Lawrence of Arabia is a 1962 epic historical drama movie based on the life of T.E. Lawrence. The movie was directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel through his British company Horizon Pictures, with the screenplay done by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. It’s considered to be one of the greatest and most influential movies in the history of the cinema. Take a look below for 26 more fun and fascinating facts about the Lawrence of Arabia.
1. Almost all of the movement in the movie goes from left to right. David Lean said that he did this to emphasize that the movie was a journey.
2. The movie was banned in many Arab countries as people felt that they were misrepresented. Omar Sharif arranged a meeting with President Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt to show him that there was nothing wrong with the way that they were portrayed. Nasser loved the movie and allowed it to be released in Egypt, where it became very successful.
3. King Hussein of Jordan lent an entire brigade of his Arab Legion as extras for the movie, so most of the soldiers are played by actual soldiers.
4. Hussein visited the set often and fell for a young British secretary named Antoinette Gardiner, who became his second wife in 1962.
5. Alec Guinness was made to look like the real Faisal as close as possible. In fact, when they were shooting in Jordan, several people mistook him for the real thing.
6. Peter O’Toole claimed that he learned more about acting from his few days filming with Jose Ferrer than he did in all of his years at drama school.
7. To film Omar Sharif’s entrance through a mirage, Freddie Young used a special 482 millimeter lens from Panavision. Panavision still has this lens and it’s now known as the David Lean lens.
8. Peter O’Toole claimed that he never saw the completed movies until nearly two decades after its release.
9. Costume designer Phyllis Dalton made Peter O’Toole’s army outfit too small on purpose, to signify T.E. Lawrence’s discomfort with the military uniform.
10. Even though the movie is 227 minutes long, it has no women in speaking roles. It’s reportedly the longest movies with no dialogue spoken by a woman.
11. David Lean didn’t see his first royalty check for the movie until 1978.
12. The movies missed out on a eleventh Oscar nomination, for Best Costume Design, because someone forgot to submit Phyllis Dalton’s name for consideration.
13. On his first location scouting trip in Jordan, David Lean found the remains of Turkish locomotives and railroad tracks that Lawrence had destroyed during the Arab Revolution. After spending 40 years in the sun, they still haven’t rusted.
14. When they were filming in Jordan, all the water for the production was brought in by truck from the nearest well, which was 150 miles away.
15. T.E. Lawrence’s rescue of the lost Gasim actually did happen. However, in the movie, Lawrence is hailed for his heroism, while in reality, he was ridiculed and chided for what was seen as a waste of effort.
16. The town of Aqaba was recreated in a dried river bed in southern Spain and it consisted of over 300 buildings.
17. David Lean personally supervised the first cuts that brought the movie down to 3 hours, as he wanted it to have more showings per day. However, during the 1989 restoration, he passed the blame for the cuts onto the then deceased Sam Spiegel.
18. Steven Spielberg estimated that to make the movie today would cost about $285 million.
19. T.E. Lawrence’s brother, A.E. Lawrence, who was also the executor of his will, didn’t like the movie’s representation of his brother so he didn’t allow them to use his brothers autobiography title “Seven Pillars of Wisdom.”
20. The Jackson Bentley character is based on the real life journalist and travel expert Lowell Thomas, whose writings first brought Lawrence to public attention.
21. David Lean never saw any dailies while filming and he only missed one day of work.
22. Anthony Quayle thought that the character Colonel Brighton was an idiot but David Lean told him that Brighton was the only honorable character in the movie.
23. The movie spent 2 year sin pre-production before 14 months of shooting in locations like Jordan, Spain and Morocco.
24. Albert Finney’s screen tests in Arab costume as T.E. Lawrence are the most requested viewing item in Britain’s National Film Archive.
25. The Allenby family filed a formal complaint against Columbia about the portrayal of their ancestor. The descendants of Auda abu Tayi and the real Sharif even sued the studio. However, the case dragged on for 10 years before being dropped.
26. Alec Guinness said in interviews that he developed his Arab accent from a conversation that he had with Omar Sharif.