Films of David Lean

Ref: C2340996

The course will give an overview of his career, highlighting: the early wartime films (In Which We Serve) adaptations of Dickens (Great Expectations) exploring Englishness (Brief Encounter, Hobson’s Choice) the historic epics (Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia) the literary adaptations (Doctor Zhivago, Passage to India) It will look at the use of light and shade in the black and white films and how that affected his depiction of landscape and character, through to his use of colour and the new subjects that allowed him to explore with new ways to tell stories. It will explore the use of key character actors of their time (Charles Laughton, Alec Guinness, Peggy Ashcroft). It will compare his work with that of key British contemporaries (Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Powell). It will look at how his work influenced later directors. It will argue that David Lean deserves to be compared with the great American directors of epic films (Cecil B DeMille, William Wyler)

Course aim

To gain an appreciation of the films of David Lean, to recognise the themes and attitudes in his work, to understand how he developed as a director and to evaluate his place among his contemporaries

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • appreciate the achievements of David Lean
  • appreciate the range of subject matter and treatments covered in his films
  • recognise his unique approach to filmmaking
  • recognise how his films have been influenced by the culture and values of British life of the time
  • appreciate his achievements in epic filmmaking and how they stand comparison with the works of Hollywood directors

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full course information sheet

Films of David Lean


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing