Lawrence of Arabia

Factual error: In the foreground of the Aqaba raid scene, Turks are using a Browning M1919 machine gun, which wasn't yet designed and certainly would not be available to the Turkish Army.

Factual error: En route westwards to Cairo, Lawrence is pictured arriving supposedly at the east bank of the Suez Canal but the direction of sunlight from the right with the Canal in the background can only mean that Lawrence has already crossed the Canal and is standing on the west bank.

Factual error: On his way to Cairo, history records that after crossing the Sinai Desert, Lawrence arrived at the sea at Akaba (which is at the northern end of the Red Sea). In the film he turns left along the beach when he should have turned right (towards the Suez Canal). The scene was shot on a Mediterranean beach in Spain (from where Cairo WOULD be on his left!)

Factual error: There are a number of mistakes with the Vickers guns used by the Arab forces in the film. Quite a few of them are smooth jacketed guns, not introduced until October 1918. Secondly, the one on Colonel Brighton's armoured car not only has the smooth jacket but has a blank fire adaptor very prominently at the front.

Factual error: When we first see General Allenby, he wears Overseas Service Chevrons on his lower right sleeve. These were only introduced in very late 1917, several months after the period being depicted.

Factual error: The idea that Lawrence's Arab army almost entirely deserted him as he moved further north, as shown over the second half of the film, is entirely inaccurate. According to records, only one or two Arabs actually deserted.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Factual error: Peter O'Toole is a great actor, and delivers a commanding performance as 'Lawrence Of Arabia'. Much of the presence that he exudes when portraying T.E. Lawrence derives from his height (Peter O'Toole is 6 foot 2 inches tall). But Lawrence of Arabia was only 5 foot 5 inches tall (at a time when the average height for men was 5 foot 9 inches). For much of his life T.E. Lawrence forced himself to great tests of endurance to increase his strength and stamina, it is possible that this was to compensate for feelings of inferiority over his short stature.

Rob Halliday

Factual error: During the assault on Aqaba, the Turkish defenders are using Lee-Enfield rifles (the same rifles the Arabs have). Ottoman troops were issued Mauser pattern rifles during the First World War.

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More for Lawrence of Arabia

Quotes

Colonel Brighton: Are you badly hurt?
T.E. Lawrence: I'm not hurt at all. Didn't you know? They can only kill me with a golden bullet.

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Mistakes

The shadows in the scene with Lawrence sleeping on his camel are short because it's the middle of the day. In the next shot you see long shadows on the sand. When Ali wakes up Lawrence they are short again.

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Trivia

According to Peter O'Toole, he and Omar Sharif were so nervous about possibly falling off the galloping camels that they both got roaring drunk the day the scene was to be shot, and Sharif decided to tie himself onto the animal. After racing down a sand dune on camelback, O'Toole turned to find Sharif's camel standing in a pond with its alcohol-anesthetized rider dangling upside-down by one foot. A crew member proceeded to "sober" Sharif by cutting the bindings and allowing him to fall head first into the water. (As told to Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show" March 24, 2008).

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