Doctor Zhivago (1965)

PG-13   |    |  Drama, Romance, War

Doctor Zhivago (1965) Poster

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 World War I and then the October Revolution.




  • David Lean and Robert Bolt in Doctor Zhivago (1965)
  • Julie Christie and Omar Sharif in Doctor Zhivago (1965)
  • Geraldine Chaplin and Omar Sharif in Doctor Zhivago (1965)
  • David Lean in Doctor Zhivago (1965)
  • Gregory Peck at an event for Doctor Zhivago (1965)
  • Doctor Zhivago (1965)

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User Reviews

10 December 2006 | bkoganbing
| Romance And Revolution
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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Did You Know?


For the movie's 30th anniversary, the Turner Entertainment Company created a new print to be used for a theatrical re-issue, and new home videos. Over the years, heavy demand for prints around the world had left the original negative worn and scratched, forcing MGM to use duplicate negatives for some sequences. Fortunately, the original negative had not suffered from color degeneration, so technicians created new printing masters that eliminated the scratches. They also returned to the original sound elements to create a new soundtrack that was then recorded in DTS Digital Stereo. When the new version premiered at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, some viewers thought the movie looked even better than it had at its premiere.


Kostoyed Amourski: I'm a FREE man.
Kostoyed Amourski: . I am the only free man on this train! The rest of you are CATTLE!


In the teaching lab, Yuri's view through the microscope is time-lapse footage of what appear to be live cancer cells from culture. In real time, the cells move so slowly that it's barely noticeable, even through a microscope.

Alternate Versions

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.


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


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Drama | Romance | War


Release Date:

31 December 1965


English, Russian, French

Country of Origin

Italy, USA

Filming Locations

Aldeadávila de la Ribera, Salamanca, Spain

Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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