Delve into the Academy Archive and explore the career 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.
Sir David Lean: A Fitting Farewell
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.
Read Sir David Lean's BAFTA Obituary >
The Making of Lawrence of Arabia
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.
Read the Lawrence of Arabia feature >
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.
Read Lord Puttnam's Tribute to David Lean >
Addressing the Membership - 1948
Academy Chairman David Lean addresses the membership in a British Film Academy publication dating from 1948.
Read a transcript of this address >
In an extract from the Academy's 1952 Quarterly publication, David Lean debates the cost of ‘Prestige Films’.
Read this piece of editorial from 1952 >
In the late 1960s David Lean typed a letter to the members of the British Film Academy, outlining his feelings about donating profits from his films and describing the early vision of the Academy.
View an original scan of the letter >
Official Opening of the David Lean Room
We recall the grand opening of the newly-refurbished David Lean Room, described as “A fitting Tribute to one of the giants”.
Read this piece of BAFTA news from 1999 >
From one British cinema legend to another: Lord Attenborough pays tribute to Sir David Lean.
Read Lord Attenborough's Tribute to Sir David Lean >
Famed producer, Sir Anthony Havelock-Allan recollects a long association with Sir David Lean in an edition of BAFTA News from June 1991.
Read Havelock-Allan's recollections >
View a selection of photos from BAFTA's archive, showing David Lean at Academy events over the years.
View the David Lean Archive Photo Gallery >