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Oscars Challenge #71: Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Movie Review

Lawrence of Arabia is undoubtedly one of the grandest historical movies ever made. With large-scale locations and production sets, this film could last a generation.

The story is based on the exploits of T.E. Lawrence during World War I and his involvement in establishing the Arab National Council. It also includes his struggles to fulfill his duty while also getting emotionally attached to the Arabic countries.

Plot Summary

The film is divided into two parts and starts with a flash-forward scene when T.E. Lawrence dies in a motorcycle accident. During his memorial, a reporter asks about his contributions and what makes him remarkable.

T.E. Lawrence, a misfit British Army Lieutenant, was sent to assess Prince Faisal in his revolt against the Ottoman Turks during World War I. His journey in the sandy Arab states was unsuccessful initially, but after meeting the Prince, he becomes attached to the country's condition and involvement.

After witnessing the Prince's defeat against a more technologically advanced attack by the Turks, Lawrence conceives a plan to let them launch a surprise attack in Aqaba, a port town. If they captured the city, the British could send supplies easily, making the revolt much easier. After winning, Lawrence has now been recognized by the Arabs as their trusted ally and will help them in the future.

Lawrence also convinces other groups to join them in revolt against the Turks. However, his plans are not always perfect. He must make choices, such as killing an ally that betrayed them, leaving the renowned Lieutenant struggling emotionally.

The movie also explores several historical events, like his involvement in capturing Damascus and establishing the Arab National Council.

This film features the talents of Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, and Anthony Quinn.


If you compare Peter O'Toole and the real T.E. Lawrence, you might confuse yourself because they both look like the same person. This might have been the first instance that the actor looks like the person they are portraying.

Other than the massive sets and locations, I got to say Lawrence of Arabia is an excellent film, but it is a tad too long for me to enjoy fully. It is a very long movie that lasts around three and a half hours. You tend to lose yourself in the middle if you have a low attention span like me.

One thing that frustrates me about this film is they have not used a legit Arab actor for the role of Prince Faisal. Since his role in this film is not minor, I believe it is proper that they have used an actor of Arabic descent to have it more appropriate.

Lawrence of Arabia has its fair share of inaccuracies, like other historical films. However, it is still a good movie even though you look at it from the entertainment perspective. It is a very ambitious film to take on the controversial story of T.E. Lawrence, and the execution is on-point.

An excellent 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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