Sir David Lean showcase
We open the Academy Archive to explore the career and commitments of acclaimed film-maker Sir David Lean.
From a love-struck couple in a Lancashire station cafe to a tiny figure shimmering on a desert horizon, Sir David Lean provided cinema with some of its most memorable moments. Although he directed only 16 feature films in a 40 year career, Lean remains one of Britain’s most revered and inspirational film-makers.
Alongside his many cinematic achievements, Lean also had a strong impact on the Academy’s history - from its inception in 1947 as the British Film Academy until his death in 1991. Lean always worked with passion, commitment and generosity to champion the art forms of the moving image.
In the year of his centenary, we explore Sir David Lean’s remarkable career and his influence on the Academy’s evolution over time. Opening up our Archive, we reveal rare documents, trace his career highlights and republish BAFTA articles paying tribute to the master film-maker.
David Lean centenary
David Lean was born on 25 March 1908 in Croydon, Surrey. Various organisations have chosen to mark his centenary alongside BAFTA. These include:
Speaking at the opening ceremony of The David Lean Room at 195 Piccadilly in 1999, the Academy’s then Vice-President, Lord Puttnam, paid tribute to the master film maker.
The ambition and quality of his work from 1930 to 1984 confirms Sir David Lean as one of cinema's most exceptional film-makers.
We recall the grand opening of the newly-refurbished David Lean Room, described as “A fitting Tribute to one of the giants”.
A master of visual storytelling and one of the early champions of the Academy in the 1940s, David Lean retains a special place in the history of British Film.
Sir David Lean passed away on 16 April 1991. BAFTA News covered the moving memorial ceremony held later that year at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
We open-up the pages of a 1962 Academy Journal dedicated to Lawrence of Arabia, and explore Lean’s epic production with the crew who made it happen.
From the late 1960s, David Lean’s letter offers an extraordinary insight into the Academy’s origins and development.
Chairman David Lean addresses the membership in a British Film Academy publication dating from 1948.
In an extract from the Academy's 1952 Quarterly publication, David Lean debates the cost of ‘Prestige Films’.