast movie is spread leisurely across two discs, with Maurice Jarre's overture standing in as intermission music for the first track of the second disc. But the clarity of the anamorphic widescreen picture and Dolby 5.1 soundtrack justify the decision not to cram the whole thing onto one side of a disc. The movie has never looked nor sounded better: the desert landscapes are incredibly detailed, with the tiny nomadic figures in the far distance clearly visible on the small screen; the remastered soundtrack, too, is a joy. Thanks are due to Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, who supervised (and financed) the restoration of the picture in 1989; on the second disc Spielberg chats about why David Lean is his favorite director and why Lawrence had such a profound influence on him both as a child and as a filmmaker (he says he rewatches the movie before starting any new project). Other features include an excellent and exhaustive "making of" documentary with contributions from surviving cast and crew (an avuncular Omar Sharif is particularly entertaining as he reminisces about meeting the hawk-like Lean for the first time), some contemporary featurettes designed to promote the movie, and a DVD-ROM facility. The extra features, especially the documentary, are good, but the breathtaking quality of both anamorphic picture and digital sound is what makes this DVD package a triumph. --Mark Walker

Product Description

Director David Lean follows the heroic true-life odyssey of T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) in this dramatic portrait of the famed British officer's journey to the Middle East. Assigned to Arabia during World War I, Lawrence courageously unites the warring Arab factions into a strong guerrilla front and leads them to brilliant victories in treacherous desert battlefields where they eventually defeat the ruling Turkish Empire.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
469 of 492 people found the following review helpful
** UPDATED NOV-15-2012 **

An extraordinary film has now become an extraordinary Blu-ray. David Lean's 1962 desert epic film about the enigmatic British officer T.E. Lawrence and his successes and struggles in the Arab countries during the early 20th Century remains (sadly) as relevant as ever regarding the Western world's unending struggles in the Middle East regions. The Oscar-winning classic is also a landmark event in film history, as it set a very high standard in epic film-making, acting, and, for the making of this Blu-ray, in film restoration as well. Director Lean and then-unknown actor Peter O'Toole's contribution in this film remain influential in the five decades since the film's initial release. And if it had not been for the efforts of restorers Robert A. Harris and Jim Painten, who discovered the film's original negative inside crushed and rusting film cans in Columbia's vaults in the 1980s, and proceeded to restore it to its original glory, we would not have had the pleasure of holding this Blu-ray in our hands. This 2-disc Blu-ray exclusive (no corresponding DVD is available) and a 4-disc (3 Blu-rays plus CD soundtrack) box set are the result of multi-year efforts on the part of the best professionals in the film business.

The aforementioned restoration by Harris & Painten, completed in 1989 and yielding a 227-minute director's cut, was the basis of this Blu-ray release. The running time is sometimes indicated as 217 minutes, which is the running time without all the music interludes: overture, intermission, and exit music.
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406 of 430 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The desert is a sea in which no oar is dipped. June 11, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It is unsurprising to me that some people find Lawrence of Arabia boring. If you have the attention span of a hummingbird, this is not a film you will enjoy. It has no car chases, no bikini-clad supermodels, and nary a kung-fu move to be seen. Instead, all it offers is tortured respect for everything it touches. Lawrence of Arabia is a film that elevated the art of cinematic storytelling to new heights, and it shows. It is the journey, not the destination, that the viewer should focus on. In order to enjoy this film, you must make a commitment to watch it. Get comfortable, have something to drink on hand (you'll know why about halfway through), turn off the phone, and put the remote under a pillow. I've seen a lot of films, and some I've liked to varying degrees, and others I've simply been satisfied that Hollywood didn't butcher the underlying work or premise too badly in pursuit of the lowest common denominator. Lawrence of Arabia is different. It is one of those truly rare films that makes you feel grateful for having seen it, for the efforts of all those involved to craft, create, and perserve over the years just so you might have the chance to see it. It is such a fine film that its merits are obvious, and negative statements about it tend to simply reflect back on the critic.
Why? Many reasons. The actors are likewise gifted with rare talent, and superbly cast. The settings and scenes are invariably breathtaking. The plot is engrossing and entertaining without ever becoming heavy-handed. Film students will while away hours discussing everything from the Christ imagery to the undercurrents of homoeroticism, but they do that with every film. I suggest you simply kick back and enjoy an excellent, time-honored epic about a stranger in a strange land. It is a harrowing, draining journey, but one you will not regret.
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244 of 257 people found the following review helpful
By 2HB
Dear Amazon,

Please stop posting reviews for films that are, essentially, written for another version of the DVD's (and cd's) and not the one posted.

There are several DVD versions of Lawrence of Arabia. They all differ wildly from each other in picture and sound quality.

How do you expect us to chose which is best for us if you post the same review from the 2001 version over and over and over again?
"Best dvd version yet."

Yeah, right - in 2001 that may have been true. But Amazon, you've posted this review for every version of this DVD even though the review was for a DVD originally released in 2001!
Lawrence of Arabia has been remastered twice since then, and the subsquent versions are very, very different.

Please stop this and take some responsibility and post reviews ONLY for their specific versions - or at least specify that the review was written for another version.
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138 of 153 people found the following review helpful
For me this epic film is tied with "A Bridge On The River Kwai" as the best movie ever made. This film had everything & more. The peerless acting of Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif, Jack Hawkins, & Anthony Quinn were perfectly cast for their respective roles. Fine cinematography, direction, action, suspense, special effects, & musical score made this a mammoth production that took two years to complete.

Set in world war one in the turbulent middle east, T.E.Lawrence attempts to unite the Arabs to overthrow their Ottoman Turkish rulers. He starts as a mapmaker for British intelligence in Cairo. From the very first frames you can feel the extraordinary WILL of this man. He burns himself with matches saying to his comrade "the trick is not to mind that it hurts." He is sent to spy on King Feisal{Alec Guinness}, but he soon finds that he identifies more with the arabs than with his fellow Brit's. His brutal journey to the king under the scorching desert Sun alone is worth four stars. He develops an unexpected & intruiging relationship with an arab chieftain Sherif Ali{Omar Sharif}, that moves the film ever forward. Without orders he crosses the desert to lead a motley group of fifty men joining Auda Abu Tayi{Anthony Quinn}, to attack the Turks at Aqaba. With the victory comes his fame as US reporter Jackson Bentley{Arthur Kennedy}, brings the story to the media's attention. He moves from one gruelling adventure to another showing an indomitable will that encourages his men to fight above what they thought their own abilities were. Lawrence Of Arabia is an epic that celebrates the empty silence of the arabian desert. the vast clips across the glowing desert show a tiny rider approaching, mesmerizing sunsets, battles, & camp details make this a masterpiece.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning color and clarity
I've had the DVD for years now, but as the Blu-ray was on sale, I bought a copy.

All I can say is WOW! Read more
Published 16 hours ago by A. BARTKY
1.0 out of 5 stars Disgusting
It's dead wrong. Like so many others, I find it unacceptable that Amazon makes it virtually impossible to figure out which DVD is the best quality. I don't care what it costs. Read more
Published 3 days ago by D. A. Kersting
5.0 out of 5 stars In my opinion, this is the best move ever made
I have seen this movie a couple of times before, starting in '62 when It first was shown. I have read a few books on T.E. Read more
Published 5 days ago by dlp40
5.0 out of 5 stars Lawrence is epic on the Blu Ray format
Best looking Blu Ray for a classic film. The film is epic. There is no other way to describe it. This is David Lean's masterpiece. Read more
Published 7 days ago by M. Damron
5.0 out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE
A film like no other in how it translates nature and the actions of man in a historical context. Peter O'toole give a masterful performance.
Published 11 days ago by Aaron
5.0 out of 5 stars This transfer will blow you away!!
I have watched thousands of blu-ray films and this is by far the finest transfer I have ever seen. I mean it will knock your socks off and it makes one feel like they are set of... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Andrew K Rawls
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE THIS MOVIE
Published 17 days ago by Bonnie Gale Wolgamot
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite
O'Toole at his finest as The lead character. Action and top notch cast. Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn, and hundreds of nasty types ripping up the desert.
Published 19 days ago by jrddn47
3.0 out of 5 stars Watched Lawrence of Arabia 2 nights
Terribly slow. It took over an hour to watch them cross the desert. They could have shortened it by half. We enjoyed the scenery and Peter O'Toole's performance.
Published 19 days ago by Margaret Quesinberry
Published 20 days ago by Carol J. Comport
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Topic From this Discussion
Lawrence of Arabia on Blu-Ray?
I too, am waiting for this.

It's films like this - with their stunning cinematography - that HD is made for.
Jun 22, 2009 by Mark |  See all 26 posts
Why is it so expensive?
The 2-Disc set will include: Secrets of Arabia: Picture-in-Graphic Track; "Peter O'Toole Revisits Lawrence of Arabia" All-New Interview; "The Making of Lawrence of Arabia" documentary; "A Conversation with Steven Spielberg"; "The Camels Are Cast"; "In... Read more
Aug 8, 2012 by Kites |  See all 3 posts
is the single disc version worth it?
If you only want the film then go with the single but if you like extras go for the two disc. The two disc also has slightly better picture quality.
Dec 2, 2009 by DLMJ |  See all 3 posts
Problems with disc one
I can't speak from personal experience because I have not watched my copy yet, but I have an idea of why it's happening. This is an extremely long movie at almost 4 hours and I think the data is too heavily compressed, perhaps by the type of encoding that was used. I think they probably should... Read more
Feb 17, 2008 by Vic Rattlehead |  See all 3 posts
Questions about the Collector's Edition
This quote might help. It's David Horiuchi's editorial comment provided by Amazon on the Superbit Edition: "Lawrence of Arabia raises the bar on Superbit DVDs by not only using the much-publicized higher bit rate, but also offering a brand-new transfer by restoration expert Robert Harris,... Read more
Feb 25, 2009 by A. Caplan |  See all 7 posts
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