History Film / LawrenceOfArabia

23rd Feb '17 7:10:20 PM CumbersomeTercel
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* AntiHero: Over the course of the film Lawrence becomes this, sliding right down the scale from straightforward hero to NominalHero or at best UnscrupulousHero.



* BigGood: Feisal to the Arab revolt.



* BornInTheWrongCentury: Feisal wishes he were alive in Medieval Cordoba.



* HeroicBastard: Lawrence.

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* HeroicBastard: Lawrence. Literally, as he's a formidable soldier whose biological parents were not married.


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* HistoricalBadassUpgrade: The film portrays the Arab Revolts successes as being almost entirely Lawrence's creation and ignores how there were other many British officers who played just as much a major role as he did in expelling the Ottomans from the Arabic speaking regions including Allenby. On top of that the film also neglected just how much of a role the Arab tribal leaders played in the role in planning military acts and commanding in the battlefield and credits all military brilliance the Arab guerrillas did to his leadership.
* HistoricalBeautyUpdate: Not that the real Lawrence was hideous or anything, but he was fairly homely especially compared to the frankly gorgeous Peter O'Toole.


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* IJustWantToBeSpecial: Larence at first but later turns into IJustWantToBeNormal.


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* InnocentBlueEyes[=/=]IcyBlueEyes: O'Toole's eyes almost seem to shift with his character. At the beginning of the film they seem to fit with his naiveté but as the film progresses they start to look much colder.


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* ItsAllAboutMe: How Lawrence sees the Arab Revolt to some extent; Faisal calls him on this right away.


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* ManipulativeBastard: Twice Lawrence returns from the desert emotionally shattered and requesting reassignment. Twice Allenby persuades Lawrence to go back.


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* UndyingLoyalty: Ali tells Lawrence that he'll stay with him even if everyone else leaves, but after the Tafas massacre he can't keep to that, admitting to being afraid of him.


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* WideEyedIdealist: Lawrence is exceedingly naive about Britain's imperial ambitions in the Middle East, the warring tribes' ability to get along, and his army's ability to hold and govern Damascus. Though there's an element of self-delusion there as well.
13th Feb '17 3:57:21 AM morenohijazo
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* BeserkerTears: Lawrence sheds these during battle as he gives in to the chaos.

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* BeserkerTears: BerserkerTears: Lawrence sheds these during battle as he gives in to the chaos.



* ConsumateLiar: Lampshaded to an extent when Dryden responds to Lawrence's outburst that "There may be honour among thieves, but there is none among polititians!" by noting, "If we've told lies, you've told half-lies. And the man who tells lies, like me, merely hides the truth. But the man who tells half-lies has forgotten where he put it."

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* ConsumateLiar: ConsummateLiar: Lampshaded to an extent when Dryden responds to Lawrence's outburst that "There may be honour among thieves, but there is none among polititians!" by noting, "If we've told lies, you've told half-lies. And the man who tells lies, like me, merely hides the truth. But the man who tells half-lies has forgotten where he put it."



* HeWillNotCrySoIWillCryForHim: Lawrence and his Arab followers have succeeded in defeating the Turks, but their own internal squabbles have doomed any attempt at forming a united post-independence government before it began, leaving Lawrence broken and disillusioned. Sherif Ali, witnessing the defeated Lawrence, begins weeping, and when confronted by Auda abu Tayi over why he weeps for a man he claims to fear rather than love, he replies, "Because if I fear him who love him, how must he fear himself who hates himself?"



* HeWillNotCrySoICryForHim: Lawrence and his Arab followers have succeeded in defeating the Turks, but their own internal squabbles have doomed any attempt at forming a united post-independence government before it began, leaving Lawrence broken and disillusioned. Sherif Ali, witnessing the defeated Lawrence, begins weeping, and when confronted by Auda abu Tayi over why he weeps for a man he claims to fear rather than love, he replies, "Because if I fear him who love him, how must he fear himself who hates himself?"



* SceneryPorn: Never has a desolate desert wasteland looked so beautiful. The film is oft-cited as reason enough ''alone'' to preserve three-strip Cinerama with wrap-around 70mm movie palace screens (and, on a somewhat related note, for {{Letterboxing}}).

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* SceneryPorn: Never has a desolate desert wasteland looked so beautiful. The film is oft-cited as reason enough ''alone'' to preserve three-strip Cinerama with wrap-around 70mm movie palace screens (and, on a somewhat related note, for {{Letterboxing}}).{{Letterbox}}ing).
28th Jan '17 4:43:18 PM CumbersomeTercel
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* BeserkerTears: Lawrence sheds these during battle as he gives in to the chaos.


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* ColonelBadass: Lawrence is a Lieutenant Colonel.


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* CunningLinguist: Lawrence learned Arabic during archaeological digs in the Levant before the Great War, and apparently went native to some extent.


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* HeWillNotCrySoIWillCryForHim: Lawrence and his Arab followers have succeeded in defeating the Turks, but their own internal squabbles have doomed any attempt at forming a united post-independence government before it began, leaving Lawrence broken and disillusioned. Sherif Ali, witnessing the defeated Lawrence, begins weeping, and when confronted by Auda abu Tayi over why he weeps for a man he claims to fear rather than love, he replies, "Because if I fear him who love him, how must he fear himself who hates himself?"


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* ImpassableDesert: Invoked with the Nefud. "It cannot be crossed!" Yes, it can.


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* KillTheCutie: The sprightly teenage orphans Daud and Farraj accompany Lawrence in his adventures, only for Daud to be lost to [[QuicksandSucks quicksand]], and Farraj is mortally wounded by enemy fire and [[MercyKill mercy-killed]] by Lawrence.


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* RaceLift: Prince Feisal is played by the White British Sir Alec Guinness.
28th Jan '17 3:37:52 PM CumbersomeTercel
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* AndStarring: The opening credits have "and Donald Wolfit, With Omar Sharif as Ali," and "Introducing Peter O'Toole as T.E. Lawrence". The film cemented the international reputation of the previously little-known Sharif (famous in the Middle East but not elsewhere) and O'Toole (previously a stage actor first and foremost). Wolfit, meanwhile, was an established actor (and mentor to O'Toole) but had only a minor role in the film.



* ArchEnemy: General George Allenby, the Turkish Bey, and Mr. Dryden to T.E. Lawrence.



* AtLeastIAdmitIt: Dryden chides Lawrence for expressing disgust at the Sykes-Picot Treaty, which divides the post-war Middle East between Britain and France:
-->"If we've told lies, you've told half-lies. And the man who tells lies, like me, merely hides the truth. But the man who tells half-lies has forgotten where he's put it."



* BadassBureaucrat: Lawrence starts off as this.



* BedouinRescueService: Subverted, in that Sherif Ali kills Lawrence's guide but offers to bring Lawrence to Prince Feisal so he will not be lost in the desert. And then Lawrence refuses, getting himself safely to Wadi Safra and the Prince.



* BlasphemousBoast:

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* BlasphemousBoast:BladeReflection: Lawrence uses his dagger blade as an impromptu mirror to check out how he looks in his snazzy new white robes. This was Peter O'Toole's idea.
* BlasphemousBoast:.



* BookEnds: The film begins with Lawrence's death in a reckless motorcycle accident. The rest of the film, which is told in flashback, ends with Lawrence being driven along a road in a jeep, while a man on a motorcycle speeds by and recklessly passes him.



* TheChessmaster: Faisal and Allenby.

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* TheChessmaster: Faisal Allenby and Allenby.Feisal spend as much time plotting against each other as fighting the Turks.



* ConsumateLiar: Lampshaded to an extent when Dryden responds to Lawrence's outburst that "There may be honour among thieves, but there is none among polititians!" by noting, "If we've told lies, you've told half-lies. And the man who tells lies, like me, merely hides the truth. But the man who tells half-lies has forgotten where he put it."



* CrazyEnoughToWork: Lawrence invokes this when planning his raid on Aqaba.
-->"If fifty men rode out of the Nefoud, they would be fifty men other men might join."



* CrossingTheDesert: Happens at least once, naturally, first when joining Prince Faisal with the guide, then crossing the Nefud with the rest of Faisal's squad, then going back in Nefud to find his lost servant. Also doubles as a ThirstyDesert.



* DeadHatShot: The goggles hanging from the bush early on, signifying Lawrence's death in the motorcycle accident.

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* DeadHatShot: The goggles hanging from the bush early on, signifying Lawrence's death in the motorcycle accident.DarkIsNotEvil: Sheriff Ali wears black robes to contrast our hero's white robes and khaki uniforms, but he's a loyal friend.



* DeathFromAbove: Lawrence and Ali witness this from afar.
-->'''Ali''': God pity the men under those guns.
-->'''Lawrence''': They're Turks.
-->'''Ali''': Even so, God pity them.
* DeadHatShot: The goggles hanging from the bush early on, signifying Lawrence's death in the motorcycle accident.
* DepravedHomosexual: Lawrence is arrested by a Turkish general who picks him from a line-up of other young men. He immediately starts pawing Lawrence and remarking on his attractive face, skin and eyes. Lawrence realizes what's going on and kicks the general in the groin, after which Lawrence is brutally beaten as the Bey watches. This scene corresponds to a chapter of the real Lawrence's memoir ''Seven Pillars of Wisdom'', where he explicitly recounts being gang raped. Lawrence himself was gay and that's abundantly clear in the book, but this scene was the only one the filmmakers chose to include... so it definitely fits the trope.



* DontSaySuchStupidThings: There is an interesting version of the trope. "All right, all right, I am exceptional."



* EternalSexualFreedom: Subverted. Lawrence is ashamed that he's a bastard (his father didn't marry his mother) and tries to conceal it, and his Arab friend is clearly initially uncomfortable with it.



* FloweryInsults: A spare but pointy exchange:
-->'''Auda abu Tayi''': Harith! Ali, does your father still steal?
-->'''Sherif Ali''': No. Does Auda take me for one of his own bastards?
-->'''Auda abu Tayi''': No, there is no resemblance. Alas, you resemble your father.
-->'''Sherif Ali''': Auda flatters me.
-->'''Auda abu Tayi''': You're easily flattered. I knew your father well.
-->'''Sherif Ali''': Did you know your own?



* FutileHandReach: Lawrence does this towards one of his companions, who just sank into quicksand.



* GenreDeconstruction: The film is often cited as the archetypal EpicMovie, even though it largely subverts the genre's conventions. The hero isn't an upright, masculine strongman but a neurotic, AmbiguouslyGay genius; there's no love interest (unless you count Sherif Ali); the elements (namely the desert), and the hero's own commanding officers, are more of an obstacle than the enemy; the Arabs have their own ambitions which often run counter to Lawrence's. Even the battle scenes are marginalized, David Lean preferring SceneryPorn over bloodshed. It culminates in a DownerEnding where the protagonist gives in to mindless killing, the Arabs collapse, the British take over, and Lawrence can't even claim a moral victory).



* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: The film's treatment of General Edmund Allenby drew considerable criticism. The real Allenby was a skilled general who was friendly with Lawrence and much more sympathetic to the Arabs than the film suggests. For instance, he served as Egypt's High Commissioner in the early '20s and threatened to resign if London didn't grant Egypt independence. In the movie he's equal parts ArmchairMilitary and ManipulativeBastard who hides behind his military duties to excuse his actions. Creator/RobertBolt wrote that he respected Allenby and tried to make him a sympathetic character, but it's not really evident in the finished movie.
* HitAndRunTactics: This is how the Turks are fought.
-->'''Lawrence''': "We can cross Arabia while Johnny Turk is still turning around. I'll smash his railways. And while he's fixing them I'll smash them somewhere else."



* JudgmentOfSolomon: An Arab warrior from one tribe murders one from another. For the murderer not to be executed would shame the wronged tribe; For the wronged tribe to execute the murderer would simply escalate the CycleOfRevenge. To fend off the dispute, Lawrence, to his distaste, personally carries out the execution because he has no local connections and therefore no one can take offense.



* LeaveTheCameraRunning: The film features many long shots of majestic landscapes set to soaring music. It's been said you can tell a person's age by whether they're enthralled or bored out of their mind.
* LifeWillKillYou: After all his dangerous adventures, Lawrence dies in a road accident on his motorcycle. At the beginning of the film, no less. However, this was a DeadlyDistantFinale, occurring many years after he retired.



* MachoMasochism: Less flashy example when Lawrence pinches out a burning match.
-->"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts. "



* MaleGaze: This film is a rare instance of it being exclusively directed on other men. For instance the scene where Ali walks into the tent has a long slow pan up his body from Lawrence's point of view. This is a shot normally used to indicate that the character in question is a love interest (in his essay on the film MartinScorsese pointed out that in FilmNoir the FemmeFatale is often introduced like this). [[HomoeroticSubtext Make of that what you will]]. Also the scene where Lawrence is stripped and beaten by the Turkish soldiers has a lot of lingering shots of half naked Peter O'Toole.

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* MajorlyAwesome: Lawrence is promoted from lieutenant to major in charge of leading the Arab guerilla forces against the Turks after successfully taking Turkish-held Aqaba
* MaleGaze: This film is a rare instance of it being exclusively directed on other men. For instance the scene where Ali walks into the tent has a long slow pan up his body from Lawrence's point of view. This is a shot normally used to indicate that the character in question is a love interest (in his essay on the film MartinScorsese Creator/MartinScorsese pointed out that in FilmNoir the FemmeFatale is often introduced like this). [[HomoeroticSubtext Make of that what you will]]. Also the scene where Lawrence is stripped and beaten by the Turkish soldiers has a lot of lingering shots of half naked Peter O'Toole.O'Toole.
* ManInWhite: When Lawrence starts GoingNative, he begins wearing a white robe and keffiyeh in the Bedouin style.



* MissionBriefing: Played with. Some scenes are played straight, like Lawrence's first scene with General Murray and Mr. Dryden ("What is the job?" "Find Prince Feisal."). Others are used more to develop Lawrence's character than to advance the plot, like his first meeting with General Allenby, where they spend a minute or so discussing strategy and the rest of the scene discussing the campaign's effect on Lawrence.



* MurderIsTheBestSolution: Lawrence has to execute an Arab who murdered a member of another tribe, in order to avoid an all-out war among the Arabs.
* NiceHat: Lawrence's turban. At one point, General Allenby is fascinated enough by it to consider trying it on, but then relents, saying it looks better on Lawrence.



* NonAnswer: Lampshaded:
--> '''Jackson Bentley:''' You gonna be a democracy in this country? You gonna have a parliament?\\
'''Sherif Ali:''' I will tell you that when I have a country. [Brief pause] Did I answer well?\\
'''Jackson Bentley:''' You answered without saying anything. That's politics.
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent:
** Sir Creator/AlecGuinness as the Arab Prince Feisal.
** In the DVD making of documentary it stated he was actually copying co-star Omar Sharif's real refined Egyptian accent.[[note]]The reason the accent sounds so British is that Egyptians of Sharif's class and generation typically learned English quite young at British schools. Sharif himself, being the scion of a well-to-do family, attended Victoria College, Alexandria, which was expressly intended to be a sort of [[UsefulNotes/BritishEducationSystem Eton]] of the Middle East and was staffed by British teachers.[[/note]]
** Anthony Quinn and Jose Ferrer play their characters (Arab and Turkish, respectively) with their natural, Hispanic-inflected[[note]] Quinn being Mexican-Irish, Ferrer Puerto Rican[[/note]] voices, yet rarely draw the same comments as Guinness. Possibly a case of AsLongAsItSoundsForeign?



* OnelinerNameOneliner: Mr. Bentley to Dryden at some point: "Walk away, Dryden, walk away."

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* OnelinerNameOneliner: OccupiersOutOfOurCountry: The Arabs want to not be ruled over by Turks anymore. As Lawrence puts it:
-->'''Bentley''': What, in your opinion, do these people hope to gain from this war?\\
'''Lawrence''': They hope to gain their freedom.\\
'''Bentley''': ''[blank stare]''\\
'''Lawrence''': Freedom.\\
'''Bentley''': "They hope to gain their freedom." [[GenreSavvy There's one born every minute.]]\\
'''Lawrence''': They're going to get it, Mr. Bentley. I'm going to give it to them.
** It doesn't work out, of course. The British and French imperialists [[SarcasmMode shockingly]] renege on their promises to the Arabs and the Arabs themselves [[WeAREStrugglingTogether ultimately fail to overcome their tribal differences]]. By the end of the movie, [[FullCircleRevolution the Arabs have simply traded their old Turkish overlords for new British and French ones]].
* OneLinerNameOneliner:
Mr. Bentley to Dryden at some point: "Walk away, Dryden, walk away.""
* OneWomanWail:
** Appears in-universe and to chilling effect (though there was more than one woman performing it) while the Harif army is setting out to cross the Nefud and attack Al-aquaba. The shot from the top of the cliff with the mourning women drowning out the stirring battle songs from below.
** It's called "ululation", which is different from a wail and could also be interpreted as the women giving the men an encouraging send off.
** That's what it is when Native American women do it (well, that and to scare the enemy). Lakotah holy man Black Elk refers to it as the "tremolo". It's also a way of showing respect or honor and is done in many other world cultures.



* {{Prelap}}: The sound of a train whistle is heard over the end of the previous scene. The UrExample and TropeMaker.



* ProphecyTwist: Gasim gets lost in the desert. The Arab army refuses to go after him because "it is written", at which point Lawrence says "Nothing is written" and goes into the desert alone to rescue him. A few days later, Gasim kills a man from another tribe and Lawrence is forced to execute him to prevent a feud. The head of the tribe asks why Lawrence looks so distraught. When someone mentions Lawrence had saved Gasim's life just days earlier, he nods and says, "So it was written, then."



* ReassignedToAntarctica: The Turkish Bey utters the line, "Two years I have been posted to Dera. If I had been stationed on the dark side of the moon I could not have been more isolated."



* SaharanShipwreck: Lawrence is dumbfounded to see a ship sailing through the Sinai desert. It actually means he's reached the Suez Canal and safety. The funny thing about this is that ancient versions of the Suez Canal have been constructed and reclaimed by the desert before, in ancient human history. If the Suez Canal of today were to be abandoned, it would eventually sand in.



* SlidingScaleOfFreeWillVsFate: Lawrence's batman disappears in the desert. The bedouin refuse to try to save him because "it is written" (and because a bedouin would know well enough to be afraid of the desert). Lawrence rides off claiming, "nothing is written" and comes back in a few hours with his batman. However it is ultimately revealed that it really was written, given that Lawrence ultimately has to execute the batman.
* SlidingScaleOfGenderInequality: Famously used as an example why failing TheBechdelTest doesn't automatically makes a movie misogynistic since it takes place during a military campaign during UsefulNotes/WorldWarI.
* SociopathicSoldier: Lawrence grows closer and closer to this trope as the movie goes on, finally culminating in the massacre at Tafas.
* SoldiersAtTheRear: Lawrence begins the film like this.



* StabTheSky: The DVD cover art, sometimes referred to as a [[http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51g0hbHcA2L.jpg "plane-swatter"]].



* StiffUpperLip: General Allenby qualifies, especially when Damascus dissolves into chaos late in the film:
-->'''Brighton''': Look, sir, we can't just do nothing.
-->'''Allenby''': Why not? It's usually best.



* ATasteOfTheLash: Lawrence is flogged by the Turkish officer when captured.
* TastesLikeFriendship: Lawrence gives his gun to his guide who answers by giving him some of his food. Lawrence tries to not let his horror show when he tastes it (but fails completely).



* TransitionTrack: Used when the scene cuts from the banks of the Suez Canal to a busy street in downtown Cairo.
* TranslationConvention:
** This happens pretty liberally when Lawrence (and some other characters) switches pretty seamlessly between English and Arabic (and maybe Turkish). Some Arab actors are actually dubbed into English, despite their characters quite likely speaking Arabic.
** Interesting side note: In real life, Lawrence had to serve as a translator between General Allenby and Prince Faisal. This was especially awkward for Lawrence, since it meant he had to be the one to inform Faisal that the British weren't going to honor their commitment to an independent Arabia. Needless to say, the film has Allenby and Faisal speaking English to each other with no need for a translator.
* VerbalBusinessCard:
-->'''Auda''': I am Auda Abu Tayi, does Auda serve?
-->'''Lawrence''': Lawrence. I've been seconded to the Arab Bureau.
* WalkOnWater: Alluded to. Ali tells Lawrence that instead of wanting the Arabs to do reasonable things, he wants them to walk on water. Later in Deraa, Lawrence walks across a puddle and laughs.



* WarriorPrince: Ali is great for this. He was a perfect Hollywood version of a romanticised Bedouin warrior-prince, being dignified, honourable, and quite badass.



* WarriorPrince: Ali.


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* WhoAreYou: Far too many times to count. Once even before the film transitions into the extended flashback that makes up the vast majority of it.


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* TheWisePrince: Feisal.


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* YoureInsane: When Lawrence suggests a rather foolhardy course of action, Ali's response is "you are mad!"
19th Jan '17 2:03:12 PM JulianLapostat
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* MissionCreep: Lawrence's overall mission is to recruit the tribes to fight against the Ottoman Turks. To achieve this mission, he decides to help feuding and warring tribes get together to fight for a bigger cause, accidentally helping Prince Feisal to trigger Arab nationalism with promises to help them independence, neither of which was ever in his ability to promise and deliver, and in the case of independence, never something [[ILied the English, and the French, were going to give the Arabs anyway]]. This realization that he had overreached and extended his abilities and directive makes Lawrence increasingly reckless and self-destructive near the end.
8th Jan '17 2:26:20 AM DeepRed
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* UsefulNotes/WarriorsOfDesertWinds: An early example, before it formally organised.
23rd Dec '16 6:13:58 PM LarryMullen
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* CaliforniaDoubling: David Lean originally wanted to shoot the entire movie in Jordan, which is located in the same region where it takes place. Although the Jordanian government was very helpful, this proved to be impractical. Much of the desert scenes were filmed in Jordan, but ultimately most of the movie was filmed in Spain. With its abundance of Moorish architecture, Seville plays the part of basically every Middle Eastern city in the movie. Desert scenes were also filmed in Morocco and, yes, California.
19th Oct '16 1:54:54 PM Nopperabo
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* TheRevolutionWillNotBeBureaucratized: The Arab National Council that forms after the occupation of Damascus exemplifies this trope. The tribesmen who fought alongside Lawrence have no experience with technology, urban administration, or modern politics, and soon found themselves unable to oversee a modern city.
10th Oct '16 2:12:23 PM eroock
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* DayForNight: It's obvious by the shadows cast in the sand that all nightly desert scenes were shot during day time.


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* HollywoodDarkness: It's obvious by the shadows cast in the sand that all nightly desert scenes were shot during day time.
10th Oct '16 2:10:22 PM eroock
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* DeadHatShot: The goggles hanging in the bush early on, signifying the hero's death in the accident.

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* DeadHatShot: The goggles hanging in from the bush early on, signifying the hero's Lawrence's death in the motorcycle accident.
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