It has taken me a lifetime to watch Lawrence of Arabia. I never thought this story would be for me most of that time, so I avoided it like the plague. Then when you factor in the run time of 228 minutes (three hours and forty-eight minutes), you have to be really committed to spending that much time on the couch.
For today’s generation, that’s four hours of your favourite show on Netflix, while for the old generation, it is considered a masterpiece of filmography.
I was never familiar with Lawrence of Arabia, except that it is considered one of the best movies in film history and used majestic landscapes to tell the amazing story about uniting a country for a common goal.
I promise if you can make it through the slow parts, you’ll be rewarded with some epic battle sequences, mostly led by T.E. Lawrence, played by Peter O’Toole. Lawrence is a mastermind in history and strategy, so as a British soldier, he is sent to Arabia to unite the tribes and drive out the Turks during World War I.
Most Arabian tribes are enemies from feuds unknown to white people, so Lawrence has an impossible task and handles it as gracefully as possible. The whites think he is crazy, and the Arabs think he’s even crazier. His methods are unheard of, and his strategies make no sense to the desert folk, who have lived there their entire lives, and he’s fresh off the boat.
Lawrence’s story is amazing because it’s a true story. This man was able to do the impossible and rewrite the things that were once written. This transplant from another continent was able to emerge himself so deep into the Arab culture that they consider him a hero. Years into his journey of the deserts, it was hard for Lawrence to feel British anymore as he related more with his new friends than his own brothers in uniform.
The worse part of the story is that Lawrence went from a normal man serving his country, who just didn’t fit into his unit, to finding a home where he wanted to belong but was also never going to fit in. These thoughts corrupted his mind as he tried to find his place. The conflicts and gut-wrenching decisions also took their toll, which eventually destroyed him inside and out. It was kinda sad to see this happy-go-lucky guy become so depressed and sad about life. No matter what he did or acted, it was hard to argue that his adventures took a toll on his life and led to his great man dying at such a young age.
In regards to the movie, my wife and I agreed that it is extremely slow-paced. There is plenty of bloodshed moments to please most moviegoers, yet they are few and far between. I understand that this movie is about war and positioning, although the characters spend most of their time talking and riding camels to their next destination.
You won’t be disappointed if you ever decide to watch Lawrence of Arabia, the longest Best Picture to date. It surprised me to see that this film only ranked #114 on the IMDb’s Top 250 list when everything I heard about it said it was this spectacular masterpiece. I had assumed it ranked in the top 10 or 20, but it currently only holds an 8.3/10 rating.
I expected more and wanted more. I am not upset with the film, just was let down from all the hype I heard leading up to my first-time watch. Maybe you will have a different experience and fall in love with Lawrence, one of the greatest white leaders in Arabian history. 6/10
One thought on “Lawrence of Arabia (1962)”
While I admire the film and think it’s well-made, I’m really not a fan of Lawrence in real-life and his actions and familiarity with the Sykes-Picot Agreement, so I have mixed feelings for this romanticization of his life.