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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Lawrence of Arabia 'finest epic'
Peter O'Toole, Lawrence of Arabia
Lawrence of Arabia is a favourite of many critics and film fans
Desert movie saga Lawrence of Arabia has been named the greatest film epic of all time by a UK film magazine.

The 1962 David Lean film starring Peter O'Toole in the lead role was deemed the most spectacular epic by Total Film.

Second place went to Ben-Hur, the 1959 classic starring Charlton Heston. Third was George Lucas' Star Wars trilogy and fourth The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The list was compiled to mark the May release of the $200m (110m) "sword and sandal" epic Troy starring Brad Pitt.

Epic movies
1. Lawrence of Arabia
2. Ben-Hur
3. Star Wars
4. The Lord of the Rings
5. Gone With The Wind
6. The Godfather Part II
7. Spartacus
8. Once Upon A Time In The West
9. Ran
10. Malcolm X
Source: Total Film

O'Toole also features in Troy, an adaptation of the Homer story co-starring Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana, which opens in the UK on 21 May.

Other films nominated by Total Film included US civil war saga Gone With The Wind at number five, and the second part of Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather gangster trilogy at six.

Further movies in the list included Braveheart, Dances With Wolves, Monty Python And The Holy Grail, Gladiator and The Deer Hunter.

Epic facts
300,000 extras used for Ghandi's funeral scene
300,000 gallons of water used during filming of parting of the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments
1,500 fishing rods used to construct the floor for Return Of The Jedi's Death Star reactor
Francis Ford Coppola lost 100lbs during the stressful shoot on Apocalypse Now
300 days spent filming Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon over two years
Source: Total Film
The Last Of The Mohicans made the top 50, along with Jason And The Argonauts, The Ten Commandments, Gandhi and Out Of Africa.

Dan Jolin, Total Film's features editor, said Lawrence of Arabia was a clear first choice when considering movie epics.

He said: "Not only is it a gripping war drama played out on the grandest scale, but it deals with all the big themes - heroism, friendship, ambition, hubris.

"Epic doesn't have to mean 'old'. The Lord Of The Rings trilogy is proof that modern film-makers can do big movies as well as classic film-makers."

Dr Zhivago tops MPs' film votes
12 Feb 04  |  Politics
Lessons from Lawrence of Arabia
09 Apr 04  |  Magazine
Python's Grail 'best Brit film'
12 Feb 04  |  Entertainment


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