Film Misery Movie Marathon – David Lean

Every time February rolls around people ritualistically turn their attention towards the Academy Awards. It only seemed appropriate to dedicate the next marathon at Film Misery to an Academy favorite, a director who is tied for the third most Best Director nominations of all-time – Sir David Lean. Not only has Lean been nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards seven times, but he has also had six films get nominated for Best Picture, and two of them take home that top prize. He is best known for sweeping epics like Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Dr. Zhivago, but he actually has sixteen films to his directing credit.

The British Film Institute ranks 4 of David Lean’s films in their top 11 greatest films of all-time and his films Brief Encounter and Lawrence of Arabia are ranked at number 2 and 3, ahead of any film by Hitchcock, Powell & Pressburger, Laurence Olivier, or Danny Boyle. He is one of only three non-Americans to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute and he has two films in the most recent edition of the AFI Top 100. He was worked with legendary actors and guided many of them to Oscar nominations and wins and he has had undeniable influence on the film industry.

For the next several weeks at Film Misery we will be diving into the works of this cinematic master. Look for reviews of his films, discussion of his styles and technique, trivia, lists, and more. Some of the particular films we will be examining include:

  • Brief Encounter (1945)
  • Great Expectations (1946)
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  • Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • Dr. Zhivago (1965)
  • A Passage to India (1984)

Join in by stocking up your Netflix queue and preparing to enjoy the British wit of David Lean. Start things off by sharing your favorite of his films in the comments.

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  • Andrew R.

    Great director outside of the very overrated Great Expectations.

  • I’ve only seen Brief Encounter, but I liked it very much. I own Lawrence of Arabia and I will get around to watching it soon, I hope.

  • “Lawrence of Arabia”: terrific film (and Peter O’Toole’s best performance), but like most films of that length… it could have used a little editing.

    My only other Lean experience was “The Bridge on the River Kwai”, which I saw when I was like 8. I recall being a huge fan of POW movies back then (still am), and being very disappointed in the film after finding it nothing like “The Great Escape” or “Stalag 17”. I suspect my opinion would be very different now, and I really need to see the film again.

    “Brief Encounter” and “Dr. Zhivago” are both on my to-see list, since I’m pretty sure they’re available through Netflix instant streaming (not sure about the latter, but I think it is).

    Should be fun!

  • I loved Lawrence of Arabia and I really liked Bridge on the River Kwai, although my favorite movie of 1957 would be 12 Angry Men.

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