During the Russian Revolution, Dr. Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif) is a young doctor who has been raised by his aunt and uncle following his father's suicide. Yuri falls in love with beautiful Lara Guishar (Julie Christie), who has been having an affair with her mother's lover, Victor Komarovsky (Rod Steiger), an unscrupulous businessman. Yuri, however, ends up marrying his cousin, Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin). But when he and Lara meet again years later, the spark of love reignites.Written by
Although Sir David Lean had championed Julie Christie to studio executives, during early days of filming, he had a hard time getting what he wanted out of her. Rather than give her time to explore the role, he kept at her to get exactly what he wanted. When they returned to the hot Spanish locations after time in icebound Finland, she finally collapsed under the pressure. Gradually, however, they developed a working rapport. Lean took to visiting her in her apartment in Madrid and was quick to accept her suggestions for the script. By the time production had finished, they had forged a lasting friendship, though they would never work together again. See more »
When Komarovkski and Lara leave the ice palace, there is already a set of tracks in the snow in front of the sleigh, even though it had just arrived. The tracks were probably left over from a previous take. See more »
I used to admire your poetry.
I shouldn't admire it now. I should find it absurdly personal. Don't you agree? Feelings, insights, affections... it's suddenly trivial now. You don't agree; you're wrong. The personal life is dead in Russia. History has killed it. I can see why you might hate me.
I hate everything you say, but not enough to kill you for it.
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When it was first released, the film originally ran 197 minutes. Early in its run, David Lean and editor Norman Savage shortened it to 180 minutes; this version was in circulation for years. By the mid-1990s, the uncut version was restored. See more »
No wonder the highest directorial achievement for direction of the British Academy of Film and Television is named after David Lean. An artist who knew how to combine great performances, with breathtaking settings, haunting soundtrack, in order to create works of art that are to remain as pillars for the future generations of film-makers.
"Doctor Zhivago" is definitely one of his most outstanding works, a film that breathes with life, and suffers with passion. Neither, though, of the credited people can take as much credit for it, as David Lean. Omar Sharif delivers one of his best performances of his career, Julie Christie has never been as stunning, or Rod Steiger as Komarovsky or Tom Courtenay as Antipov ever left more memorable performances than these ones. Not even Maurice Jarre, who composed one of the most unforgettable themes in film history, or Robert Bolt, for his skillful adaptation on Pasternak's difficult novel, not even Freddy Young's cinematography, can rise above the vibration of genius, which is David Lean. We almost feel the complexity of the universe collapsing on us with a mad power that we instantly become part of it, and fall in love with all its particles.
For those who haven't seen the film, this might make little sense, and it can give a misleading understanding of what one is to expect. "Doctor Zhivago" is a poet, who at the beginning of the 20th Century is caught in the historical Bolshevik revolution. An outstanding doctor, married to his childhood friend, Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin in a warm performance), finds that there is beauty beyond deceit, love beyond commitment, by starting an affair with an enigmatic lady which appears often in his path in the most unnoticeable of moments. Their destiny is as confused as Russia in the turmoil started by the Reds, it is shaped by history without their approval. There is no solution for a country that abandoned its passions in its desire of self-improvement, just as for the two lovers, which find themselves abandoned in the middle of the Siberian taiga.
This is a slow film and for the good reasons. We are allowed to breathe the story, to give it momentum, and to judge it from within, as if the choices were not Yury's, Lara's or Tonya's, but our own creation. And this is the brilliance of Lean's direction. The story transcends time and space, and it melts within the triviality of our life. Beyond it, we are left with nothing but love, pure and blindingly real.
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