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The Best Movies Directed by David Lean 

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Updated June 11, 2019 932 votes 263 voters 16.6k 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.

Share this list on your social mediato get your friends to vote too. Then we'll have all the votes in the world. (20 items)

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.

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Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness

Released: 1962

Directed by: David Lean

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

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#10 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #24 of 69 The Best Movies That Are Super Longlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins

Released: 1957

Directed by: David Lean

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

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#18 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #127 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Alec Guinness

Released: 1965

Directed by: David Lean

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

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#114 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #65 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Trevor Howard, Celia Johnson, Stanley Holloway

Released: 1945

Directed by: David Lean

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

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#448 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time #55 of 102 The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel #25 of 46 The Best Train Movies

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Alec Guinness, Jean Simmons, John Mills

Released: 1946

Directed by: David Lean

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

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#235 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #1,163 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Alec Guinness, Judy Davis, Victor Banerjee

Released: 1984

Directed by: David Lean

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
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Robert Mitchum, John Mills, Trevor Howard

Released: 1970

Directed by: David Lean

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

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#520 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #152 of 384 The Greatest Movie Themeslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Alec Guinness, Diana Dors, Anthony Newley

Released: 1948

Directed by: David Lean

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

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#190 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #21 of 23 The Best Movies Where The Director Is Directing His Wife #2 of 49 The Best Movies About Orphans

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Charles Laughton, John Mills, John Laurie

Released: 1954

Directed by: Percy Nash, David Lean

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
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Katharine Hepburn, David Lean, Darren McGavin

Released: 1955

Directed by: David Lean

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.
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Released: 1944

Directed by: David Lean

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
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John Mills, Noël Coward, Leslie Howard

Released: 1942

Directed by: Noël Coward, David Lean

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

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#190 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #108 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #67 of 70 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1940s

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John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Angela Lansbury

Released: 1965

Directed by: George Stevens, Jean Negulesco, David Lean

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

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#181 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #22 of 89 The Best Movies with Christian Themes #7 of 39 The Greatest Biblical Movies Ever Made

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Claude Rains, Trevor Howard, Ann Todd

Released: 1949

Directed by: David Lean

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
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Barbara Everest, André Morell, Barry Jones

Released: 1950

Directed by: David Lean

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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Rex Harrison, Noël Coward, Margaret Rutherford

Released: 1945

Directed by: David Lean

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
17
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Laurence Olivier, John Mills, Celia Johnson

Released: 1944

Directed by: Anthony Havelock-Allan, David Lean

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
18
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Denholm Elliott, Leslie Phillips, Ralph Richardson

Released: 1952

Directed by: David Lean

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

Released: 1941

Directed by: David Lean, Harold French, Gabriel Pascal

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
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Lost and Found: The Story of Cook's Anchor

Directed by: David Lean

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