Customer Review

141 of 159 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Talk About Character Development !!!!! What A Classic Should Be!!!!!, March 26, 2008
This review is from: Lawrence of Arabia (Single-Disc Edition) (DVD)
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. Peter O'Toole gave the greatest performance ever in this film. I'm not saying that Gregory Peck did not deserve the Oscar for "To Kill A Mockingbird," just that O'Toole deserved it a little more. The former still has never won the Oscar, which for me is an unpardonable sin!
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Showing 1-10 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 26, 2008 5:41:21 PM PDT
Linda Bulger says:
This is SUCH a fine movie -- and you really brought it to life. Nice review, Steve, thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2008 8:51:21 PM PDT
Okay on everything but the O'Toole/Peck comparison. Peck was so perfect in that role that I could almost accept the basic false premise of To Kill a Mockingbird, that it was the poor country rednecks who fostered hate and the genteel sorts like Peck who were humane and broad-minded.
Good review at any rate.

Posted on Mar 27, 2008 9:35:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 27, 2008 9:35:50 PM PDT
This is high praise, indeed, Steve: << For me this epic film is tied with "A Bridge On The River Kwai" as the best movie ever made. >> Your brilliant review makes me want to give this movie a second viewing. Thanks for the reminder. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2008 11:04:20 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 22, 2008 12:39:43 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2008 2:27:55 PM PDT
K. Murphy says:
Good review. Truth be told, I have never actually seen this movie; not too much of a TV-watcher.

Posted on Mar 28, 2008 5:47:24 PM PDT
Too many movies are called "great" or "classic." This one has earned that title. One of O'Toole's best efforts. A great cast, a powerful story. Your review captures things quite nicely. Neat review. . . .

Posted on Mar 29, 2008 4:17:53 AM PDT
H. Schneider says:
Steve, certainly a good movie, but you are going a bit over the top here. I watched it again a few years ago, and my impression was that it has not aged all that well.
Let us not even get into the questions of historical accuracy and of idolizing a man with quite complex and often ambiguous motivations. Have a look at his book! Compare that to the image that O'Toole creates, competently but not accurately!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2008 11:00:42 AM PDT
Gogol says:
Oh I think you are being a little unfair H Schneider. Having read some of Lawrence's works I found O'Toole's character all the more impressive (as a sort of camp odd-ball) I don't feel he is made anything of an ideal figure. His brutality (The massacre of surrendering Turkish troops, his sitting idle while Turks died of disease and thirst in Damascus) is shown in the film, his 'cough cough' association with 'young males' is shown, the mistrust that many in the British government had for him is shown......

That he was little more than a saboteur who broke up Turkish lines by destroying the Hijaz railway with men who were mostly brigands is something that history has exaggerated (largely thanks to an American journalist who followed his exploits)

I recall that the British used to mock German efforts at propaganda during WW1 in the Middle East giving as example when they tired to convince the Persians that the Kaiser had converted to Islam or sending a document on tanned hide that just happened to be pig yet few (even many modern historians) still think that Lawrence was some kind of military genius simply because he realised the religious significance that the Hijaz held for the Ottomans and how even a tactical withdrawal from the place was out of the question.

Incidentally, ever heard of Wilhelm Wassmuss, the 'German Lawrence'?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2008 11:10:19 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 22, 2008 12:39:44 AM PDT]

Posted on Mar 29, 2008 8:54:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 11, 2008 8:37:57 PM PDT
I agree Steve, this movie was also revelatory to me when i first saw it and the many times since. It made me want to be a Muslim, an Arab and even . . .a man (!) which was an impossible thing to aspire to as a teenage feminist "infidel." That the movie is not quite historically accurate is meaningless in the face of its mesmerizing beauty and powerful romance. All hail to David Lean!
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