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Doctor Zhivago (1965)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance, War | 31 December 1965 (USA)
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)
3,410 ( 234)

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Won 5 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Siobhan McKenna ...
The Girl
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


The entertainment event of the year! See more »


Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

31 December 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Doktor Schiwago  »

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?


Omar Sharif directed Tarek Sharif himself as a way to get closer to his character. See more »


When Yuri, Lara and her daughter are riding in the sleigh on the way to the ice palace, the close-up shots show the three of them in the sleigh. In the wide shot where the sleigh goes over a bump, there is only one driver in the sleigh and no passengers. See more »


Gromeko: What I want to know is how we're going to stay alive this winter.
See more »


Referenced in Gray Matters (2006) See more »


The Internationale
Lyrics by Eugène Pottier
Music by Pierre De Geyter
[Sung by crowd in the street]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Romance And Revolution
10 December 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

You really do miss something when you see a formatted version of Doctor Zhivago as I recently did. This is the kind of film that was made literally for the big screen. It's what epic movie making is all about.

I also think that you should see this on the big screen back to back with Warren Beatty's Reds. Two very opposite views of the Russian Revolution, one from the inside and one from the outside. You could have a very interesting discussion on which is which.

The title character, played by Omar Sharif, is Dr. Yuri Zhivago who is both doctor and poet. He was orphaned as a child and raised in the house of Ralph Richardson and Siobhan McKenna. He marries their daughter, Geraldine Chaplin who of course he loves, but naturally like a sister.

The real passion of his life is Julie Christie who is married to a committed Bolshevik in Tom Courtenay. Courtenay is also a guy, with shall we say, some issues. She loves him in her own way though and goes to search for him when he volunteers for the army to subvert it as the Bolshevik plan was when Russia entered World War I.

Christie meets Sharif at the front and the passion ignites. But all around them the society they knew and were brought up in is crumbling about them. Their story set against the background of the Russian Revolution is what Doctor Zhivago is all about.

Zhivago knows change was inevitable, the old order in Russia was ready to be toppled. But he's a poet and not one to let his art be subverted for the sake of the state. Fortunately he's also a doctor and his services are needed, in fact the Bolsheviks rather brutally insist on his accompanying one of their brigades as a medical officer.

I still remember as a lad the acclaim Boris Pasternak's novel got world wide when it was published while being banned in his home land. After winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, Pasternak died shortly thereafter. It's a pity he did not live to see this film, I think he would have approved.

From the deserts of Arabia to the steppes of Russia, David Lean certainly knew how to direct a film that involved vastness. Yet the people of his stories be it Lawrence of Arabia or Doctor Zhivago never get lost in the spectacle. Lean makes you care about the characters that Pasternak created, you get involved in the romance of Sharif and Christie, you want to know if they'll make it in this country undergoing revolutionary convulsions.

Other performances of note are Alec Guinness as Sharif's half brother Yevgeny Zhivago, a committed Bolshevik himself and Rod Steiger as the opportunistic Komorovsky.

Doctor Zhivago won a host of awards in several technical categories, strangely enough it wasn't nominated for Best Picture in 1965 though. It is a classic and even now with the Soviet Union a memory, I doubt if even a Russian made remake of Zhivago could equal what David Lean and his wonderful cast gave us in 1965.

36 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
Why is this film NOTconsidered one of the greatest films of all time? BanduDandu
Chaplin/Tonya, or Christie/Lara? fnj2002
My favorite line in Doctor Zhivago zenstyle
why dr zhivago didn't leave russia with lara, If he loved her so much? erfanall
Hi, can you help me please.. dmorkunas1
Julie Christie looks like Peter O' Tool? shomy007
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