Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO (16 August 1888 — 19 May 1935), known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18. The breadth and variety of his activities and associations, and his ability to describe them vividly in writing, earned him international fame as Lawrence of Arabia, a title which was used for the 1962 film based on his World War I activities.
Lawrence was born illegitimate in Tremadog, Wales, in August 1888 to Sir Thomas Chapman and Sarah Junner, a governess who was herself illegitimate. Chapman had left his wife and first family in Ireland to live with Sarah Junner, and they called themselves Mr and Mrs Lawrence. In the summer of 1896 the Lawrences moved to Oxford, where in 1907–10 young Lawrence studied history at Jesus College, graduating with First Class Honours. He became a practising archaeologist in the Middle East, working at various excavations with David George Hogarth and Leonard Woolley. In 1908 he joined the OUOTC (Oxford University Officer Training Corps), undergoing a two-year training course. In January 1914, before the outbreak of World War I, Lawrence was co-opted by the British Army to undertake a military survey of the Negev Desert while doing archaeological research.
Lawrence's public image was due in part to the sensationalised reportage of the revolt by an American journalist, Lowell Thomas, as well as to Lawrence's autobiographical account, Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1922).
Lawrence of Arabia is a 1962 British epic film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence. It was directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel through his British company, Horizon Pictures, with the screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. The film stars Peter O'Toole in the title role. It is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential films in the history of cinema. The dramatic score by Maurice Jarre and the Super Panavision 70 cinematography by Freddie Young are also highly acclaimed.
The film depicts Lawrence's experiences in Arabia during World War I, in particular his attacks on Aqaba and Damascus and his involvement in the Arab National Council. Its themes include Lawrence's emotional struggles with the personal violence inherent in war, his personal identity, and his divided allegiance between his native Britain and its army and his newfound comrades within the Arabian desert tribes.
Among my personal cinematic & musical favorites. Then there were O'Toole & Sharif in the same movie captured in all their youthful beauty & vigor. Lawrence--the real guy--became an early hero of mine. Little did I realize then what an imperialist operative & romantic fascist he actually was. I didn't care. TEL was quite a guy. A man of action & of literature. A friend to poet & novelist Robert Graves. As well as on intimate terms with socialist George Bernard Shaw & his wife. The Middle Eastern Campaign & Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks during the First World War was popularly thought at the time to be a sideshow compared to the trench warfare on the European continent. However, looking back it was the war between the UK, France, Italy, the US & other allies on the one hand versus Imperial Germany & the Austro-Hungarian Empire that has over time proven more of a sideshow compared to the quest for oil, wealth & power in the Middle East. Ironic, isn't it?
Maurice Jarre conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in "Lawrence Of Arabia" - A musical tribute to Sir David Lean, 1992.