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
Sir Alec Guinness and Director Sir David Lean quarrelled frequently on the set of this movie. According to Guinness, Lean was "acting the part of a super-star director" and frequently insulted Guinness' performance and him personally. This caused a rift to develop between the two and they didn't work together again until A Passage to India (1984). See more »
The frame story (where Zhivago's half-brother finds his and Lara's daughter and tells the story) is set in the 1960s, but the daughter, who was born around 1920-1921, is only in her early 20s. In the novel, the frame story is set in World War II, which makes more sense. See more »
If they were to give me two more excavators, I'd be a year ahead of the plan by now.
Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago:
You're an impatient generation.
Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago:
Yes, we were, very. Oh, don't be so impatient, Comrade Engineer. We've come very far, very fast.
Yes, I know that, Comrade General.
Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago:
Yes, but do you know what it cost? There were children in those days who lived off human flesh. Did you know that?
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In the original 1965 version, the film has a prolonged end title with just "Presented by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer" superimposed over a shot of water rushing out of the dam. For the 1999 re-release, the MGM line was removed and replaced with "Presented by Turner Entertainment Co." followed by restoration and sound remixing credits, also superimposed over the shot. See more »
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.
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