David Lean

Born: 25 March 1908, Croydon, Surrey
Died: 16 April 1991, London


Browse highlights from the David Lean collections across the BFI, and a full catalogue of the David Lean Archive held in Special Collections at the BFI National Library.

Highlighted works

  • Great Expectations

    Great Expectations

    The orphan and the spinster, the marshland and the metropolis: Dickens’s vivid characters and locales receive the breath of cinematic life in David Lean’s cherished adaptation.

  • The Bridge on the River Kwai

    The Bridge on the River Kwai

    Alec Guinness plays a WWII British colonel whose perverse sense of duty leads him to help his Japanese captors build a bridge.

  • Oliver Twist

    Oliver Twist

    David Lean’s screen version of Charles Dickens’s masterpiece remains the finest cinematic interpretation of this much-adapted novel.

  • Brief Encounter

    Brief Encounter

    Turbulent passion and middle-class restraint combine in uniquely English style when a married woman falls for a doctor she meets at a railway station.

  • Lawrence of Arabia

    Lawrence of Arabia

    An eccentric English officer inspires the Arabs to unite against the Turks during WWI in David Lean’s seven Oscar-winner, an epic in every sense.

  • Doctor Zhivago

    Doctor Zhivago

    Boris Pasternak’s story of love in the Russian Revolution confirmed David Lean’s standing as the master of the sweeping historical epic.

  • In Which We Serve

    In Which We Serve

    In this wartime tribute to the courage of the British Navy, Noël Coward traces turbulent experiences across the ranks on an ill-fated destroyer.


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