Entertainment

The Best Movies Directed by David Lean  

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903 votes 258 voters 16.4k views 20 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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David Lean was fortunate enough to work with talented actors, including Laurence Olivier and John Wayne. Do you love films directed by David Lean? Check out our lists of the best movies by John Huston and Frank Capra as well.

list ordered by
1
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Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness
Lawrence of Arabia is a 1962 British epic adventure drama film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence. It was directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel. The film stars Peter O'Toole in the ...more
2
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Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins
The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 WWII epic film directed by David Lean, based on the novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai by Pierre Boulle. The film is a work of fiction but borrows the ...more
3
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Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Alec Guinness
Doctor Zhivago is a British-American 1965 epic drama–romance film directed by David Lean, starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. It is set in Russia between the years prior to WWI, and is ...more
4
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Trevor Howard, Celia Johnson, Stanley Holloway
Brief Encounter is a 1945 British film directed by David Lean about British suburban life, centering on Laura, a married woman with children whose conventional life becomes increasingly ...more
5
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Alec Guinness, Jean Simmons, John Mills
Great Expectations is a 1946 British film directed by David Lean, based on the novel by Charles Dickens and starring John Mills, Bernard Miles, Finlay Currie, Jean Simmons, Martita Hunt, Alec ...more
6
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Alec Guinness, Diana Dors, Anthony Newley
Oliver Twist is the second of David Lean's two film adaptations of Charles Dickens novels. Following the success of his 1946 version of Great Expectations, Lean re-assembled much of the same ...more
7
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Alec Guinness, Judy Davis, Victor Banerjee
A Passage to India is a 1984 drama film written and directed by David Lean. The screenplay is based on the 1924 novel of the same title by E. M. Forster and the 1960 play by Santha Rama Rau that ...more
8
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Robert Mitchum, John Mills, Trevor Howard
Ryan's Daughter is a 1970 epic romantic drama film directed by David Lean. The film, set in 1916, tells the story of a married Irish woman who has an affair with a British officer during WWI, ...more
9
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Charles Laughton, John Mills, John Laurie
Hobson's Choice is a 1954 romantic comedy film directed by David Lean. It is based on the play of the same name by Harold Brighouse. It stars Charles Laughton in the role of Victorian bootmaker ...more
10
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Katharine Hepburn, David Lean, Darren McGavin
Summertime is a 1955 American/British Technicolor romance film directed by David Lean. The screenplay by Lean and H. E. Bates is based on the play The Time of the Cuckoo by Arthur Laurents.
11
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This Happy Breed is a play by Noël Coward. It was written in 1939 but, because of the outbreak of World War II, it was not staged until 1942, when it was performed on alternating nights ...more
12
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Claude Rains, Trevor Howard, Ann Todd
The Passionate Friends is a 1949 British romantic drama film directed by David Lean. The film is based on The Passionate Friends: A Novel, a 1913 story by H. G. Wells It describes a love ...more
13
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Rex Harrison, Noël Coward, Margaret Rutherford
Blithe Spirit is a 1945 English fantasy-comedy film directed by David Lean. The screenplay by Lean, cinematographer Ronald Neame and associate producer Anthony Havelock-Allan is based on ...more
14
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John Mills, Noël Coward, Leslie Howard
In Which We Serve is a 1942 British patriotic war film directed by Noël Coward and David Lean. It was made during the Second World War with the assistance of the Ministry of Information. ...more
15
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Barbara Everest, André Morell, Barry Jones
Madeleine is a 1950 film directed by David Lean, based on a true story about Madeleine Smith, a young Glasgow woman from a wealthy family who was tried in 1857 for the murder of her lover, Emile ...more
16
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Laurence Olivier, John Mills, Celia Johnson
This Happy Breed is a 1944 British Technicolor drama film directed by David Lean. The screenplay by Lean, Anthony Havelock-Allan and Ronald Neame is based on the 1939 play of the same title by ...more
17
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John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Angela Lansbury
The Greatest Story Ever Told is a 1965 American epic film produced and directed by George Stevens. It is a retelling of the story of Jesus Christ, from the Nativity through the Resurrection. ...more
18
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Denholm Elliott, Leslie Phillips, Ralph Richardson
The Sound Barrier is a British 1952 film directed by David Lean. It is a fictional story about attempts by aircraft designers and test pilots to break the sound barrier. In the U.S. it was ...more
19
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Deborah Kerr, Rex Harrison, Wendy Hiller
Major Barbara is a 1941 British film starring Wendy Hiller and Rex Harrison. The film was produced and directed by Gabriel Pascal and edited by David Lean. It was adapted for the screen by ...more
20
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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.