Down 229 this week

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance, War  |  31 December 1965 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 53,243 users  
Reviews: 246 user | 84 critic

The life of a Russian physician and poet who, although married to another, falls in love with a political activist's wife and experiences hardship during the First World War and then the October Revolution.



(novel) (as Boris Leonidovic Pasternak) , (screenplay)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Won 5 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Cultural mistrust and false accusations doom a friendship in British colonial India between an Indian doctor, an Englishwoman engaged to marry a city magistrate, and an English educator.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Judy Davis, Victor Banerjee, Peggy Ashcroft
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Set in the wake of the 1916 Easter Rising, a married woman in a small Irish village has an affair with a troubled British officer.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Trevor Howard, John Mills
Blood Wedding (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: Carlos Saura
Stars: Antonio Gades, Cristina Hoyos, Juan Antonio Jiménez
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An American businessman's family convinces him to buy a Scottish castle and disassemble it to ship it to America brick by brick, where it will be put it back together. The castle though is ... See full summary »

Director: René Clair
Stars: Robert Donat, Jean Parker, Eugene Pallette
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After the bankruptcy of their father's stonemasonry firm, brothers Nicola and Andrea emigrate to America to restore their fortunes. After many adventures and near-disasters, they end up in ... See full summary »

Directors: Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani
Stars: Vincent Spano, Joaquim de Almeida, Greta Scacchi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An American in Paris lives by sponging off his working friends, and throws a party using borrowed money when his rich American aunt dies, believing firmly in his horoscope.

Director: Eric Rohmer
Stars: Jess Hahn, Michèle Girardon, Van Doude
Lili Marleen (1981)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In Switzerland German singer 'Willie' falls in love with Jewish composer 'Robert' who offers resistance to the Nazis by helping refugees. But his family thinks that 'Willie' is also a Nazi ... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Hanna Schygulla, Giancarlo Giannini, Mel Ferrer
Codine (1963)
Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An ex-convict struggles to survive by brute force alone in a turn-of-the-century slum in Braila. Codine (Alexandre Virgil Platon) is the thug who served 10 years for murdering a friend. He ... See full summary »

Director: Henri Colpi
Stars: Alexandru Virgil Platon, Razvan Petrescu, Françoise Brion
Trotta (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Director: Johannes Schaaf
Stars: András Bálint, Rosemarie Fendel, Doris Kunstmann
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After another cardiac arrest, Armand knows he doesn't have long to live. But after more than 70 years in the same house, he doesn't want to die anywhere else. His wife, Rose, has secretly ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Pierre Lefebvre
Stars: Marthe Nadeau, J. Léo Gagnon, Marcel Sabourin
The Novena (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Director: Bernard Émond
Stars: Elise Guilbault, Patrick Drolet, Marie-Josée Bastien
Mon amie Max (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Catherine, a concert pianist, is surprised one night by the arrival of her best friend from childhood, Marie-Alexandrine (Max), whom she hasn't seen for 25 years. Catherine and Max were ... See full summary »

Director: Michel Brault
Stars: Geneviève Bujold, Marthe Keller, Johanne McKay


Cast overview, first billed only:
Siobhan McKenna ...
Rita Tushingham ...
The Girl
Jeffrey Rockland ...
Tarek Sharif ...
The Bolshevik
Gérard Tichy ...
Liberius (as Gerard Tichy)
Noel Willman ...


Lara inspires lechery in Komarovsky (her mother's lover who is a master at surviving whoever runs Russia) and can't compete with passion for the revolution of the man she marries, Pasha. Her true love is Zhivago who also loves his wife. Lara is the one who inspires poetry. The story is narrated by Zhivago's half brother Yevgraf, who has made his career in the Soviet Army. At the beginning of the film he is about to meet a young woman he believes may be the long lost daughter of Lara and Zhivago. Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | epic | russia | physician | brother | See All (169) »


Turbulent were the times and fiery was the love story of Zhivago, his wife and the passionate, tender Lara. See more »


Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature themes | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


| |


| |

Release Date:

31 December 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Doktor Schiwago  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)


$111,722,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (1999 re-release) | (1992 re-release)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (5.0) (L-R)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Among its highly diverse international cast, this film contains almost zero Russian actors or even actors of Russian heritage. See more »


In the medical teaching lab Yuri's view through the microscope is actually time-lapse footage of what appear to be moving animal cells, probably live cancer cells from culture. The movements of such cells are so slow in real time as to be virtually unnoticeable, even when magnified through a microscope. See more »


Lara: Wouldn't it have been lovely if we'd met before?
Zhivago: Before we did? Yes.
Lara: We'd have got married, had a house and children. If we'd had children, Yuri, would you like a boy or girl?
Zhivago: I think we may go mad if we think about all that.
Lara: I shall always think about it.
See more »


Referenced in Red Heat (1988) See more »


Prelude in G minor, Op.23-5
(1901) (uncredited)
Composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Magnificent Film!
17 January 2002 | by (Salem, Oregon) – See all my reviews

Within the heart and mind of the true poet resides a grasp and perception of life and the human condition unequaled in it's purity by any other art form. From Rimbaud to Frost to Jim Morrison, he will in a few words or lines create or recreate an experience, thereby enabling his audience to know that experience, as well, albeit vicariously. The poet, of course, will choose the medium through which he will share his vision. For director David Lean, that medium is the cinema; and with `Doctor Zhivago,' a film of sweeping and poetic grandeur, he reveals that within, he harbors the heart and soul of the poet. Indisputably, this is the true nature of David Lean; and it is evident in every frame of this film from the beginning to end.

To borrow a line from the more recent `Moulin Rouge,' this is a story bout `love.' A love story set against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution. Dr. Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif) is a general practitioner, but he is also a poet; through his vocation as a man of medicine, he tends to those in need in everyday real life. But it is through his avocation as a poet that he expresses what he sees. He marries Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin) and has children; but the War and revolution intervene, and it is during these tumultuous times that his life becomes inexorably intertwined with a government official, Komarovsky (Rod Steiger), a young revolutionary, Pasha (Tom Courtenay), his half-brother, Yevgraf (Alec Guinness), and finally, Lara (Julie Christie). It's desperate times for Russians from all walks of life, and Zhivago does what he can to do what he can to keep the fragile threads of his life-- and of those around him-- intact. But fate plays a hand, and in the end, even Zhivago must go where Destiny leads.

With `Zhivago,' David Lean has crafted and delivered a magnificent and monumental motion picture of epic proportions that at the same time is disarmingly intimate, rendered as a world within a world, with each a vital part of the other. Lean blends actors, cinematography, story and music with his own compassionate perspective to create a true work of art; a work of true poetry. In telling his story, he offers breathtaking visuals, like the awesome vistas of the snow-covered Urals, or a long shot of a wide open Russian plain with a solitary figure in the distance trudging through the snow, juxtaposed against the enormity of the landscape.

Often, however, what he doesn't show you, but suggests, is even more effective and emotionally stirring. Consider the scene in which a complement of mounted dragoons, sabres drawn, ride down upon a crowd peacefully demonstrating in the city streets; Lean sets it up so that you understand what is about to happen, then trains his camera on Zhivago, watching from a balcony overlooking the street as the carnage unfolds below. And in Zhivago's eyes, in the expression on his face, in his reaction to what he is witnessing, there is more horror because of what Lean has established in your imagination-- and which significantly enhances the impact of it-- than anything the most graphic visual depiction could have produced. Similarly, when the Czar and his whole family are shot, Lean does not take you there; instead, you learn of it and realize the impact of it through the reaction of Alexander Gromeko (Ralph Richardson), Tonya's father, and it places it into a context that makes it all the more effective. This is filmmaking at it's best, and an example of what makes Lean's films so memorable.

Put a talented actor into the hands of a gifted director, and results of more than some distinction can be expected; and such is the case with Omar Sharif and David Lean. In 1962, Sharif received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his work in Lean's `Lawrence of Arabia,' and in `Zhivago,' Lean's next film, Sharif gives a sensitive, affecting performance for which he should have received a Best Actor nomination, but inexplicably, did not (It was Lee Marvin's year for `Cat Ballou'). Still, as Yuri Zhivago, he has never been better. Sharif successfully manages to convey his deepest, internalized emotions, expressing them through the genuine compassion with which he imbues his character. Lean allows his star the time he needs to share with his audience his appreciation of the beauty he perceives in the world around him, and it's in those pensive moments that we, in turn, perceive the inner beauty and poetic nature of the man. You have but to look into Zhivago's eyes to know his sense of joy in all living things. It's a wonderful collaboration between actor and director that so vividly and poignantly brings this character to life.

1965 was a career year for Julie Christie; she received the Oscar for Best Actress for her work in `Darling,' yet in this film created an even more enduring and memorable character in Lara (aided in no small part by the hauntingly lovely `Lara's Theme,' by Maurice Jarre, which indelibly etched Christie/Lara in the consciousness of `Zhivago's vast, international audience). Lara's beauty is obvious, yet of a kind that goes much deeper than what you see on the surface; her station in life has made her vulnerable to misuse, but at the same time has endowed her with a strength born of necessity. And Zhivago sees in her a quality and a resourcefulness that fulfills his romantic notions of perfection, and with a beguiling screen presence and a performance to match, Christie makes those notions credible and believable.

Guinness, Richardson and Courtenay are exceptional in their respective roles-- Lean without question knows how to get the best out of his actors-- and also turning in noteworthy performances are Siobhan McKenna (Anna), Rita Tushingham (The Girl) and Klaus Kinski, who is unforgettable as Kostoyed, manacled and designated for forced labor, yet the `Freest man on this train!' One of Lean's greatest films. 10/10.

62 of 78 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Chaplin/Tonya, or Christie/Lara? fnj2002
Why is this film NOTconsidered one of the greatest films of all time? BanduDandu
why dr zhivago didn't leave russia with lara, If he loved her so much? erfanall
Julie Christie looks like Peter O' Tool? shomy007
Why did Sharif get such poor billing on the movie poster? imdb-19700
funeral kontakion lyrics pivokocka
Discuss Doctor Zhivago (1965) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: