The Epic Films of David Lean

Front Cover
Scarecrow Press, 2012 - 197 pages
Widely regarded as one of cinema's most accomplished directors, David Lean helmed such classics as Brief Encounter, Great Expectations, and Oliver Twist. He twice received the Academy Award for best director, and two of his films, TheBridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia won the Oscar for best picture. Both are featured on the American Film Institute's Top 100, with Lawrence of Arabia at number seven. Despite the awards and accolades for these motion pictures, many critics often look more favorably upon the smaller films that Lean produced earlier in his career, and in recent years his reputation as a director has diminished. In this study, Constantine Santas seeks to restore these now undervalued epics to the elevated esteem they once held. Without dismissing the earlier works or regarding them as irrelevant to Lean's evolution as an artist, this book shows that the epics, if analyzed from certain vantage points, are as worthy as any of Lean's previous films. In addition to Lean's Academy-Award-winning blockbusters, Santas also provides close analytical looks at Doctor Zhivago, Ryan's Daughter, and the director's final film, A Passage to India. Santas argues that the epics show a progression and refinement of Lean's work and that they are thematically broader and feature more complex characterization than his earlier films. In his analyses, Santas provides background material on the production of each epic; insights into structure, characters, techniques, and themes; and a look into the relationship between the films and their literary sources. Written in a clear and engaging manner, The Epic Films of David Lean will appeal not only to cinema students and scholars but also to the general fan of David Lean and his work.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


CHAPTER 1 The Bridge on the River Kwai 1957
CHAPTER 2 Lawrence of Arabia 1962
CHAPTER 3 Doctor Zhivago 1966
CHAPTER 4 Ryans Daughter 1970
CHAPTER 5 A Passage to India 1984
NostromoThe Epic Continues
The Early Films of David Lean
DVD and Bluray Editions
About the Author

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Constantine Santas is professor emeritus and former chair in the Department of English at Flagler College, Florida. He is the author of Responding to Film and The Epic in Film: from Myth to Blockbuster.

Bibliographic information