77. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

A man can be anything he wants to be. Cultural cross-dressing is optional.

Directed by: David Lean
Written by: T.E. Lawrence (memoirs), Robert Bolt
Starring: Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn

The barren landscapes of the Arab and Turkish occupation during the first World War were places most men would avoid. Or at least hate. But for British military figure, T.E Lawrence, the desert and all its horrible challenges became a second home where his intelligence, persuasion and influence moved armies to great, but incredibly harrowing, military victories.

Seamlessly blending into another culture with fake tan.

David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia is a three and a half hour epic that should be watched, not simply for the mere scale of its war-action scenes, but also for its beautiful cinematography, performances and compelling plot.

Despite the ridiculous length of the film, much of the scenes that seem to drag on with images of sand and camel-riding effectively contribute in developing our own love of the desert, Lawrence’s adventures and some seriously climcatic moments.

As Lawrence of Arabia engenders anti-war feeling through a somewhat simplified recount of the political tensions between the British and Arab armies, Lawrence’s own cultural cross-dressing and philosphies on war and the Arab people invite us to travel and taste a world that is new, exciting, dangerous and somewhat mythical.


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