Two-time Academy Award winner, Sir David Lean (1908-1991) was a prominent director in the world of twentieth-century cinema, responsible for such classics as "The Bridge on the River Kwai", "Doctor Zhivago", and "Lawrence of Arabia". British-born Lean asserted himself in Hollywood as a major artistic voice with his epic storytelling and panoramic depictions of history, but he was also a highly skilled film editor in Great Britain before he became a director who brought an art-house sensibility to big-market films. Lean's approach to filmmaking was far different from that of his contemporaries. He carefully chose his projects and, as a result, directed only sixteen films in a span of more than forty years. Those films, however, are some of the landmarks of motion-picture history. In addition to his epics, Lean also made adaptations of well-known novels, including "Great Expectations", "Oliver Twist", and "A Passage to India", and plays, including "Brief Encounter". Using elements of both biography and film criticism, author Gene D. Phillips examines the screenplays and production histories central to Lean's body of work and interviews actors and directors who worked with Lean.Phillips also explores Lean's lesser-studied films, such as "The Passionate Friends", unearthing new details. This in-depth examination of Lean in a cultural, historic, and cinematic context makes "Beyond the Epic" truly unique - a vital assessment of a great director's artistic process and his place in an evolving film industry.