In BristolNews

Lawrence of Arabia - one of the screen's grandest epics and, for many, one of the top ten films of all time, will be screened on Bristol’s biggest cinema screen on Thursday 12 May, marking the end of a year-long programme celebrating Bristol’s film-making past, present and future. The venue is the former Bristol IMAX cinema, which hasn’t hosted regular film screenings in more than a decade. The former Bristol IMAX originally opened in 2000 as a feature of Wildwalk (part of the At-Bristol science centre – founded by Bristol Ideas when it was Bristol Cultural Development Partnership) and is now used as an occasional events space by the Bristol Aquarium. The large auditorium still retains the impressive 19m x 15m screen.

Lawrence of Arabia recounts the true-life experiences of T E Lawrence. A young, idealistic British officer in the First World War, Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) is assigned to the camp of Prince Feisal (Alec Guinness), an Arab tribal chieftain and leader in a revolt against the Turks. In a series of brilliant tactical manoeuvres, Lawrence leads 50 of Feisal's men in a tortuous three-week crossing of the Nefud Desert to attack the strategic Turkish-held port of Aqaba. And following his successful raids against Turkish troops and trains, Lawrence’s triumphant leadership and unyielding courage gain him nearly god-like status among his Arab brothers.

With Oscar®-winning cinematography (the film was awarded seven Oscars® including Best Picture and Best Director), magnificent locations, Maurice Jarre’s famed score and a screenplay based on Lawrence’s own writings in Seven Pillars of Wisdom, David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia is a masterpiece.

Over the years the film was heavily cut. Following reconstruction in 1988 Lean and original editor Anne V Coates created a director’s cut. Bristol Ideas are showing this version, digitally restored by Sony Pictures Entertainment, as it was meant to be seen, and on the biggest screen in Bristol. The film will be screened in its original roadshow format, with an overture, intermission, entr’acte and exit music.

‘We could think of no better way of closing our Film 2021 project than by bringing this masterpiece of British cinema to Bristol’s biggest cinema screen. We’re also showing this film as a tribute to Kevin Jackson, who died last year. His book Lawrence of Arabia (BFI Film Classics) is highly recommended. We are running a season of films throughout the year inspired by Jackson’s book Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism and All That Jazz.’ Andrew Kelly, Director, Bristol Ideas

This screening is the culmination of Film 2021, a project which marks the centenary of the death of Bristol-born film pioneer William Friese-Greene and the 125th anniversary of the first public cinema screening in Bristol, which took place at the Tivoli on 8 June 1896, as well as celebrating Bristol – a UNESCO City of Film since 2017. It is generously funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Lawrence of Arabia is being screened in partnership with the Forbidden Worlds Film Festival, a three-day event dedicated to genre cinema in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the beloved film library, cinema and video shop 20th Century Flicks.

Lawrence of Arabia will be shown at 18:30 on Thursday 12 May at the former Bristol IMAX Cinema, Bristol Aquarium. For more information and tickets visit

Follow Film 2021 on Twitter using the hashtag #BristolFilm2021 and on the Facebook page




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