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Legendary generation-spanning epic about The Russian Revolution starring Omar Sharif as a doctor meeting the challenges of a World Gone Mad. Directed by David Lean as a follow-up to Lawrence of Arabia with similarly dramatic vistas, this time of the Russian steppe.
Featuring Julie Christie as Lara, the object of Yuri's affections, and Rod Steiger as the manipulative Komarovsky. Other cast members include Alec Guinness, Geraldine Chaplin, Tom Courtenay, and Ralph Richardson.
For its epic scope, Sharif's performance, and David Lean's visual style, the film is generally praised as a classic. It is also notable for Maurice Jarre's music score, which includes the world famous "Lara's Theme".
It also the heralded the last of MGM's great epic movies, as they announced even during production. They simply didnt have the moolah to finance these vast vista works with thousands of extras and a cast full of stars: the next movie they made was one twentieth of this cost.
A Russian version of the movie was done in 2006 with a total running time of over 8 hours, thus hewing closer to the book.
Masterpiece Theatre in 2002 also made a Miniseries.. Perhaps could have been the basis for a High Concept Forensic Drama; (Burdened by equipment shortages, Dr. Zhivago solves tough cases... IN SOVIET RUSSIA!) but, fortunately, it wasn't.
Based on the epic novel by Russian poet and writer Boris Leonidovich Pasternak.
- A World Half Full: quintessential example.
- Actor Allusion: Completely unintended (the filmmakers couldn't possibly have known) but effective all the same, for a modern audience, when Yevgraf tells Tonya, "I knew your father" early in the film, thus anticipating the same line used almost twenty years later by Alec Guinness to a like-aged character in another film for which he is better remembered by younger viewers.
- Adorkable: Pasha Antipov
- Beard of Sorrow: Both the film and the tv serial show Yuri growing a beard when he is conscripted into the Red Partisan army.
- Bishonen: Pasha Antipov, complete with spectacles.
- Big Bad Wolves: You will fear wolf howls in 40 below...
- Bittersweet Ending: Downer Ending, depending how you look at it.
- The downer ending is that Yuri and Lara die apart, with Yuri especially dying of a heart attack chasing after a woman he thinks is Lara. The bittersweet ending is that Zhivago's adopted brother, trying to find Yuri and Lara's love child years later, thinks he's found the young woman. However, the young woman refuses to admit it, fearful that the Soviet general would punish her rather than delight in finding her.
- Book Ends: The streetcar scenes with Yuri and Lara at the beginning and end of the film.
- Cool Train: The armored war train.
- Doorstopper: The novel was begun by Boris Pasternak in the 1910's and finished 1956!
- Damsel in Distress: Lara.
- Deadpan Snarker: Zhivago takes this tone with the Party delegates who now live in his old house in Moscow upon his return from World War One. They notice. Oh, yes, they notice.
Delegate: (Reviewing Zhivago's discharge papers) Holy Cross? (beat) What?
Zhivago: Holy Cross Hospital. It's on--
Tonya: (interrupting) The Second Reformed Hospital, he means.
Zhivago: Oh. (beat) Good. It needed reforming.
Delegate: (beat, with icy We Are Not Amused gaze)
- After pointedly reminding Dr. Zhivago that he's "been listening to rumormongers, Comrade. There is no typhus in our city," the delegate shortly thereafter has Zhivago pulled from work to discreetly diagnose an ill man in the house.
Zhivago: Why? Is it typhus?
Zhivago: (after inspecting patient) It isn't typhus. It's another disease we don't have in Moscow: starvation.
Delegate: That seems to give you satisfaction.
Zhivago: It would give me satisfaction to hear you admit it.
Delegate: Would it? Why?
Zhivago: Because it is so.
Delegate: Your attitude is noticed, you know. Oh, yes, it's been noticed!
- He must have learned it from his medical professor. While watching a piano recital with his wife:
Mrs Kurt: Boris! This is genius!
Professor Kurt:(looking bored) "Really? I thought it was Rachmaninoff. I'm going for a smoke.
- Death of the Hypotenuse: Pasha. It doesn't stick.
- Dirty Communists: subverted, as events are shown from their perspective.
- Distant Finale: Lara's daughter, hard at work building a dam, gets her balalaika back from Yevgraf.
- Dissonant Serenity: The abandoned dacha (palace) full of ice.
- Doomed Moral Victor: Sort of.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Zhivago's love for Lara.
- Epic Movie
- Mr. Fanservice: Omar was big in the '60s.
- Fake Nationality: The Egyptian Omar Sharif as Yuri Zhivago.
- Framing Device: Yevgraf and Tonya in the '50s.
- Glorious Mother Russia: in Glorious Technicolor.
- Golden Age of Hollywood: David Lean.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars
- Heroic BSOD: Pasha
- He Who Fights Monsters: Pasha, arguably.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Strelnikov
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Nick Harper is Antipov in the miniseries.
"Hey, Dad. Take a look at me new armoured train. I bought it off some Russian bloke in a pub for 20 quid."
- Hot Librarian: Lara briefly becomes one.
- The Ishmael: Yevgraf
- Knight Templar: Strelnikov.
- La Résistance: Pasha Antipov.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority
- Life Imitates Art: Yuri's poetry only becomes politically correct with the Soviets after his death.
- Long-Lost Relative: Yevgraf.
- Lzherusskie: Omar Sharif is Egyptian.
- Manipulative Bastard: Komarovsky.
- Memento MacGuffin: The balalaika.
- Mickey Mousing: The poem writing scene.
- Most Writers Are Writers: Doctor Zhivago becomes a reknowned poet in the Soviet Union.
- Never Accepted in His Hometown: Both Zhivago and Pasternak are not appreciated until after they and/or Stalin die.
- Pasternak's book was originally banned in the Soviet Union.
- Not Blood Siblings: Zhivago and Tonya, who end up married. Only for Zhivago to chase Lara instead...
- One Degree of Separation: The story is packed full of odd coincidences.
- One-Scene Wonder: The Anarchist being sent to the gulag. He chastises the other passengers, saying they are the slaves. Played by none other than Klaus Kinski (For a Few Dollars More, Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo).
- Pretty in Mink
- Punch Clock Villain: Yevgraf works for the Bolsheviks but he doesn't quite share their fanatical points of view.
- Rape as Drama
- Real Life Writes the Plot
- Released to Elsewhere
- The Reveal: The last ten minutes of the first half of the movie build up the fear of Strelnikov, the merciless Bolshevik general. And then as his Bright Red War Train passes, we see... It'S PASHA!!
- Stoic Spectacles: Pasha.
- Romanovs and Revolutions: Nobody expects The Russian Revolution!
- Scenery Porn: Culminating on the frozen dacha (manor house) full of ice.
- Spiritual Successor: to Lawrence of Arabia.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: OMAR SHARIF. That is all.
- That Man Is Dead: There is only Strelnikov.
- Thicker Than Water: Yuri's long lost half-brother, Yevgraf, is working for the Bolshevik government and arranges passes for Yuri and his family out of Moscow when his poetry is condemned.
- Train Station Goodbye
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Dr. Zhivago
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Pasha
- Wham! Line: "Strelnikov."
- You Are in Command Now
- You Will Be Spared: Dr. Zhivago's unplanned encounter with Strelnikov ends in this.