Top 250 Tuesday: #082 – Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Continuing to wend my way through the Sight and Sound Top 250 Greatest Movies of All Time. This week, it’s #082 on the list, David LeanLawrwncw of Arabia. For a longer introduction to this series and a look at the full list, just click here. And if you want a heads-up on what I’ll be watching for next week in case you want to watch along, just head on over to the Facebook page or follow me on Twitter (both of those links are in the sidebar) where I’ll generally be posting that info later in the day.

Lawrence_of_arabia_ver3_xxlgIt rather goes without saying (not that that’s going to stop me from saying it) that David Lean’s 1962 production of Lawrence of Arabia is one of the most beautiful movies ever made. Just how beautiful it actually is is something that was recently brought home for me again thanks to a chance to see a brand new 4K restoration of the film on the big screen thanks to the Belcourt Theater here in Nashville.

Truly, this is one of only a handful of movies of which I will say if you haven’t seen it on the big screen you really haven’t seen it. Every frame is so lush, so filled with information and gorgeous imagery that it truly deserves to be seen in as large and glorious a format as possible. Sure, if you’ve never seen the movie, I encourage you to watch it however you can, but there’s really no substitute for watching it writ large and letting cinematographer F.A Young’s incredible imagery simply enfold you in its glory.

I also have to admit that watching this 4K restoration has really made me rethink a lot of the negative things that I have said in the past about the conversion of film to digital formats. Certainly, not every film that is converted to digital is going to get the painstaking loving care that this particular movie got, nor are they going to turn out as well, but when you are sitting there in a darkened theater and able to see the twinkle of sunlight off of individual grains of sand in these overpowering desert landscapes, well… it is something that just draws the viewer in even more.

This trailer was made specifically for the new restoration, but even it does not do justice to the new presentation.

Of course, all of this talk about the beauty of movie, the photography, and the restoration would be for naught if it were not in the service of such a great film, and this truly is one of the great achievements of American cinema. The story, the direction, and the performances all come together in a way that paints a picture of a man who ultimately becomes a legend, whether deep down he really wants to (or can stand to) or not.

That’s why again I say see it on the big screen if you possibly can, but even if not, see it. It truly is a classic in every sense of the word.

So what are your thoughts on Lawrence of Arabia? Is it a movie that you’ve seen or would like to? If you have seen it, is it one that would make your own Top 10 list? Or would it not even crack your Top 250? Let me know below.


2 thoughts on “Top 250 Tuesday: #082 – Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

  1. “Nothing is written?” Maybe it’s true.

    As you say, truly and inspired work – a masterpiece. Possibly the Crown Jewel of O’Toole’s career. But that would a quite a heavy crown of many jewels. And when I watch The Lion in Winter, for instance, I often wonder if this man wasn’t the greatest of them all.

    And there is surely something to be said for modern technology – if it can make THIS movie even greater.

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