Lawrence of Arabia
Based on the writings of T. E. Lawrence adapted by Robert Bolt and directed by David Lean, T. E. Lawrence leads the Arab tribes in the Allied war effort against the Turks in World War I.
T. E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) prepares his motorcycle and rides it on a country road. He speeds up, tries to avoid two bicycles, and crashes.
At his funeral Col. Brighton (Anthony Quayle) says he was the most extraordinary man he ever knew. General Allenby (Jack Hawkins) says the revolt in the desert was important in the Mideast campaign. The reporter Jackson Bentley (Arthur Kennedy) says he was a poet, a scholar, a mighty warrior, and a shameless exhibitionist. General Murray (Donald Wolfit) says he had a minor function on his staff in Cairo.
Lawrence is working on a map of Arabia and complains about the little room they are working in. He is brought a newspaper and finds an article on an attack by Bedouin tribes on a Turkish stronghold. He lights the man’s cigarette and puts out the match with his fingers. The other man tries it and says it hurts. Lawrence says the trick is to not mind that it hurts.
Lawrence in the officer’s club is told he should be on duty, and he disrupts their recreation before leaving. Mr. Dryden (Claude Rains) tells General Murray that Lawrence knows his stuff; but Murray says time spent on the Bedouins would be wasted. He says this war is a sideshow to the war against the Germans. Dryden says that big things have small beginnings and that the Arab Bureau wants to win the war. Lawrence comes in and is told to salute. Murray says the Arab Bureau wants him. Lawrence says he can make a great state from a little city. Murray reluctantly gives him to Dryden for six weeks. A messenger comes in and says a navy convoy will be in Port Said tomorrow night but without artillery. Dryden tells Murray that he cannot possibly travel and carry out his mission in six weeks, and Murray gives him three months. Lawrence salutes and leaves.
As they walk, Lawrence tells Dryden he is the man for the job. Then he asks what the job is, and Dryden says it is to find Prince Feisal and learn his intentions. Dryden says they are near Medina. Lawrence says it is going to be fun. Dryden says the only ones who find fun in the desert are Bedouins and gods.
The sun is rising in the desert. During the day Lawrence and a Bedouin are riding on camels, and Lawrence declines to drink any water until the Bedouin does. The camels are walking as they pass an old pyramid.
At night they camp on the sand. Lawrence says he came the 900 miles from Cairo by ship. He says that he is from a fat country with fat people, but he is different.
In the morning they are eating, and Lawrence gives the Bedouin a revolver. The Bedouin offers Lawrence some of his Bedu food, and Lawrence likes it.
They stop, and the Bedouin points ahead to Bedouins. Lawrence sees them with his field glasses. They walk their camels down a steep incline. The Bedouin teaches him how to ride a running camel, and Lawrence falls off at first. The Bedouin says they will reach a well and then have one more day to Feisal’s camp.
The Bedouin hauls some water out of the well, and Lawrence drinks. The Bedouin says it is a Harith well, but they are a dirty people. The Bedouin gives water to the camels while Lawrence uses his compass. They see a cloud of dust and a rider approaching. Lawrence asks if it is Turks. The Bedouin says it is Bedu. The Bedouin gets the revolver and points it at the approaching man, but he is shot. Sherif Ali (Omar Sharif) dismounts and says he is dead. Lawrence asks, “Why?” and Ali says because he drank from his well. Lawrence says he drank from it too. Ali says he is welcome. Lawrence says the man was his friend. Lawrence says the pistol was Bedouin’s, and Ali keeps it. Ali uses Lawrence’s cup to drink water. Ali says his friend was a Hazimi of the Beni Salem. Ali introduces himself, and Lawrence says he has heard of him. Ali asks why a Hazimi was there, and Lawrence says he was taking him to Prince Feisal. Ali says he was educated in Cairo, and Feisal already has an Englishman. Lawrence says his name is for his friend, and none of them are murderers. Ali says he is angry and that the Hazimi may not drink at his wells. Lawrence says that as long as the Arabs fight between tribes they will be a small and barbarous people. Lawrence draws some more water, and Ali offers to take him to Feisal. Lawrence declines to go with him, and Ali takes his compass. Ali asks if he has no fear and returns the compass before leaving.
Lawrence travels with the second camel. Passing hills, he sings an English song that echoes. On the mountain Col. Brighton applauds, and they meet. Brighton says he has been waiting because Feisal knew he was coming. Lawrence says his man was killed, and Brighton calls the Arabs savages. Lawrence says he is to appreciate the situation of the Arab Bureau. Brighton orders him to keep quiet in the camp. They hear and see two planes. Brighton says he told him to move south to get out of range of the modern weapons.
Many Arabs are scrambling to leave their camp as the planes attack them. Prince Feisal (Alec Guinness) shouts for them to stand and fight, and he brandishes his sword at the planes. Feisal meets Lawrence, and agrees with Brighton that they must move fifty miles to the south. Feisal says his men are not used to machines.
At night and the next day the Arabs are moving. Lawrence on his camel is writing. Two young Arabs ask Lawrence and another English soldier for a cigarette. They pull the tail of his camel, and he falls off the running camel. They ask Lawrence if they can be his servants. He says he can’t afford it and rides off.
At night in the camp in Feisal’s tents Lawrence and Brighton listen to a Muslim teacher urging them to recite from the Qu’ran. Ali comes in and joins them. Another chapter is completed by Feisal and Lawrence. Brighton asks for a decision to fall back on Yenbo where they can be supplied. Feisal says they could be supplied in Aqaba. Brighton says the Turks have 12-inch guns there and that the British navy is too busy and must protect the Suez Canal. Feisal says that is a British interest but not theirs. Feisal asks for artillery, but Brighton says they need training more. Ali doubts they will teach Arabs to fight. Lawrence says Yenbo is far from Damascus. Brighton says they need discipline. England is small but great because of discipline. Feisal says they are great because they have guns. Feisal asks Lawrence who says the desert is an ocean and the Bedu go where they please. He says they should fight that way and tells Brighton he is wrong. Brighton says he is a traitor and warns Feisal he will lose fifty more men tonight if they don’t move soon. The others leave the tent, but Lawrence remains with Feisal who says that Brighton will put his men under English officers. He will do it but is afraid that the English hunger for Arabia. Lawrence says he has broader loyalty. Feisal says Lawrence is a desert-lover like Gordon of Khartoum. Lawrence says the Arabs can be great again as they were nine centuries ago. Feisal says they need the English and a miracle.
Lawrence goes out and paces on the sand while thinking. The two young men watch him from a hill. In the morning Lawrence is sitting and still thinking. One youth tosses a rock that slides into Lawrence’s back. He picks it up and paces some more. Lawrence is sitting near the two youths. Then he says, “Aqaba from the land.”
Ali tells Lawrence he is mad because the Nefud Desert cannot be crossed. Lawrence says he will do it if Ali will. Lawrence says fifty men would be joined by the Howeitat. Ali says they are brigands, but Lawrence says they are good fighters. Lawrence says the guns at Aqaba all face the sea and cannot be turned around. Ali says he is mad.
That evening Feisal asks Lawrence where he is going with fifty of his men. Feisal says that Ali told him, but he will spare the men. Lawrence admits he did not tell Brighton either. Lawrence gets permission to ride in Feisal’s name.
Lawrence and Ali are leading the fifty men on camels. The two youths trail behind on one camel. At an oasis Lawrence soaks his feet while reading a book. Ali drinks and watches him. The two youths Daud (John Dimech) and Farraj (Michel Ray) try to sneak in behind the camel and are noticed. They try to drink and are dragged back as men laugh. The Arab takes them to Ali who asks why they are there. They came to serve Lawrence and say it is the will of Allah. Ali calls it blasphemy and whips them. Lawrence says they can serve him, and they kiss his feet. Ali says they are worshippers. They agree on a fair wage, and the Arab says they will be lucky because Allah favors the compassionate.
Ali and Lawrence see the Nefud Desert. Ali says if the camels die, they will die. In twenty days they will start to die. Lawrence says there is no time to waste, and they begin to cross the desert. Camels are walking across the flat desert. One man falls asleep on his camel and is whipped. Lawrence watches a tornado and his shadow. Ali wakes him and says he was drifting. Lawrence says it will not happen again.
In the evening Lawrence is shaving, and Ali says he is wasting water. Ali says they must travel at night but first must rest.
During the day the men sleep by their camels. Ali gets up and wakes Lawrence.
The men and camels walk carefully across rocks. Ali says they have no more rest until they reach water. He says the sun’s anvil must be crossed before sunrise tomorrow.
The camels walk at night, and one man falls off and goes back to his camel. Lawrence asks if they have done it. Ali says no, but they are off the anvil. Ali says they will reach the wells by noon. Ali notices that Gasim is missing from his camel. Ali says he will die, but Lawrence insists on going back for him. An Arab says his time has come because it is written. Ali tries to persuade Lawrence not to go back. Lawrence says he will be at Aqaba because it is written.
Gasim (I. S. Johar) is walking on the anvil as the sun rises. Daud waits on his camel for Lawrence to come back. Gasim removes his belt and other items as he walks.
The Arabs are drinking at a water hole.
Daud thinks he sees something and rides that way. Lawrence with Gasim is coming, and Daud rides past them and turns around.
On a hill Farraj sees them coming and shouts to Daud and takes water to him. Daud brings Gasim, and Ali takes water to them. The Arabs welcome them. Lawrence dismounts from his camel, and Ali hands him the water jug. Lawrence says, “Nothing is written” and drinks. Ali shows him a place to rest, and Lawrence removes his coat and lies down to sleep.
That night Ali has food brought for Lawrence and says that for some men nothing is written unless they write it. Ali asks about his father, and Lawrence admits his father is a lord. However, his father did not marry his mother. Ali says he is free to choose his own name. Ali suggests he choose “El Aurens.” He goes back to sleep, and Ali burns his English uniform.
In the morning Lawrence is dressed in white clothes that Ali gave him. The Arabs greet him, and he replies. Ali says they are good for riding, and Lawrence rides his camel. Alone Lawrence pulls out his dagger and uses it as a mirror. He bows to his shadow and runs around. Then he notices that Auda Abu Tayi (Anthony Quinn) on a horse is watching him and asks what he is doing. He asks if his party of dogs drank from his well. Auda introduces himself, and Lawrence says he heard of him but says he would not refuse water to men coming out of the Nefud Desert. Auda says his help is coming, and his young son rides up. He asks his son to identify who is there. Auda says they are stealing their water and to tell them they are coming. They ride off. Lawrence runs to his camel.
The Arabs hear a gunshot as Auda and his son approach. Auda pours water on the ground and throws down the jug. Auda says he is of the Howeitat, and Sherif Ali answers for the Harith. Auda dismounts and asks Ali if his father still steals. Ali says no. Auda says Ali resembles his father. Ali asks Auda if he is like his father. Lawrence has his hands up, as the son points a revolver at him, and says they are fifty and he is two. Aura says they would have a blood feud with the Howeitat. Lawrence says no one wants that and asks him to call off his men. Auda tells his son. Lawrence says he is a friend of Prince Feisal. Auda consents to give them hospitality at his summer camp. He invites them all to dine with him.
They go to the Howeitat camp.
That night under Auda’s tent Auda says he does not serve Feisal. Lawrence says he permits the Turks to stay at Aqaba, and Auda says it is his pleasure. Lawrence says they are doing it for the Arabs, a tribe of slaves who serve the Turks. Auda gets angry and shouts who he is. He has 23 wounds and has killed 75 men in battle. He says the Turks pay him; but he is poor because he is a river to his people, who shout. He asks Lawrence if that is service. An Arab asks if he has lost his taste for fighting. Auda says they pay him each month 100 golden guineas, but Lawrence says it is 150. Lawrence says this is a trifle of what they take from a great box in Aqaba. Lawrence says Auda will go to Aqaba because it is his pleasure.
In the morning Auda directs his men that they are going to Aqaba, and he leads them with prayer. His men ride horses. Ali and Lawrence lead those on camels. Women trill from the mountains as they pass. The men are singing as they ride.
That night Lawrence and Ali climb a mountain and see Aqaba. Ali says tomorrow they will get it. They hear a gunshot and shouting in the camp.
Men gather around a dead man. Auda tells Ali that one of his men was killed, and the killer must die. Lawrence finds out what happened, and it looks like it will be a blood feud. Lawrence goes to Auda and says the man must die. He asks if he dies if that will content the Howeitat. Then he asks Ali if none of his men are killed by Howeitat if he will be satisfied. Lawrence says he has no tribe and will execute the law. He sees that it is Gasim and shoots him six times. Auda approves. Ali says it was the man Lawrence saved, and Auda says it would have been better if he left him. Ali commends Lawrence who throws the revolver away. Arabs scramble for it.
The next day the Arabs ride fast toward Aqaba. They attack a camp of tents and keep going to the city. The guns facing the sea are useless.
That evening Lawrence rides his camel on the beach. Ali brings a garland of flowers for the accomplishment of the miracle. Lawrence says he is not a prince, but he loves this country.
Auda is angry, and his men are ravaging the city. Lawrence finds that the telegraph does not work. He tells Ali to have Feisal bring his army to Aqaba while he goes to Cairo to tell the English the news. Ali objects, and Lawrence says an Arab would not be believed. Auda finds much paper money and complains to Lawrence that there is no gold. Lawrence asks if he came there for gold, and Auda admits he came there for his pleasure. He says Lawrence promised gold and lied. Lawrence writes a check for the Crown of England to pay 5,000 golden guineas to Auda Abu Tayi, and he promises that in ten days he will be back with the gold, guns, and everything. Auda asks if he will cross the Sinai, and Lawrence says Moses did. Auda tells Ali that he lied and is not perfect.
At night Lawrence, Daud, and Farraj are traveling on three camels, and Lawrence says they cannot rest until they know that he has taken Aqaba. He promises that they will sleep in sheets for the first time. Lawrence points out a dust storm and calls it a “pillar of fire.” As they enter the dust storm, Lawrence drops his compass. Later he notices it is missing. He says they will ride due west until they reach the canal. They walk their camels in the dust storm. Daud falls into quicksand and calls to the others as he sinks. Lawrence keeps Farraj from going to him and sinking too. Lawrence throws a cloth to Daud, but he cannot be pulled out and is covered by sand.
Lawrence is walking, and Farraj rides a camel behind him. Farraj asks why he walks and says there is room for two. The camel kneels down, and they ride together. They come to broken-down fences of wire and enter an abandoned town. A sign in English says the buildings are Army property. Farraj gets water and splashes it on Lawrence’s face. They walk and hear and see a steamship. They climb up and see the Suez Canal. Farraj shouts to a motorcycle, and someone shouts, “Who are you?”
Lawrence and Farraj ride in the back of a truck in busy Cairo. An English army corporal tells Lawrence they are there. He asks if Lawrence is taking the boy in there.
Lawrence and Farraj enter the officers club and are stopped by a sergeant who recognizes Lawrence and says he cannot take the boy in the bar. They enter the bar, and the Egyptian bartender says they must get out. Lawrence asks for two large glasses of lemonade. An officer comes in and asks Lawrence if he is off his head. Lawrence stops him from removing the boy. Brighton comes in and asks what is going on. Lawrence says they have taken Aqaba. The boy drinks lemonade. Brighton asks about the Turks, and Lawrence says they took them all prisoners except the ones they killed. He says there was too much killing. Brighton says it is impossible, but Lawrence says he did it. Brighton says he must talk to Allenby. Lawrence asks for a room with a bed for the boy, and Brighton approves. Brighton leads them out and advises Lawrence to put on trousers.
Still dressed as an Arab, Lawrence sits while General Allenby reads his record. Brighton and Dryden are there listening. Lawrence says Aqaba is important in his drive for Jerusalem. He says it is also linked with Medina. Lawrence asks if officers should use their initiative, and Allenby says it is dangerous. Lawrence agrees. Allenby says he is appointing him a major, but Lawrence does not want it nor does he want to go back. He is bothered by the man he had to execute and the death of the boy in the sand. Lawrence says he enjoyed killing. Allenby says that is rubbish and asks why he is dressed like that. Lawrence says he does not think he is fit for it. Allenby asks for other opinions, and Dryden and Brighton commend what Lawrence did. Allenby calls for a servant to bring in drinks and asks his opinion. The man says it is great. Allenby tells Lawrence that he knows a good thing when he sees it. The five men walk down stairs as others watch them.
Allenby and Lawrence lead them back to the bar. Allenby asks for something to drink and suggests they go outside. On a patio Lawrence tells Allenby how he has an Arab army of a thousand men. He asks for rifles and explosives. He says they can smash the Turks’ railways. Allenby says then he is going back, and Lawrence says he is. Allenby says the Turks will withdraw, but Lawrence says he would lose part of his empire. Dryden asks who will take over, and Lawrence says that Arabia is for the Arabs now; that is what he told them. He says the English will not move into Arabia, and Allenby asks Dryden. Lawrence wants to know if he can tell them in Allenby’s name that they have no ambitions in Arabia, and he agrees.
While walking Lawrence tells Allenby he wants 5,000 small arms, more money in gold, instructors for the guns, two armored cars, and field artillery. Allenby says he will give him these things because he knows that he will use them. Allenby withdraws, and the soldiers surround Lawrence.
Dryden and Brighton ask Allenby if he is going to give them artillery. He says it would make them independent and that he may not do that. Allenby says that Lawrence is riding the whirlwind.
Reporter Jackson Bentley has arrived at Aqaba and finds Prince Feisal. He asks where he can find Major Lawrence. Feisal says he is with his army, but he does not know where they are. Feisal says they were near El Gheria. He advises him to avoid the Turks in Malaal. Feisal says he is going to Cairo. Bentley says they have not been given artillery, and he warns him to watch out for General Allenby who is a “slim customer.” Bentley says the Americans like people who are struggling for their freedom, and Feisal says he will give him some information. Bentley asks if Lawrence is in charge of his army, but Feisal says they are led by tribal leaders; but whoever brings victory is most prized. He says in four months they have lost 37 wounded and 156 dead. He says they leave no wounded for the Turks but kill them. He says prisoners are not protected by the Geneva code. He wants Bentley to notice that they adhere to the Geneva code, and he admits it is due to Lawrence. Feisal says he does it as good manners. Feisal asks his interest in his people, and Bentley says he is looking for a hero, and he is interested in adventure. Feisal says Lawrence is his man.
Lawrence sets off explosives that stop a moving train. The Arabs use machine guns, and then Lawrence fires signal flares to make them stop. Then he commands them to charge, and they run to the train and plunder it. Bentley follows Lawrence. Auda opens an umbrella and calls to Lawrence. An injured Turkish soldier shoots Lawrence, wounding him in the shoulder. The Turk keeps shooting at Lawrence until Auda kills him with a sword. Auda takes his revolver. Auda smashes Bentley’s camera because he took his picture. Lawrence says he thinks it would steal his soul. Lawrence agrees to let Bentley take his picture. He climbs up on top of the train and walks on the cars as the Arabs shout his name. Brighton tells Ali that the looting has to stop. Ali says it is their payment. Brighton says British soldiers do not go home when they are paid. Ali says they are not free to. Brighton tells Lawrence that more men are leaving, and Ali says they will not come back this year. Lawrence tells Brighton that they can only kill him with a golden bullet.
Bentley asks Ali what he is learning from a children’s book. Ali says he is learning to read and that he has a good teacher. Bentley asks Lawrence what the Arabs hope to gain from the war, and he answers he is going to give him their freedom. Bentley asks why he is attracted to the desert, and Lawrence says it is clean. Auda says he bought a clock, but it no longer works. He wants to find something honorable.
A train carrying horses is guarded by Turks with machine guns. They see an explosion and stop the train. An armored car shoots at the train, and Brighton fires the flare for the charge. The Arabs charge on horses. The Arabs steal horses, and Auda laughs. Brighton and Lawrence see them leaving with the horses. Auda shows him the white horse he got. Brighton says that Lawrence will campaign in the winter. Auda says people go home after they get what they want. Brighton says not he, and Auda calls him a fool. Auda leaves. Brighton asks Lawrence what he will do now. Lawrence says he will go north which is what Allenby wants. Brighton says he wants the Arab army in Deraa.
Ali listens to a rail, and Lawrence tells Farraj that a train is coming. Farraj takes a detonator from a box and puts it inside his robe. Lawrence helps set the charge and asks for the detonator. Farraj can’t find it and goes to fetch another. He trips and is wounded. Lawrence runs to him. The train is coming, and Lawrence learns that Farraj cannot ride. Ali warns what they will do to him if they take him alive. Lawrence uses a revolver to shoot Farraj in the head, and they run away.
Ali asks Lawrence what he will do now. Lawrence asks what he recommends.
Brighton admits to Allenby that Lawrence lied about having the Arab army. Allenby asks if he has gone native. He says the Turks are offering £20,000 for him. Allenby asks about next year, and Brighton says they think he is a kind of prophet.
At night in the winter Ali tells Lawrence that one more failure will cause them to stop following him. Ali advises him to be thrifty with them; he is too ambitious. Lawrence disagrees and says what he asks can be done. Lawrence asks if he thinks he is just anybody. Lawrence asks who will go into Deraa with him, and he says he will go alone. He promised the English that the Arabs would be in Deraa when the English reached Jerusalem. Lawrence says he will take the Arab revolt into Deraa.
Lawrence and Ali are walking in Deraa, and a jeep carrying the Turkish Bey (Jose Ferrer) toots at them. A Turkish soldier orders them to halt. They let Ali go and arrest Lawrence.
Inside the Bey examines four prisoners. He points at Lawrence, and the others are taken out. He says he has blue eyes, and Lawrence answers his questions, saying he is 27 years old. The Bey says he is surrounded by cattle, and he has been in Deraa for three and a half years. He removes Lawrence’s headgear and rips off his robe. He notices the scar on his shoulder. He says he is a deserter and wonders from which army. He says his skin is very fair. Lawrence hits him and is quickly hit back. The Bey is helped up and orders them to beat him. The Bey goes into his office, and the others whip Lawrence as he lies on a bench with his hands and feet held. Lawrence does not cry out and sees the Bey watching from his door.
Outside at night Ali waits and hears the beating. Later Lawrence is thrown out the door into the mud, and Ali helps him.
Lawrence and Ali ride camels in snowy mountains. By a fire Ali tells him to sleep. Later Ali tells Lawrence to eat because he has a body like other men. Lawrence starts eating.
Lawrence tells Ali that he is better and that he has learned. He tells Ali that he is going because he has come to the end of himself. He realizes that he is not the Arab revolt. Ali says he proved that a man could be whatever he wants. Lawrence shows him his pale skin and says he cannot change it. This is what decides what a man wants. He admits he would have told them anything. Ali says any man would have. Lawrence admits he is any men and says he is going back to Allenby. Ali says he is in Jerusalem, and Lawrence says he will do it in easy stages. Ali asks about the men he has led there. Lawrence tells Ali to lead them and let him go back to his people.
An English band marches and plays. Lawrence in a uniform joins two officers. He is asked what he is doing, but he says it is the wrong time of year for the Arabs. Bentley sees Lawrence and goes after him. Lawrence says it is good to be back and goes in and sees Brighton who says he is to go in.
Lawrence goes in and sees Feisal, who shakes his hand. Feisal tells Allenby he is leaving. He says his people are weak and are being kept weak in the British interest and the French. Feisal mentions a treaty, and Lawrence asks about it. Dryden asks if Lawrence does not know about the treaty. Allenby asks why he is asking to leave Arabia. Allenby asks if he really does not know about the Sykes-Picot Treaty and has Dryden explain it. He says two civil servants agreed that after the war that France and England should share the Turkish empire including Arabia. Lawrence says politicians have no honor. Dryden says he must have had suspicions. He says Lawrence has told half-lies and has forgotten where he put the truth. Lawrence says he is an ordinary man and wants an ordinary job. Allenby says he is an important officer and asks if he is mad. Lawrence says he does not want to go mad. Allenby says he is an important part of the big push with his Arab friends. Lawrence says he wants his common humanity. Dryden and Allenby notice the blood on Lawrence’s back. Allenby asks what happened.
Dryden comes out, and Bentley asks what happened in there. Bentley says he made him a hero, and Dryden says he wants to be somebody else. Dryden says one is half mad and the other is unscrupulous.
On a patio Lawrence asks Allenby to leave him alone and admits he is extraordinary. Allenby says few men have a destiny. Lawrence admits it and asks for artillery. Allenby offers money. Lawrence says they will come for Damascus, and he will give it to them. He says they will get there before Allenby and will keep it. He says he wants a lot of money. He says they will come for him.
Arabs have gathered, and Auda tells Bentley not to take pictures. Bentley says Lawrence does not mind, and Auda says there is only one Lawrence. Bentley asks Ali if Lawrence has changed, and he says no. Ali says he is the same after Deraa. He asks Bentley what the English did to him in Jerusalem. Ali says he offered him money, but he did not take it. Others did. Lawrence rides a camel with a bodyguard, and Ali says they are murderers. Lawrence says they are his men. Ali says they know nothing of the Arab revolt. They say they are going to Damascus for El Aurens. Lawrence says he does not want ordinary men. The Arabs follow Lawrence across the desert.
Allenby tells a meeting of officers the cavalry has gone through Deraa. They look at a map and plan their strategy. Allenby says the guns matter most. Brighton says the Arabs have about 2,000 irregular cavalry. Allenby wants to know where they are.
Ali prays for God to help the Turks.
Allenby rides in a car, and Brighton gets in and tells him that Lawrence has the bit between his teeth. He may get to Damascus before they do, but Turks are in front of them.
Dead bodies are left behind as a Turkish army moves on.
The Arab cavalry stops in a line, and an Arab says, “No prisoners.” Ali tells Lawrence to go around to Damascus. One Arab charges with his sword and is killed by the Turks’ rifles. Lawrence shouts, “No prisoners” and leads the charge. Auda and Ali use swords, and Lawrence uses a revolver. Lawrence shoots at the Turks and kills one with raised hands. Ali tells Lawrence it is enough and to make them stop.
After the battle Ali looks for Lawrence and finds him holding a bloody dagger.
That night Bentley sees the carnage as he looks for Lawrence, saying, “Jesus wept.” Ali asks Bentley if he is surprised. He takes Ali’s picture for his rotten newspapers.
As they ride toward Damascus, an Arab offers Lawrence grapes from Damascus and says that Allenby is there.
Allenby walks past a crowd into his headquarters. Brighton tells Allenby that Lawrence is already there and has established their headquarters in the town hall and are calling themselves the Arab National Council. Allenby asks what they should do. Dryden warns against a full-scale rising. Feisal will be there in two days, and Dryden says that is long enough. Allenby orders the troops quartered until further notice.
In the town hall Arabs have gather around a long table shaped like a U. Lawrence says they are not tribes but Arabs acting for Prince Feisal. Auda says he was insulted. Lawrence says the telephones have ceased to work and that they are in the care of the Howeitat. Auda says they do not work because they have no electricity which is in the care of the Harith. Lawrence tells Ali not to react so that there will not be bloodshed. Ali asks for Auda’s pardon humbly, and Auda calls it a new trick. An Arab explains that the generators were burned. Ali says they need the English engineers, but Lawrence warns that then they would get English government. A messenger tells them that fire has broken out. They are told to use the fire brigades, but they say there is no force in the water. Lawrence tells them to carry it, but the man says that the Rualla do not carry water. The Arabs start to leave, and Lawrence goes out pushing past people with petitions.
In his office Allenby is practicing casting a fishing rod. The lights go out, and Dryden says it is the power. They look down and see the Arabs leaving the city.
In the town hall Auda asks Lawrence to come back with him. Lawrence writes on a paper, and Auda asks if it is the blood. Lawrence says he prays never to see the desert again. Auda says he will come, and he walks out. Lawrence asks Ali what he will do, and he says he will stay and learn politics. Lawrence says that is a low occupation. Ali says he tried hard to give them Damascus, and Lawrence says that is why he came. Ali leaves, and Lawrence waves goodbye.
Auda tells Ali that he loves Lawrence. Ali pulls out a dagger, and Auda says these are new tricks. Auda warns Ali it will be difficult as Ali walks away.
A medical officer (Howard Marion Crawford) tells Allenby that he must take over immediately. Allenby says he must obey orders. He sends him to the town hall.
In the town hall the medical officer tells Lawrence that a hospital has about 2,000 wounded Turks which are their responsibility. Lawrence asks what it is like.
Lawrence walks among the wounded in a courtyard, and a man asks him for soup. He tries to get water, but the faucet does not work. He sees Red Cross vehicles arrive, and the Medical Officer shouts that it is outrageous. Lawrence laughs.
Feisal tells Dryden and Allenby about Lawrence, and Allenby promotes Lawrence to colonel. Feisal says they no longer need a warrior. He says young men fight the war, and old men make the peace; their vices are mistrust and caution. Feisal says he owes Lawrence more than he can say. Feisal tells Allenby that he concedes the powerhouse and the telephone exchange, but he must retain the pumping plant. Allenby says then there will be no water. Feisal says he will accept technical assistance, and Allenby says then he must bring down his flag. Feisal says he would resist that. The British would not want to appear at the peace tables as the aggressors.
An officer shakes Lawrence’s hand.
Feisal says the Arab Council took power in his name. He shows them a Chicago newspaper with his picture on the front page. He says they are equally glad to be rid of Lawrence. Feisal says Allenby is only a general, but he must be a king. Brighton excuses himself and goes out. Dryden says they are to have a British waterworks with an Arab flag on it. Feisal says Dryden is the architect of the compromise.
Lawrence is riding in a car that passes Arabs on camels. The driver says he is going home, and a motorcycle passes them.
This true story of the Arab revolt led by T. E. Lawrence accurately depicts how a well educated Englishman with courage led the divided Arab tribes in a common struggle against the Ottoman Turks who had dominated the region for centuries; but this helped the English and French to use the war-time alliance to extend their power in the Mideast. Lawrence himself learned what could be accomplished but also that he was an ordinary man who could suffer and that war is brutal.