An exquisite historical film with spectacular production detail based on Boris Pasternak’s novel about Russia at the time of the Revolution.
The plot concerns a series of brief encounters – between the idealistic doctor and poet Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif), his loved one Lara (Julie Christie), his half-brother (Alec Guinness), the villainous sensualist Komarovsky (Rod Steiger), and the student Pasha who will become the revolutionary Strelnikoff (Tom Courtenay).
Omar Sharif and Julie Christie canoodle inside a fairy tale castle while director David Lean goes on a seemingly endless trek across the troubled century and the snow-covered Steppes.
It’s fur hats and muffs in abundance as demon Dave attempts to do for the white stuff what he did for sand in Lawrence of Arabia three years earlier.
Shooting took nine months in Finland, Canada and Spain, where a huge exterior set representing 1917 Moscow was erected.
The big-name cast also includes Rita Tushingham, Ralph Richardson, and Geraldine Chaplin, and despite the presence of Alec Guinness, the Finnish snow is the real star because Sharif has all the charisma of a bag of sawdust.
Maurice Jarre’s Lara’s Theme became a popular hit of the time – and it is Lara, not Zhivago, who is the theme of the film – it’s heart and soul.
Dr Zhivago was re-released in a restored version for its 30th anniversary in 1995.
Yuri, aged eight