Lawrence of ArabiaAFI Rank: #5
Year Released: 1962
Director: David Lean
Actors:Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Omar Sharif
T.E. Lawrence was a real life hero who embraced the middle eastern culture during World War I to bring together warring tribes.
In a world where we can only take YouTube videos for 10 minutes at a time, or have commercials that are a brief 30 seconds long, it's amazing to expect people to sit still for 217 minutes straight in order to watch a long, drawn out epic story. This isn't a rough-and-fast war film full of flowing blood and heads blowing off. It's much more subtle than that. It's about understanding a people very different from yourself, about being willing to immerse yourself in their world.
Get yourself set up front for a long, thoughtful experience. Pour yourself a glass of wine. Set out a tray of cheese and grapes. Watch this on a widescreen TV if at all possible so you get the full sweeping experience of the hot desert, the enormous landscapes. This movie really does transport you to another world - where the ticking clock doesn't matter as much as the hot sun moving slowly ... slowly across the sky.
This really is a journey. Lawrence was an 'every man' at the beginning, drawn into the situation, drifting along. As he went, he grows, matures, and learns to take a stand. When others would abandon a boy to the fates, Lawrences decides that the boy can be saved. It is not up to nature - it is up to each of us, as a human, to make a stand for what we believe in.
This is definitely a film you want to watch on DVD - no commercials, no interruptions, no cutting out segments to "save time". It is almost a form of meditation, to immerse yourself in a world where a different clock kept time. The messages from the early 20th century are just as meaningful today. We must learn from our history.
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