A Pictorial History of the Movies: 1962 – Lawrence of Arabia

Just listen to the magnificence of that score.

Never fails to give me goosebumps.

Or make me insanely excited to watch this movie.

Somehow, I have two movies that are almost four hours long in my top five list. And no matter what, I will sit through all four hours of them without batting an eyelash.

No matter what you want to say about 1962 – Lawrence of Arabia is the choice. Mockingbird is there, so is Dr. No, but Lawrence of Arabia is still the choice. It’s by far the choice.

This is one of the few perfect films in history. Not a single frame is wasted, and the film is spellbinding even now.

This is one of those movies that stands alone in history, because it just towers above everything else of its era. The achievement of this, in directing, in acting, in cinematography, in editing, all on down the line… I could honestly go on for an hour about how good this movie is. What Peter O’Toole accomplishes in this movie…

The two influences on David Lean for this movie were The Searchers and Citizen Kane. Not a bad set of films to use as a guideline.

I don’t think I need to defend this as the choice at all, but I will respectfully apologize to To Kill a Mockingbird, Dr. No, Days of Wine and Roses, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and (somehow) What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, all of which would have been varying degrees of acceptable choices. (On their own, not, obviously, as compared to each other. In that scenario, the choices are clear. Well… mostly.)

But, this film is a masterpiece, and if you’re coming up with an objective list (which is an actual impossibility) of the greatest films ever made, this is on that list. Top ten most likely, top 20 for certain. It’s just that good. And no one can argue that.

And if you ever get the chance, see this movie in 70mm. You won’t regret it.


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