By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –
This is one of the best movies ever made. The triumphant winner of seven Academy Awards, including “Best Picture,” Lawrence of Arabia is David Lean’s masterpiece. David Lean himself continues to stand the test of time as one of the greatest directors who has ever worked in Hollywood, and many would consider this epic film to be his magnum opus.
Starring Peter O’Toole in an Oscar-nominated film debut, Lawrence of Arabia chronicles the heroic efforts of T.E. Lawrence in a semi-biographical historical classic. Peter O’Toole obviously delivers a dazzling performance, but Gregory Peck walked away with Oscar gold by bringing Harper Lee’s Atticus Finch to life in the seminal screen gem To Kill a Mockingbird that same year. Nevertheless, Peter O’Toole definitely deserved his nomination for this film, and it is very unfortunate that he NEVER won an Oscar in his lifetime. Win or lose, audiences can still enjoy this film despite the stiff competition at the Academy Awards for the year 1962.
Omar Sharif also delivers an outstanding performance, and even earned an Oscar nomination for his supporting role. It was hard to believe that he would play such a dark character so convincingly because the only film that I personally saw that featured this actor was the romantic musical Funny Girl (1968), starring the incomparable Barbra Streisand. Lawrence of Arabia proved to me that Omar Sharif is a very versatile actor, which is why it is not surprising that David Lean would collaborate with him again for Dr. Zhivago (1965).
Lawrence of Arabia is one of the best examples of film as commercial entertainment as well as refined cinematic art. I have been lucky enough to see some of the greatest films ever made, including Gone with the Wind (1939) and Titanic (1997). Lawrence of Arabia is one of those rare films that NEEDS to be seen on the big screen, and I am grateful for being able to have seen it as it was intended to be consumed. Films like Lawrence of Arabia are the reason why I am a cinephile and a MovieBoozer film critic.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every shot of the vast blue sky that coincide with sandy horizons that might remind viewers of the song “Arabian Nights” from Disney’s Aladdin
Drink a Shot: for every beautiful image of the sun that is similar to the song “Circle of Life” from Disney’s The Lion King
Cool Down with Some Water: for every camel (even though it is a biological fact that camels have fat in their humps instead of water)
And Have One Final Toast: to the brilliance of David Lean as a director, filmmaker, and cinematic auteur