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Lawrence of Arabia
Remind Me

The Critics Corner: LAWRENCE OF ARABIA


Lawrence of Arabia was part of the most wide-open Oscar race in decades. Because of a newspaper strike, the New York Film Critics Circle, which frequently serves as an early indicator of the Academy Awards, didn't present any awards in 1962. The strongest thing the film had going for it on Oscar night was the fact that David Lean had won the Directors Guild Award a few weeks earlier. The two awards rarely disagree.

Lawrence of Arabia won seven Oscars, a feat only previously achieved by Lean's collaboration with producer Sam Spiegel, The Bridge on the River Kwai. It won for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Editing, Best Music and Best Sound. It had 10 nominations, also honored for Best Actor (O'Toole), Best Supporting Actor (Sharif) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Lean would later say that since Bolt's screenplay had only used Seven Pillars of Wisdom as a source for facts, it should have been nominated for Best Original Screenplay, a category he was sure it would have won (the winner that year was Divorce-Italian Style).

David Lean's acceptance speech at the Academy Awards was short and sweet: "This Limey is deeply touched and greatly honored. Thank you."

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) gave the film awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Peter O'Toole).

The Hollywood Foreign Press honored Lawrence of Arabia with Golden Globes for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Supporting Actor (Omar Sharif).

The National Film Preservation Board voted Lawrence of Arabia a place on the National Film Registry in 1991.

by Frank Miller

The Critics Corner: LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

Lawrence of Arabia was one of the top box-office films of its year, taking in $20 million.

"Magnificent....Here is a motion picture that seems a summing up of the aims and aspirations of the 'big film'." - Hollis Alpert, Saturday Review.

"Lawrence of Arabia makes its first breath-taking impact with the most exciting location photography I have ever seen in the cinema." - Peter Baker, Films and Filming.

"Whatever the virtues of the film's stunning desert photography, its Lawrence bears much the same relation to Col. Thomas Edward Lawrence that Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra does to that famous lady." - Stanley Weintraub, Film Quarterly.

"One of the all-time great films. There may never have been in film history a movie which so deftly combines an epic grandeur of scene and action with surpassingly fine and subtle details of character." - Archie Winston, The New York Post

"Like the desert itself, in which most of the action in Lawrence of Arabia takes place, this much-heralded film about the famous British vast, awe-inspiring, beautiful with ever-changing hues, exhausting, and barren of humanity....It is, in the last analysis, just a huge, thundering camel-opera." - Bosley Crowther, The New York Times

"To me, Lawrence is an extraordinary film because it accomplishes what no other medium can in presenting the story of that enigmatic twentieth-century hero. It goes beyond Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom, beyond Terence Rattigan's Ross in giving us an understanding of the desert and Lawrence's infatuation with it, its impact upon the many facets of his complex character, its scope in providing his experience. And it is an extraordinary film because it is the first spectacular to use its spectacle for more than visual purpose, specifically as a probe of character, a delineation of an individual within a broad realm of experience." - Judith Crist, The New York Herald Tribune.