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
Omar Sharif (Dr. Yuri Zhivago) had to undergo the daily inconvenience of having his eyes taped back and his hair straightened to disguise his Egyptian looks. He also had his hairline shaved up about two to three inches and his skin waxed, a process which had to be repeated every three days. See more »
In the deserters scene, after the speaking officer is shot and falls in the water barrel, several of the extras can clearly be heard speaking Spanish. See more »
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 »
Sensitive and spectacular classic movie set during Russian revolution but shot in marvelous Spanish outdoors
The life of a Russian physician and poet (Omar Sharif) who, although married to another (Geraldine Chaplin) , falls in love with a political activist's wife . She is Lara (well played by Julie Christie ; Yvette Mimieux and Jane Fonda were rejected for the part) , a young and beautiful girl who is loved by three men: a revolutionary (Tom Courtenay) , a mogul called Kamarovsky (Rod Steiger though David Lean original choice for the part had been James Mason). Their lives become intertwined with the drama of Russian revolution . Doctor Zhivago is still married when he meets Lara. Their love story is unfolding against the backdrop of revolution which affects the doctor's career, his family, and his love to Lara.
This classical movie contains emotion , intense drama , love stories and historical events . Impressive production design , colorful cinematography shot in standard 35mm Panavision anamorphic and emotive as well as evocative musical score , all of them create a real masterpiece , thanks to the great David Lean . Several producers and studios bid for the rights to the Boris Pasternak's novel, which Carlo Ponti won in 1963 , but the budget ballooned from $5 million to $15 million . He wanted the film to be as grand as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), so he recruited the crew of that film, including director David Lean, screenwriter Robert Bolt, cinematographer Freddie Young, production designer John Box , art designer Terence Marsh and composer Maurice Jarre . A portentous performance from all star cast and notorious support actors help deeply to originate a wonderful film . Adequate acting by Omar Sharif , though David Lean's first choice for the title role was Peter O'Toole who declined, citing the grueling experience of having made Lawrence of Arabia (1962) ; Sharif asked Lean to consider him for the role of Pavel Antipov and was surprised when Lean instead offered him the title role. However , Sharif claimed that he was close to breakdown throughout most of filming due to stress over playing such a high-profile role and David Lean's demands on him. Supporting cast is frankly excellent such as Alec Guinness as Yevgraf , Tom Courtenay as Pasha , Ralph Richardson as Alexander , Siobhan McKenna as Anna Klaus Kinski as Kostoyed , Gérard Tichy as Liberius , Adrienne Corri as Amelia , Jack MacGowran as Petya . And Geraldine Chaplin's English language film debut , as David Lean discovered Geraldine Chaplin when he spotted her on the cover of a magazine and enjoyable Rita Tushingham who filmed her part in two weeks .
The film was shot in Spain during the regime of Gen. Francisco Franco. Thousands of extras were used, including Spanish soldiers and villagers, and Finnish Laplanders for the scenes in Siberia when Zhivago deserts the Red Army . While the scene with the crowd chanting the Marxist theme was being filmed , police showed up at the set thinking that a real revolution was taking place and insisted on staying until the scene was finished. Apparently, people who lived near where filming was taking place had awoken to the sound of revolutionary singing and had mistakenly believed that Franco had been overthrown. As the extras sang the revolutionary Internationale for a protest scene, the secret police surveyed the crowd, making many of the extras pretend that they didn't know the words. Breathtaking set design , Moscow set built in Canillas was half a mile long, and the inside of the ice palace was mostly made up specifically formed wax. Furthermore , Strelnikov's armored train was a very accurate replica of actual trains that were used during WWI and WWII to patrol areas with heavy snow that were unaccessable to trucks or tanks. And over 4000 daffodils were imported from the Netherlands and placed on the outskirts of the mountain town of Soria, where Zhivago's father-in-law's country estate was located. Colorful and glamorous cinematography by Freddie Young ; according to Young, before he reluctantly agreed to take the director of photography job following an exhausting collaboration on Lawrence of Arabia (1962), David Lean had a major falling-out with the previous director of photography, Nicolas Roeg, over creative differences. After Young took over, an additional two weeks of photography was required to re-shoot the scenes that Roeg had shot.
Initially the film failed to make much impact at the box office, probably due to the critics' lukewarm reception to it . But gradually, audiences started to pick up, probably due to the incredible popularity of Maurice Jarre's "Lara's Theme" by Maurice Jarre . In fact , as of 2010, adjusted for inflation, Doctor Zhivago (1965) is the 8th biggest grossing film of all time After Gone with the wind (1939), the second most profitable film in MGM's history and grossed more than every other film David Lean had directed put together . The flick had a remake Doctor Zhivago (2002) (TV) by Giacomo Campiotti with Hans Matheson as Yury Zhivago , Keira Knightley as Lara Antipova , Bill Paterson as Alexander Gromyko , Sam Neill as Victor Komarovsky and Alexandra Maria Lara as Tonya Gromyko Zhivago .
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