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The Best Movies Directed by David Lean

Updated June 11, 2019 1.0k votes 267 voters 16.8k views20 items

List of all movies directed by David Lean ranked from best to worst with photos. Films directed by David Lean are listed here and include movie posters and David Lean movie trailers whenever possible. This is a collection of the best movies directed by David Lean as voted on by film buffs. If you think the greatest David Lean movie isn't as high as it should be on this list, then make sure to vote so that your opinion of what the top David Lean film is can be factored into this list.

From David Lean's studio films to David Lean's independent films, this David Lean filmography keeps tabs on all David Lean movies, and lets the cream of the crop rise to the top.

List features movies like Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai.

If you’re wondering “what movies did David Lean direct?” or “who is David Lean?” then this list will explain how most people know this director. This list also answers questions like “what are the all-time best movies directed by David Lean?” and “what's a good selection of good David Lean movies?”

If you're wanting to get into David Lean films, then this list is a great starting point for at least starting with the most decent David Lean works.

All David Lean director credits are included. This list of every movie that David Lean has directed can be sorted for specific information such as what genre the David Lean movie is and which actors starred in the David Lean film.

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  • 1
    A Passage to India
    118
    16

    A Passage to India

    Alec Guinness, Judy Davis

    Released1984

    Directed byDavid Lean

    A Passage to India is a 1984 drama film written and directed by David Lean. The screenplay is... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    Lawrence of Arabia
    105
    13

    Lawrence of Arabia

    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole

    Released1962

    Directed byDavid Lean

    Lawrence of Arabia is a 1962 British epic adventure drama film based on the life of T. E.... more on Wikipedia
  • 3
    The Bridge on the River Kwai
    94
    17

    The Bridge on the River Kwai

    Alec Guinness, William Holden

    Released1957

    Directed byDavid Lean

    The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 WWII epic film directed by David Lean, based on the... more on Wikipedia

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    #18 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#20 of 374 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked

  • 4
    Doctor Zhivago
    90
    26

    Doctor Zhivago

    Omar Sharif, Julie Christie

    Released1965

    Directed byDavid Lean

    Doctor Zhivago is a British-American 1965 epic drama–romance film directed by David Lean,... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Brief Encounter
    65
    8

    Brief Encounter

    Trevor Howard, Celia Johnson

    Released1945

    Directed byDavid Lean

    Brief Encounter is a 1945 British film directed by David Lean about British suburban life,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Hobson's Choice
    59
    6

    Hobson's Choice

    Charles Laughton, John Mills

    Released1954

    Directed byPercy Nash, David Lean

    Hobson's Choice is a 1954 romantic comedy film directed by David Lean. It is based on the play... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    Great Expectations
    47
    9

    Great Expectations

    Alec Guinness, Jean Simmons

    Released1946

    Directed byDavid Lean

    Great Expectations is a 1946 British film directed by David Lean, based on the novel by... more on Wikipedia

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    #779 of 836 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#235 of 364 The Best Movies Based On Books

  • 8
    This Happy Breed
    This Happy Breed is a play by Noël Coward. It was written in 1939 but, because of the outbreak... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Oliver Twist
    38
    8

    Oliver Twist

    Alec Guinness, Diana Dors

    Released1948

    Directed byDavid Lean

    Oliver Twist is the second of David Lean's two film adaptations of Charles Dickens novels.... more on Wikipedia

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    #21 of 23 The Best Movies Where The Director Is Directing His Wife#3 of 50 The Best Movies About Orphans

  • 10
    This Happy Breed
    21
    5

    This Happy Breed

    Laurence Olivier, John Mills

    Released1944

    Directed byAnthony Havelock-Allan, David Lean

    This Happy Breed is a 1944 British Technicolor drama film directed by David Lean. The... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Ryan's Daughter
    39
    27

    Ryan's Daughter

    Robert Mitchum, John Mills

    Released1970

    Directed byDavid Lean

    Ryan's Daughter is a 1970 epic romantic drama film directed by David Lean. The film, set in... more on Wikipedia

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  • 12
    Summertime
    21
    10

    Summertime

    Katharine Hepburn, David Lean

    Released1955

    Directed byDavid Lean

    Summertime is a 1955 American/British Technicolor romance film directed by David Lean. The... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    The Passionate Friends
    12
    4

    The Passionate Friends

    Claude Rains, Trevor Howard

    Released1949

    Directed byDavid Lean

    The Passionate Friends is a 1949 British romantic drama film directed by David Lean. The film... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    In Which We Serve
    13
    7

    In Which We Serve

    John Mills, Noël Coward

    Released1942

    Directed byNoël Coward, David Lean

    In Which We Serve is a 1942 British patriotic war film directed by Noël Coward and David Lean.... more on Wikipedia

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    #110 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time#55 of 70 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s

  • 15
    The Sound Barrier
    9
    2

    The Sound Barrier

    Denholm Elliott, Leslie Phillips

    Released1952

    Directed byDavid Lean

    The Sound Barrier is a British 1952 film directed by David Lean. It is a fictional story about... more on WikipediaAmazon_watch buy button
  • 16
    Blithe Spirit
    11
    7

    Blithe Spirit

    Rex Harrison, Noël Coward

    Released1945

    Directed byDavid Lean

    Blithe Spirit is a 1945 English fantasy-comedy film directed by David Lean. The screenplay by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    Major Barbara
    11
    6

    Major Barbara

    Deborah Kerr, Rex Harrison

    Released1941

    Directed byDavid Lean, Harold French, Gabriel Pascal

    Major Barbara is a 1941 British film starring Wendy Hiller and Rex Harrison. The film was... more on WikipediaAmazon_watch buy button
  • 18
    Madeleine
    11
    8

    Madeleine

    Barbara Everest, André Morell

    Released1950

    Directed byDavid Lean

    Madeleine is a 1950 film directed by David Lean, based on a true story about Madeleine Smith,... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    The Greatest Story Ever Told
    9
    13

    The Greatest Story Ever Told

    John Wayne, Charlton Heston

    Released1965

    Directed byGeorge Stevens, Jean Negulesco, David Lean

    The Greatest Story Ever Told is a 1965 American epic film produced and directed by George... more on WikipediaAmazon_watch buy button

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  • 20
    Lost and Found: The Story of Cook's Anchor
    4
    7

    Lost and Found: The Story of Cook's Anchor

    Lost and Found: The Story of Cook's Anchor is a short television film by David Lean.Amazon_watch buy button