When I saw Lawrence of Arabia the other day, I looked at some of the scenes, I mean twenty-seven years old or whatever it was, and I thought, "That's bloody good." David Lean, 1990.


Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

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The story opens with the death of Thomas Edward Lawrence in a motorcycle crash. When a reporter asks questions at the memorial service at St. Paul's a flashback to the desert campaigns of the legendary figure begins. In 1916, Lawrence is a disgruntled young lieutenant with the British H.Q. staff in Cairo. Discontent with a desk job, he persuades Mr. Dryden of the Arab Bureau to let him seek out the Bedoin Chief, Prince Feisal, to check on the progress of the Arab Revolt. Lawrence suggest the possibility of helping Feisal unite the Arab tribes against their common enemy, the Turks, with whom the British are also at war.


Having received permission to try, Lawrence journeys to the desert. There his first encounter with tribal rivalries occurs when Sherif Ali, who is later to become one of Lawrence's strongest allies, shoots Lawrence's guide for drinking from a water-hole which belongs to Ali. With the help of Ali, Prince Feisal is convinced into allowing his own guerilla army to cooperate with the British.


Lawrence soon becomes a charismatic Leader to the Arab hordes. Sustaining the independent spirit of the Arab revolt, Lawrence leads a miraculous crossing of the Nefud Desert, making it Possible to capture the Turkish port of Aqaba. His is triumphantly proclaimed "El Aurens" by the Victorious Arab Warriors.


However, when Lawrence and Ali go on a scouting expedition into Deraa, which the Turks are holding, Lawrence is captured by the Turks, tortured and then released. This incident breaks the illusion of invincibility which Lawrence has of himself and which the hero-worship of the Arab tribes has created. Again he is tempted to resign his command, but once again Allency sends him back to the desert.


Once more too, Lawrence becomes caught in tha aura of killing and cannot stop himself from leding the brutal massacre of a Turkish column. Having arrived in Damascus, the Arabs establish an Arab Council, which falls apart because of tribal divisions. After having chapioned Arab nationalism and having led the Arabs to victory in order to gain thier political independence from the British, Lawrence becomes dissilusioned when he discovers that the Arabs are being used by his own countrymen in various political maneuvers in the Middle East. He returns to England a hollow individual to let Feisal and Allenby come to terms.