Date: 22nd April 2004

Lawrence of Arabia named greatest epic

Film classic Lawrence of Arabia has been voted the greatest movie epic of all time.

The multi-Oscar winner beat the likes of Ben-Hur and The Lord of the Rings.

The list of 50 greatest epics was drawn up by Total Film magazine to mark the forthcoming release of sword'n'sandals blockbuster Troy, starring Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom.

Ben-Hur and its famous chariot scene came second, followed by the original Star Wars trilogy.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy was voted into fourth place and Gone With The Wind was fifth.

The rest of the top 10 is made up of The Godfather Part II, Spartacus, Once Upon A Time in the West, Japanese movie Ran and biopic Malcolm X.

Lawrence of Arabia was released in 1962 with Peter O'Toole in the title role.

It won seven Oscars, including best picture and best director for David Lean.

O'Toole earned the first of seven Oscar nominations. He was finally given an honorary award last year.

The film also turned Omar Sharif into an international star.

Total Film features editor Dan Jolin said: "When you think epic, Lawrence of Arabia is easily the first film that springs to mind. 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 and hubris.

Also, as our top five proves, 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.

"As Peter Jackson shows, expert use of computer graphics and special effects can easily match the conventional 'cast of thousands' approach."

The top 50 will appear in the June issue of the magazine, on sale tomorrow.

Total Film Top 20:
1 Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
2 Ben-Hur (1959)
3 Star Wars trilogy (1977-1983)
4 The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)
5 Gone With The Wind (1939);
6 The Godfather Part II (1974);
7 Spartacus (1960);
8 Once Upon A Time in the West (1968);
9 Ran (1985);
10 Malcolm X (1992);
11 Apocalypse Now (1979);
12 Little Big Man (1970);
13 Barry Lyndon (1975);
14 LA Reine Margot (1994);
15 Napoleon (1927);
16 Glory (1989);
17 Braveheart (1995);
18 Dances With Wolves (1990);
19 Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975);
20 The Man Who Would Be King (1975).

Source: Press Release