Lawrence of Arabia celebrates its 50th anniversary with a Blu-ray™ and DVD release on November 13th. Directed by David Lean, the film tells the true story of how a British Officer changed the course of World War I in the Middle East. For the first time on Blu-ray™, this epic masterpiece recalls another era of film making before vampire sparkling and transforming robots ruined everything. It stands as proof that a great film needs the delicate balance of plot, style, and performance. Being badass doesn’t hurt either, and T. E. Lawrence was definitely that.
But Lawrence of Arabia isn’t alone. Here are our recommendations for other classic guy films that never go out of style.
In 1942, the Germans build a prison camp they deem inescapable to house the Allied prisoners-of-war who have made several escape attempts in the past. Under the direction of Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett, the POWs assemble to attempt the greatest escape in the history of World War II. The prisoners band together and surreptitiously dig an escape tunnel under the guards’ noses. The second half of the film kicks up the action as the escapees must flee the Gestapo via boats, trains, planes, and most famously — a motorcycle.
When facing a vicious enemy, you need a more vicious weapon. The Dirty Dozen tells the tale of a US Army Major assigned twelve convicted murderers who he trains to become elite Nazi killers. He then leads them into World War II France to assassinate a multitude of German officers. What makes this such a classic? If the film were made today, one of the team would be an android. Nice show of restraint, Dirty Dozen.
Not to be confused with the Alec Baldwin/Kim Basinger remake from the mid-90’s, The Getaway that we’re talking about is the Sam Peckinpah original starring Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw. The pair star as a husband and wife who, after his recent release from prison, are dispatched to rob a bank for the sheriff who granted him freedom. Between the corrupt sheriff and a double-crossing partner in crime, McQueen’s Doc McCoy has to be quick on his feet if he wants to ride off into the sunset with his lady.
Paul Newman stars as a rebellious man sent to a rural prison. He refuses to conform to the rules and restrictions he’s placed under, prompting the guards to attempt to break him by any means necessary. But he stands up to beatings and egg-eating and roof-tarring. The only thing that truly breaks him — ditch-digging. I think we can all agree that digging truly sucks.
While trying to make the most of his time in a Japanese POW camp, a British colonel cooperates with his captors and rallies his men to construct a railway bridge. He sees the bridge as a monument to British morale, and eventually as a monument to himself and his great pride. When the Allies move forward with plans to destroy the bridge, they are met with opposition from the deluded ego that raised it in the first place.
This Francis Ford Coppola classic and its arguably superior sequel tell the tale of two men – father and son – brought into a violent legacy with hopes of a better life for their children. Both men discover that best laid plans are undone by human nature, and once you sacrifice your soul to a dark path, those you love will be forced to walk it for generations to come.