- Awards: "Lawrence of Arabia" won
Oscars for Best Film, Best Direction, Best Music (Original Score), Best
Cinematography (color), Best Art Direction (color), Best Sound, and
Best Editing. The screenplay, Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif were
also nominated but the actors lost out that year to Gregory Peck in "To
Kill a Mockingbird" and Ed Begley in "Sweet Bird of Youth". The
screenplay, however, along with Peter O'Toole and the film itself,
were honored by the British Film Academy at the presentation of its
- The film cost $15million in 1962.
- The real T.E. Lawrence was actually riding
from the Bovington Army Camp to his cottage in Cloud Hill when his
tragic accident occurred. The scenes where Lawrence was tortured and
assaulted by the Turks was actually from the book "The Seven Pillars of
Wisdom," the supplementary material of "Revolt in The Desert." Due to
the humiliation which he suffered, Lawrence refused to publish "The
Seven Pillars," his life's work, but did publish it exclusively for 120
people only. The 120 people who read the book were delighted with it,
and the book was published sometime after Lawrence died.
- The character of Jackson Bentley is based
on the real-life journalist and travel expert Lowell Thomas, whose
writings first brought Lawrence to public attention.
- Director David Lean originally wanted Albert
Finney for the title role. Katharine Hepburn urged producer Sam Spiegel
to cast Peter O'Toole
- The role of Sherif Ali was originally
intended for Horst Buchholz but he was forced to turn it down owing to
his commitment to Billy Wilder's movie "One, Two, Three". Second choice
Alain Delon tested successfully but suffered problems with the brown
contact lenses required for the role. Maurice Ronet was then cast but
was replaced after difficulties with his French accent and his Arab
dress (Lean complained "He looked like me walking around in drag").
- Marlon Brando was signed for the role of
Lawrence in 1960 but dropped out to take the role of Fletcher Christian
in "Mutiny on the Bounty." After that, 'Anthony Perkins' was also
- Alec Guinness had a life-long
interest in T.E. Lawrence, and had played him in a production of
Terence Rattigan's play "Ross" on stage. Guinness wanted very much to
play Lawrence, but David
Lean and Sam
Spiegel both told him he was too old. Laurence Olivier was the
original choice for Prince Feisal, and Guinness was shifted to that
role when Olivier turned it down.
- Cary Grant was Sam Spiegel's first choice for
General Allenby, but David
Lean convinced him to cast Jack Hawkins due to his work for them
on "The Bridge on the River Kwai".
- While filming, Peter O'Toole referred to co-star Omar Sharif as
"Fred," stating that "no one in the world is called Omar Sharif. Your
name must be Fred."
- Almost all movement in the film goes from
left to right. David
Lean said he did this to emphasize that the film was a journey.
- To film Omar Sharif's entrance through a
mirage, Freddie Young used a special 482mm lens from Panavision.
Panavision still has this lens, and it is known among cinematographers
as the "David Lean lens".
- David Lean never saw any dailies
while filming. He only missed one day of work, though the production
endured many illnesses.
- During an appearance on "The Tonight Show
Starring Johnny Carson" in the 1970s, Peter O'Toole was describing just
how long the movie took to make by referring to the scene when Lawrence
and Gen. Allenby, after their meeting, continue talking while walking
down a staircase. According to O'Toole, part of the scene had to be
reshot much later, "so in the final print, when I get to the bottom of
the stairs, I'm a year older than I was when I started walking down
- The movie was shot partly on location in
Jordan, where temperatures often soared beyond thermometer readings.
The actual city of Aqaba had become so modern that using it was
impossible, so a duplicate was built along the sea at Seville in Spain
- where Damascus, Cairo, and Jerusalem were also constructed. The
slaughter of the Turks was filmed in Morocco.
- Peter O'Toole finally mastered his
camel-riding technique by adding a layer of sponge rubber under the
saddle to ease his bruised backside...a practical innovation quickly
adopted by the actual Bedouin tribesmen acting as extras during the
desert location filming.
- King Hussein of Jordan lent an entire
brigade of his Arab Legion as extras for the film, so most of the
"soldiers" are played by real soldiers. Hussein frequently visited the
sets and became enamored of a young British secretary, Antoinette
Gardiner, who became his second wife in 1962. Their oldest son,
Abdullah II, became King of Jordan in 1999.
- Toni Gardiner was a switchboard operator
for the production unit. During the movie's production, she was courted
by, and then married, King Hussein of Jordan, and went on to become the
mother of King Abdullah of Jordan. Thus, the production of "Lawrence of
Arabia" in Jordan, where T.E. Lawrence actually "worked", affected the
post-1962 history of Jordan.
- Peter O'Toole is considerably taller
and better looking than the real Lawrence (6'3" to Lawrence's real life
height of 5'6"). Noel Coward is rumored to have said, on seeing the
premiere, "If he'd been any prettier, they'd have had to call it
Florence of Arabia."
- Gen. Murray's line about the Arab revolt
being "a sideshow of a sideshow" was actually spoken in real life by
T.E. Lawrence himself, several years after the war.
- The 35mm master interpositive produced by
Technicolor in 1966 had reel 2A flipped so that left and right became
reversed on screen in all prints, including initial video releases.
During the Harris restoration, David Lean himself pointed out this
error and it was corrected.
- For the 1989 reconstruction and
restoration, many scenes of dialog were missing. As a result Peter O'Toole and a
number of living principals returned and re-recorded dialog from more
than 20 years previously. For principals who had died in the
intervening years sound alike actors were employed (for instance for