Doctor Zhivago


3h 17m 1965
Doctor Zhivago

Brief Synopsis

Illicit lovers fight to stay together during the turbulent years of the Russian Revolution.

Photos & Videos

Doctor Zhivago - Publicity Art
Doctor Zhivago - Costume Design Sketches
Doctor Zhivago - Geraldine Chaplin Publicity Stills

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Historical
War
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
New York opening: 22 Dec 1965
Production Company
Carlo Ponti Productions
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Spain; Finland; Canada
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Doctor Zhivago by Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (trans. by Max Hayward and Manya Harari; New York, 1958).

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 17m
Sound
4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints), 70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints), DTS (re-release) (35 mm prints), Mono (35 mm optical prints)
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Former Bolshevik Police Commissar Yevgraf Zhivago, now a general in charge of a huge Soviet dam, has traced a young girl whom he believes to be the daughter of his half brother, Yuri, and the beautiful Lara. ... The orphaned Yuri goes to live in Moscow with the family of aristocrat Alexander Gromeko. He becomes a doctor and later marries Gromeko's daughter, Tonya. Yuri meets Lara, the daughter of dressmaker Amelia, when he helps save her life after a suicide attempt prompted by her seduction by Komarovsky, Amelia's lover. Yuri and Lara meet again at a party, where Lara vengefully shoots and wounds Komarovsky. She is taken from the party by a young political idealist, Pasha, whom she soon marries. When the Great War breaks out in 1914, Yuri goes to the front to aid the soldiers, and again encounters Lara, who has become a nurse. They fall in love, but though she has been deserted by Pasha, their relationship remains platonic. When Yuri returns to Moscow, he finds the city changed by the revolution. The Gromeko home has been taken over; the government looks with disfavor on Yuri's poetry; and he and his family, cold and starving, travel by train to their country estate in the Urals. At a library in nearby Yuriatin, Yuri again meets Lara, who is in the town to see Pasha, now known as the bandit general Strelnikov. At her apartment, Yuri and Lara make love, and their affair continues for some months. With Tonya pregnant, however, Yuri sees Lara for what he says will be the last time. On his way back to the estate, he is conscripted by the Red Army. In northern Russia, Yuri deserts the army and makes his way hundreds of miles to Yuriatin. He finds that his family has been deported to France, and he goes to Lara's apartment. Yuri and Lara are soon met by Komarovsky, who tells them that they are in danger, Yuri for his poetry and his family's associations with partisan groups in Paris, and Lara because of her associations both with Yuri and her husband. Yuri and Lara move to the estate, where they stay until they can no longer hide. (There Yuri writes a series of poems dedicated to Lara.) About to flee, Yuri changes his mind at the last moment and decides to stay in his homeland. Many years later, Yuri is helped by Yevgraf to find a job. As he travels to work on a streetcar, he sees Lara. He desperately makes his way through the crowded vehicle until he, too, is on the street, but when he tries to call to her, he collapses. Eventually, Lara is arrested, and she spends her last years in a labor camp. ... The young girl has only vague recollections of her past, and the photographs of Lara and Yuri in the latter's book of verse mean nothing to her. She leaves with her boyfriend, and, looking at her from afar, Yevgraf is certain of her identity.

Photo Collections

Doctor Zhivago - Publicity Art
Here are some specialty drawings created by MGM for newspaper and magazine reproduction to publicize Doctor Zhivago (1965), directed by David Lean.
Doctor Zhivago - Costume Design Sketches
Here are a few original costume design sketches for MGM's Doctor Zhivago (1965), starring Julie Christie and Geraldine Chaplin.
Doctor Zhivago - Geraldine Chaplin Publicity Stills
Here are several photos of Geraldine Chaplin taken to help publicize Doctor Zhivago (1965). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Doctor Zhivago - Program Book
Here is the souvenir Program Book sold at Roadshow engagements for the 1965 epic Doctor Zhivago.

Videos

Movie Clip

Doctor Zhivago (1965) - When Your Mother Lost You Director David Lean's remarkable transition, from the opening in contemporary Russia, the meeting of Alec Guinness (as General Zhivago) and Rita Tushingham ("The Girl") to the dramatic funeral of her father's mother, in Doctor Zhivago, 1965.
Doctor Zhivago (1965) - Do People Improve With Age? Lara (Julie Christie) has arranged for her powerful older lover Komarovsky (Rod Steiger) to meet and approve her idealistic boyfriend Pasha (Tom Courtenay), in David Lean's Doctor Zhivago, 1965.
Doctor Zhivago (1965) - An Extraordinary Girl Quick appearances by many principals, as Lara (Julie Christie) surprises Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin), Yuri (Omar Sharif) and especially Komarovsky (Rod Steiger) at a Moscow party, in David Lean's Doctor Zhivago, 1965.
Doctor Zhivago (1965) - She May Be My Brother's Child Opening scene introducing screenwriter Robert Bolt's plot device, Alec Guinness playing a Russian general as the half-brother of the hero, in David Lean's Doctor Zhivago, 1965, from the Boris Pasternak novel.
Doctor Zhivago (1965) - Take Him Inside Moscow, 1905, with Lara (Julie Christie) and Komarovsky (Rod Steiger) traversing the city, Yuri (Omar Sharif, title character) observes as strikers led by Pasha (Tom Courtenay) are attacked by imperial dragoons, uncle Gromeko (Ralph Richardson) to his rescue, in David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago, 1965.
Doctor Zhivago (1965) - Will There Be Wolves In The Forest? Yuri, Tonya and Sasha (Omar Sharif, Geraldine Chaplin, Jeffrey Rockland), with uncle Gromeko (Ralph Richardson) fleeing to the family estate in the Urals, hear tales of a heroic revolutionary warlord, who is revealed to be the long missing Pasha (Tom Courtenay), in David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago, 1965.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Promo

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Historical
War
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
New York opening: 22 Dec 1965
Production Company
Carlo Ponti Productions
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Spain; Finland; Canada
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Doctor Zhivago by Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (trans. by Max Hayward and Manya Harari; New York, 1958).

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 17m
Sound
4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints), 70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints), DTS (re-release) (35 mm prints), Mono (35 mm optical prints)
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Award Wins

Best Art Direction

1965
John Box

Best Cinematography

1965

Best Costume Design

1965
Phyllis Dalton

Best Score

1965

Best Writing, Screenplay

1966

Award Nominations

Best Director

1965
David Lean

Best Editing

1965
Norman Savage

Best Picture

1965

Best Sound

1965

Best Supporting Actor

1965
Tom Courtenay

Articles

The Essentials - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)


Synopsis

Promising young surgeon Yuri Zhivago is happily married to a wife from a good family when a world war, the Russian Revolution and his growing passion for the beautiful Lara disrupt their lives. Though Lara inspires his greatest poetry, they are kept apart by the forces of history until Zhivago defies the Soviet government to flee with his love to the snowbound countryside of his youth. There, they snatch a few moments of happiness until she vanishes with their infant daughter, leaving Zhivago to spend the rest of his life searching for her. Years later, his half-brother, Yevgraf, tracks down a young factory worker who knows little of her past except for her passion for music and poetry which she inherited from her father, Yuri.

Director: David Lean
Producer: Carlo Ponti
Screenplay: Robert Bolt
Based on the novel by Boris Pasternak
Cinematography: Freddie Young
Editing: Norman Savage
Art Direction: John Box
Music: Maurice Jarre
Cast: Omar Sharif (Yuri Zhivago), Julie Christie (Lara), Geraldine Chaplin (Tonya), Rod Steiger (Komarovski), Alec Guinness (Yevgraf), Tom Courtenay (Pasha), Ralph Richardson (Alexander Gromeko), Siobhan McKenna (Anna Gromeko), Rita Tushingham (The Girl), Klaus Kinski (Kostoyed), Jack MacGowran (Petya)
C-180m.

Why Doctor Zhivago is Essential

Doctor Zhivago was the first major western film to capture the turmoil of the Russian Revolution, leading the way for such later epics as Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) and Reds (1981).

Doctor Zhivago was the second of three films teaming David Lean with playwright Robert Bolt. Bolt had previously saved the Lawrence of Arabia (1962) script. Their third collaboration would be Ryan's Daughter (1970), starring Bolt's wife, Sarah Miles.

This was the third of four films Lean made with composer Maurice Jarre. The others were Lawrence of Arabia, Ryan's Daughter and A Passage to India (1984). Jarre won Oscars® for all his Lean collaborations except Ryan's Daughter.

Along with the reissue of Gone With the Wind (1939), Doctor Zhivago saved MGM from bankruptcy in the mid-'60s.

Doctor Zhivago marked a new path for the historical epic. Previous films had simply focused on the scope of world-shaping events. With Zhivago director David Lean and scriptwriter Robert Bolt brought a new romantic sensibility to the epic. That Victorian ideal would inform such later blockbusters as Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), Lady Gray(1986) andTitanic (1997).

by Frank Miller
The Essentials - Doctor Zhivago (1965)

The Essentials - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)

Synopsis Promising young surgeon Yuri Zhivago is happily married to a wife from a good family when a world war, the Russian Revolution and his growing passion for the beautiful Lara disrupt their lives. Though Lara inspires his greatest poetry, they are kept apart by the forces of history until Zhivago defies the Soviet government to flee with his love to the snowbound countryside of his youth. There, they snatch a few moments of happiness until she vanishes with their infant daughter, leaving Zhivago to spend the rest of his life searching for her. Years later, his half-brother, Yevgraf, tracks down a young factory worker who knows little of her past except for her passion for music and poetry which she inherited from her father, Yuri. Director: David Lean Producer: Carlo Ponti Screenplay: Robert Bolt Based on the novel by Boris Pasternak Cinematography: Freddie Young Editing: Norman Savage Art Direction: John Box Music: Maurice Jarre Cast: Omar Sharif (Yuri Zhivago), Julie Christie (Lara), Geraldine Chaplin (Tonya), Rod Steiger (Komarovski), Alec Guinness (Yevgraf), Tom Courtenay (Pasha), Ralph Richardson (Alexander Gromeko), Siobhan McKenna (Anna Gromeko), Rita Tushingham (The Girl), Klaus Kinski (Kostoyed), Jack MacGowran (Petya) C-180m. Why Doctor Zhivago is Essential Doctor Zhivago was the first major western film to capture the turmoil of the Russian Revolution, leading the way for such later epics as Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) and Reds (1981). Doctor Zhivago was the second of three films teaming David Lean with playwright Robert Bolt. Bolt had previously saved the Lawrence of Arabia (1962) script. Their third collaboration would be Ryan's Daughter (1970), starring Bolt's wife, Sarah Miles. This was the third of four films Lean made with composer Maurice Jarre. The others were Lawrence of Arabia, Ryan's Daughter and A Passage to India (1984). Jarre won Oscars® for all his Lean collaborations except Ryan's Daughter. Along with the reissue of Gone With the Wind (1939), Doctor Zhivago saved MGM from bankruptcy in the mid-'60s. Doctor Zhivago marked a new path for the historical epic. Previous films had simply focused on the scope of world-shaping events. With Zhivago director David Lean and scriptwriter Robert Bolt brought a new romantic sensibility to the epic. That Victorian ideal would inform such later blockbusters as Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), Lady Gray(1986) andTitanic (1997). by Frank Miller

Pop Culture - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)


Pop Culture 101 - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO

Doctor Zhivago's costumes inspired the "Zhivago Look" for designers like Yves St. Laurent and Christian Dior. Fur trims, silk braiding and boots came back into fashion thanks to the film.

Also returned to fashion by the film's success was facial hair. Beards and mustaches were in, just in time for the counter-culture revolution of the late '60s.

Maurice Jarre's soundtrack album for Doctor Zhivago was one of the best-selling film soundtracks of all time, selling more than 600,000 copies.

The film's popular theme, "Lara's Theme (Somewhere, My Love)," has traveled around the world. Jarre claims to have heard it everywhere from a gondola in Italy to Central Africa, where it was played on tribal instruments.

If you or someone you know were born after 1965 and are named "Lara" (spelled as such), you can thank Doctor Zhivago. Until the film' s success, the name was rarely found outside of Russia.

Four documentaries have tried to capture the gargantuan production that brought Doctor Zhivago to the screen. Three short films from 1965 -- David Lean's Film of Doctor Zhivago," Zhivago: Behind the Camera With David Lean and Moscow in Madrid -- were little more than extended promotional pieces for the film. A longer film made for television in 1995, "Doctor Zhivago: The Making of a Russian Epic," features narration by Omar Sharif. It includes interviews with Robert Bolt, Geraldine Chaplin, Maurice Jarre, Rod Steiger and Olga Ivinskaya, the woman on whom Boris Pasternak based the character of Lara. It is currently included with the supplementary materials on the DVD of the film.

In 2002, Doctor Zhivago became a miniseries in Great Britain. Newcomers Hans Matheson and Keira Knightley (later the star of Pirates of the Caribbean and Love Actually, both 2003) played Zhivago and Lara. Like the classic film version, the production was not shot in the Soviet Union. The closest the crew got was Prague and Slovakia. It aired in the U.S. on PBS outlets in 2003 to mixed reviews.

by Frank Miller

Pop Culture - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)

Pop Culture 101 - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO Doctor Zhivago's costumes inspired the "Zhivago Look" for designers like Yves St. Laurent and Christian Dior. Fur trims, silk braiding and boots came back into fashion thanks to the film. Also returned to fashion by the film's success was facial hair. Beards and mustaches were in, just in time for the counter-culture revolution of the late '60s. Maurice Jarre's soundtrack album for Doctor Zhivago was one of the best-selling film soundtracks of all time, selling more than 600,000 copies. The film's popular theme, "Lara's Theme (Somewhere, My Love)," has traveled around the world. Jarre claims to have heard it everywhere from a gondola in Italy to Central Africa, where it was played on tribal instruments. If you or someone you know were born after 1965 and are named "Lara" (spelled as such), you can thank Doctor Zhivago. Until the film' s success, the name was rarely found outside of Russia. Four documentaries have tried to capture the gargantuan production that brought Doctor Zhivago to the screen. Three short films from 1965 -- David Lean's Film of Doctor Zhivago," Zhivago: Behind the Camera With David Lean and Moscow in Madrid -- were little more than extended promotional pieces for the film. A longer film made for television in 1995, "Doctor Zhivago: The Making of a Russian Epic," features narration by Omar Sharif. It includes interviews with Robert Bolt, Geraldine Chaplin, Maurice Jarre, Rod Steiger and Olga Ivinskaya, the woman on whom Boris Pasternak based the character of Lara. It is currently included with the supplementary materials on the DVD of the film. In 2002, Doctor Zhivago became a miniseries in Great Britain. Newcomers Hans Matheson and Keira Knightley (later the star of Pirates of the Caribbean and Love Actually, both 2003) played Zhivago and Lara. Like the classic film version, the production was not shot in the Soviet Union. The closest the crew got was Prague and Slovakia. It aired in the U.S. on PBS outlets in 2003 to mixed reviews. by Frank Miller

Trivia - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)


DOCTOR ZHIVAGO - Trivia and Other Fun Stuff

David Lean's epic film was not the first adaptation of Doctor Zhivago. In 1959 a mini-series based on the book aired on Brazilian television. It was shot in Portuguese.

Boris Pasternak's novel was 512 pages long. A film incorporating every scene in the novel would run 52 hours. David Lean's film version ran 197 minutes at its premiere and 180 minutes in general release. The 2002 British miniseries runs 485 minutes.

It took two planes to carry the production team and equipment to Finland to shoot Finland was the closest the production would come to the USSR. Some scenes were shot just 75 miles from the Soviet border.

Although their pairing sizzled on-screen, Omar Sharif and Julie Christie barely connected off-screen. He complained about her habit of eating fried egg sandwiches during breaks in the shooting, which he found distinctly unromantic. For her part, when questioned about their work together 17 years later, Christie said, "He was charming, but otherwise I don't remember anything about him really...I can't even remember if I have ever met him since."

Omar Sharif's son Tarek played the young Zhivago. Sharif even directed his scenes as a way of getting closer to the character. The star agreed to the casting on condition no photos of the boy be used in publicity. He didn't want to interfere with the boy's childhood. When other film offers came in for Tarek, Sharif turned them all down.

Make-up artists taped back Omar Sharif's eyes to give him a more Russian look.

The ice for the "ice palace" -- the abandoned, frozen country estate in which Zhivago and Lara share their final days of happiness -- was made mostly from wax.
,br> The production crew for Doctor Zhivago consisted of 120 plasterers, 210 carpenters, 60 masons, 25 tubular steel specialists, 30 painters, 20 electricians and more than 300 back-up technicians.

The film used 10,000 extras, 3,500 of them in the Moscow street scenes.

In one scene of social unrest before the Russian Revolution, the extras were so convincing that police swarmed the set thinking they were stopping an uprising against General Franco.

It took an orchestra of 110 to record the film's score. Twenty-two of them were balalaika players.

FUN QUOTES FROM DR. ZHIVAGO (1965)

"If they were to give me two more excavators, I'd be a year ahead of the plan by now."
"You're an impatient generation." -- Mark Eden as the Engineer showing Alec Guinness as Yevgraf the future of the Soviet Union.

"Good marriages are made in heaven...or some such place." -- Ralph Richardson as Gromeko.

. "Who are you to refuse my sugar? Who are you to refuse me anything?" -- Rod Steiger as Komarovski attacking Julie Christie as Lara for refusing his advances.

"Now, that your tastes at this time should incline towards the juvenile is understandable; but for you to marry that boy would be a disaster. Because there's two kinds of women. There are two kinds of women, and you, as you well know, are not the first kind. You, my dear, are a slut" -- Steiger as Komarovski puncturing Lara's dreams.

"What happens to a girl like that when a man like you is finished with her?"
"You interested?...I give her to you, Yuri Andreavich. Wedding present." -- Omar Sharif as Zhivago asking Steiger about Lara's future.

"They rode them down, Lara. Women and children begging for bread. There will be no more 'peaceful' demonstrations." -- Tom Courtenay as Pasha.

"If we'd had children, Yuri, would you like a boy or girl?"
"I think we may go mad if we think about all that."
"I shall always think about it" -- Lara and Zhivago dream of what might have been.

"Tonya, can you play the balalaika?"
"Can she play? She's an artist!"
"Ah, then it's a gift." -- Yevgraf receiving confirmation from the Engineer that Tonya (Rita Tushingham) is Zhivago and Lara's daughter.

Compiled by Frank Miller

Trivia - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)

DOCTOR ZHIVAGO - Trivia and Other Fun Stuff David Lean's epic film was not the first adaptation of Doctor Zhivago. In 1959 a mini-series based on the book aired on Brazilian television. It was shot in Portuguese. Boris Pasternak's novel was 512 pages long. A film incorporating every scene in the novel would run 52 hours. David Lean's film version ran 197 minutes at its premiere and 180 minutes in general release. The 2002 British miniseries runs 485 minutes. It took two planes to carry the production team and equipment to Finland to shoot Finland was the closest the production would come to the USSR. Some scenes were shot just 75 miles from the Soviet border. Although their pairing sizzled on-screen, Omar Sharif and Julie Christie barely connected off-screen. He complained about her habit of eating fried egg sandwiches during breaks in the shooting, which he found distinctly unromantic. For her part, when questioned about their work together 17 years later, Christie said, "He was charming, but otherwise I don't remember anything about him really...I can't even remember if I have ever met him since." Omar Sharif's son Tarek played the young Zhivago. Sharif even directed his scenes as a way of getting closer to the character. The star agreed to the casting on condition no photos of the boy be used in publicity. He didn't want to interfere with the boy's childhood. When other film offers came in for Tarek, Sharif turned them all down. Make-up artists taped back Omar Sharif's eyes to give him a more Russian look. The ice for the "ice palace" -- the abandoned, frozen country estate in which Zhivago and Lara share their final days of happiness -- was made mostly from wax.,br> The production crew for Doctor Zhivago consisted of 120 plasterers, 210 carpenters, 60 masons, 25 tubular steel specialists, 30 painters, 20 electricians and more than 300 back-up technicians. The film used 10,000 extras, 3,500 of them in the Moscow street scenes. In one scene of social unrest before the Russian Revolution, the extras were so convincing that police swarmed the set thinking they were stopping an uprising against General Franco. It took an orchestra of 110 to record the film's score. Twenty-two of them were balalaika players. FUN QUOTES FROM DR. ZHIVAGO (1965) "If they were to give me two more excavators, I'd be a year ahead of the plan by now." "You're an impatient generation." -- Mark Eden as the Engineer showing Alec Guinness as Yevgraf the future of the Soviet Union. "Good marriages are made in heaven...or some such place." -- Ralph Richardson as Gromeko.. "Who are you to refuse my sugar? Who are you to refuse me anything?" -- Rod Steiger as Komarovski attacking Julie Christie as Lara for refusing his advances. "Now, that your tastes at this time should incline towards the juvenile is understandable; but for you to marry that boy would be a disaster. Because there's two kinds of women. There are two kinds of women, and you, as you well know, are not the first kind. You, my dear, are a slut" -- Steiger as Komarovski puncturing Lara's dreams. "What happens to a girl like that when a man like you is finished with her?" "You interested?...I give her to you, Yuri Andreavich. Wedding present." -- Omar Sharif as Zhivago asking Steiger about Lara's future. "They rode them down, Lara. Women and children begging for bread. There will be no more 'peaceful' demonstrations." -- Tom Courtenay as Pasha. "If we'd had children, Yuri, would you like a boy or girl?" "I think we may go mad if we think about all that." "I shall always think about it" -- Lara and Zhivago dream of what might have been. "Tonya, can you play the balalaika?" "Can she play? She's an artist!" "Ah, then it's a gift." -- Yevgraf receiving confirmation from the Engineer that Tonya (Rita Tushingham) is Zhivago and Lara's daughter. Compiled by Frank Miller

The Big Idea - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)


The Big Idea Behind DOCTOR ZHIVAGO

Boris Pasternak was born in Moscow in 1890, the son of a celebrated portrait painter and a concert pianist. One of his influences as a child was composer Alexander Scriabin, a friend of his mother's.

Pasternak first built his reputation as a poet and translator (particularly of Shakespeare's plays). In 1945, he started work on Doctor Zhivago, drawing on his own experiences during the Russian Revolution and his romance with Olga Ivinskaya.

Nine years later, Doctor Zhivago was accepted for publication by the Soviet Union's State Publishing House, then banned as a vehicle for "hatred of Socialism."

When the novel was smuggled into Italy, the foreign rights were sold to an Italian publisher who declined orders to return the manuscript to the Soviet Union for revisions. He published the book in September 1957. The American edition was published by Pantheon Books in September 1958.

Doctor Zhivago was translated into 18 languages before it was published in the Soviet Union.

Pasternak won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1958 for both his poetry and the novel Doctor Zhivago. Under pressure from the Soviet Union, he chose not to attend the awards ceremony "in view of the meaning given to this honor in the community to which I belong."

When the Nobel Prize Committee announced their choice, Soviet critics damned Pasternak as a "traitor," a "malevolent Philistine," a "libeler," a "Judas" and an "extraneous smudge in our Socialist country." He was also expelled from the Soviet Writers' Union and his former mistress, Olga Ivinskaya, was arrested.

Pasternak never lived to see the Soviet Union change its official opinion of his work. He died of lung cancer in 1960.

Despite the Soviet ban on the novel, foreign editions were smuggled into the country, and a typewritten version was distributed by an underground do-it-yourself publishing network. As a result, the book attracted a devoted following among younger Soviets who established a tradition of yearly pilgrimages to Pasternak's grave.

Winning out over several other producers Carlo Ponti bought the film rights to Doctor Zhivago from its Italian publisher in 1963.

At the time, David Lean was the only director who seemed capable of pulling off such a large-scale production. On the strength of his international success with Lawrence of Arabia, Ponti hired him and gave him complete artistic control.

Lean was attracted to the project because after two films with no female characters (The Bridge on the River Kwai [1957] and Lawrence of Arabia) he wanted to get back to a film with a love story. One of his biggest early hits had been Brief Encounter (1945), which, like Doctor Zhivago, told a classic tale of doomed love.

He agreed to do the film on condition that Robert Bolt, who had written Lawrence of Arabia write the script.

Although time constraints made it impossible to use more than about 1/24th of the novel, the biggest change Bolt made was to add a framing story in which Zhivago's half-brother, Yevgraf (Alec Guinness), tells the story of Zhivago and Lara to a girl (Rita Tushingham) who could be their long-lost daughter.

by Frank Miller

The Big Idea - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)

The Big Idea Behind DOCTOR ZHIVAGO Boris Pasternak was born in Moscow in 1890, the son of a celebrated portrait painter and a concert pianist. One of his influences as a child was composer Alexander Scriabin, a friend of his mother's. Pasternak first built his reputation as a poet and translator (particularly of Shakespeare's plays). In 1945, he started work on Doctor Zhivago, drawing on his own experiences during the Russian Revolution and his romance with Olga Ivinskaya. Nine years later, Doctor Zhivago was accepted for publication by the Soviet Union's State Publishing House, then banned as a vehicle for "hatred of Socialism." When the novel was smuggled into Italy, the foreign rights were sold to an Italian publisher who declined orders to return the manuscript to the Soviet Union for revisions. He published the book in September 1957. The American edition was published by Pantheon Books in September 1958. Doctor Zhivago was translated into 18 languages before it was published in the Soviet Union. Pasternak won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1958 for both his poetry and the novel Doctor Zhivago. Under pressure from the Soviet Union, he chose not to attend the awards ceremony "in view of the meaning given to this honor in the community to which I belong." When the Nobel Prize Committee announced their choice, Soviet critics damned Pasternak as a "traitor," a "malevolent Philistine," a "libeler," a "Judas" and an "extraneous smudge in our Socialist country." He was also expelled from the Soviet Writers' Union and his former mistress, Olga Ivinskaya, was arrested. Pasternak never lived to see the Soviet Union change its official opinion of his work. He died of lung cancer in 1960. Despite the Soviet ban on the novel, foreign editions were smuggled into the country, and a typewritten version was distributed by an underground do-it-yourself publishing network. As a result, the book attracted a devoted following among younger Soviets who established a tradition of yearly pilgrimages to Pasternak's grave. Winning out over several other producers Carlo Ponti bought the film rights to Doctor Zhivago from its Italian publisher in 1963. At the time, David Lean was the only director who seemed capable of pulling off such a large-scale production. On the strength of his international success with Lawrence of Arabia, Ponti hired him and gave him complete artistic control. Lean was attracted to the project because after two films with no female characters (The Bridge on the River Kwai [1957] and Lawrence of Arabia) he wanted to get back to a film with a love story. One of his biggest early hits had been Brief Encounter (1945), which, like Doctor Zhivago, told a classic tale of doomed love. He agreed to do the film on condition that Robert Bolt, who had written Lawrence of Arabia write the script. Although time constraints made it impossible to use more than about 1/24th of the novel, the biggest change Bolt made was to add a framing story in which Zhivago's half-brother, Yevgraf (Alec Guinness), tells the story of Zhivago and Lara to a girl (Rita Tushingham) who could be their long-lost daughter. by Frank Miller

Behind the Camera - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)


Behind the Camera on DOCTOR ZHIVAGO

To cast the film, Lean turned to many of his old favorites, including Alec Guinness, who had appeared in Great Expectations (1946) and Lawrence of Arabia, and Ralph Richardson (Alexander Gromeko), who had appeared in Breaking the Sound Barrier (1952).

MGM executives wanted established stars in the leads, originally suggesting Paul Newman as Zhivago and Sophia Loren (Ponti's wife) as Lara.

Lean's first choice for the title role was Peter O'Toole, who had risen to stardom with his performance in Lawrence of Arabia. Having suffered through two years of shooting in the desert, however, O'Toole was loath to commit to a similarly grueling film shoot in what promised to be dauntingly cold climates, so he turned the film down. That triggered a rift between director and star that would last until 1988, a few years before Lean's death.

With O'Toole unwilling to make the film, Lean turned to the other actor who had risen to stardom in Lawrence, Egyptian actor Omar Sharif. The casting was a surprise to everybody, including Sharif. He had asked his agent to propose him for the role of Pasha, the student revolutionary who becomes Zhivago's nemesis. Tom Courtenay would win an Oscar& nomination for his performance in the role.

After considering several other actresses for the lead, Lean chose British newcomer Julie Christie, over the studio's objections. He based his choice on a few clips from Darling (1965), which was currently in production and would go on to win her international acclaim and an Oscar® a small role in Young Cassidy (also 1965); and one scene in Billy Liar (1963), in which she played opposite Courtenay.

Lean also had to fight to cast Geraldine Chaplin, daughter of the legendary Charlie Chaplin, as Zhivago's wife, Tonya. With the exception of an uncredited bit in her father's Limelight (1952), it was her first appearance in an English-language film. She had only made two other films, both in France.

Initially Ponti wanted to shoot the film in the Soviet Union. He abandoned that idea out of fear that the Soviet authorities would try to control the film. Lean then considered Yugoslavia and the Scandinavian countries, but after visiting them with designer John Box and continuity girl Barbara Cole decided they would be too cold. He also feared the corrupt Yugoslav bureaucracy would make shooting there too expensive.

When projected costs of shooting in Hollywood proved too high, Lean and Ponti moved the production to Spain, which had recently emerged as a viable production location, particularly since the Spanish Army was available for extra work in military scenes at little cost. In fact, the inhabitants of many Spanish towns and villages were often employed as extras. Other blockbusters shot in the region included El Cid and King of Kings (both 1961), not to mention portions of Lawrence of Arabia

BEHIND THE SCENES - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)

It took two years to film Doctor Zhivago. Over 800 craftsmen in three countries worked on the film. The final production budget was $14 million, twice what the film's backers had agreed to.

The film's principal location in Spain was the C.E.A. Studios, near Madrid's international airport. Production designer John Box and his crew spent six months turning the ten-acre studio into a reproduction of Moscow between 1905 and 1920. Included in the set were a half-mile long paved street, trolley lines, an authentic replica of the Kremlin, a viaduct with real train engines, a church and more than 50 businesses. Publicists touted the set as the largest ever built for a film.

For Zhivago's trip through the Russian Steppes, Box constructed sets in the mountains north of Madrid. This required diverting the course of a river to fit Lean's vision and building miles of fresh railroad tracks.

Lean originally wanted to shoot each of the film's scenes in the appropriate season, so he scheduled a ten-month shoot. Unfortunately, he arrived in Spain during one of the country's mildest winters ever. After repeated delays that added $2.5 million to the budget as he waited for snow, he finally had to shoot during the warmer months.

Many winter scenes were shot in the summer, when actors had to withstand temperatures climbing to 116 degrees while muffled in Russian furs. Costume designer Phyllis Dalton had to keep strict watch over the extras to make sure none of them were shedding layers of clothing to cool off. Sharif would later note, "We had an army of make-up assistants who every two minutes came and dabbed you because we were sweating profusely."

For scenes near Zhivago's country estate in the spring, the crew had planted 7,000 daffodil bulbs, but with the mild winter, they started blooming in January. They had to dig up the bulbs, put them into cold storage and replant them later.

Not only did the mild winter mean no snow; the fields started turning green too early. The crew used white paint, plaster dust and even white plastic sheets to create many of the film's snow-filled vistas.

For the scenes in which Zhivago and his family suffer through a tortuous train ride to their summer home in the Urals, the company shot in Finland and Canada with the full cooperation of Finnish State Railways and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.

Although David Lean had championed Julie Christie to studio executives, during early days of filming he had a hard time getting what he wanted out of her. Rather than give her time to explore the role, he kept at her to get exactly what he wanted. When they returned to the hot Spanish locations after time in icebound Finland, she finally collapsed under the pressure. Gradually, however, they developed a working rapport. Lean took to visiting her in her apartment in Madrid and was quick to accept her suggestions for the script. By the time production had finished, they had forged a lasting friendship, though they would never work together again.

At the climax of Lara's sleigh ride with Komarovski, played by Rod Steiger, she had to slap him when he tried to kiss her. She kept anticipating the kiss, so, with Lean's approval, Steiger made it a little more physical when they did the scene. Then, when she slapped him, he impulsively slapped her back with his glove. Lean kept it in the film because Christie's startled response was so honest and dramatically powerful.

The film got an added publicity boost during post-production when Darling (1965), a searing look at the rise of a young model in swinging London, opened and made Christie an international star.

Doctor Zhivago premiered in New York City on December 22, 1965, in time to qualify for the 1965 film awards.

When the film received only mixed reviews, MGM President Robert O'Brien committed another $1 million to advertising. Publicity trumpeted the picture as a cross between War and Peace (1956) and Gone With the Wind (1939). They even suggested that exhibitors play only music from the film before and after screenings and not sell concessions while the picture was running, though it's doubtful that any theatre managers gave up the chance for lucrative profits in that area. Helped by strong word-of-mouth, the film took off at the box office, becoming MGM's second-highest grosser to date, behind Gone With the Wind but ahead of the 1959 version of Ben-Hur.

Doctor Zhivago finally returned to his homeland in 1988, when Mikhail Gorbachev allowed it to be published there as part of his "glasnost" policy. In 1994, the Soviet Union finally agreed to allow the film to be shown there. It premiered to record attendance and glowing reviews

For the film's 30th anniversary in 1995, the Turner Entertainment Company (TEC) created a new print to be used for a theatrical reissue and new home videos. Over the years, the 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 simply had to create 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 & Sciences® some viewers thought the film looked even better than it had at its premiere.

by Frank Miller

Behind the Camera - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)

Behind the Camera on DOCTOR ZHIVAGO To cast the film, Lean turned to many of his old favorites, including Alec Guinness, who had appeared in Great Expectations (1946) and Lawrence of Arabia, and Ralph Richardson (Alexander Gromeko), who had appeared in Breaking the Sound Barrier (1952). MGM executives wanted established stars in the leads, originally suggesting Paul Newman as Zhivago and Sophia Loren (Ponti's wife) as Lara. Lean's first choice for the title role was Peter O'Toole, who had risen to stardom with his performance in Lawrence of Arabia. Having suffered through two years of shooting in the desert, however, O'Toole was loath to commit to a similarly grueling film shoot in what promised to be dauntingly cold climates, so he turned the film down. That triggered a rift between director and star that would last until 1988, a few years before Lean's death. With O'Toole unwilling to make the film, Lean turned to the other actor who had risen to stardom in Lawrence, Egyptian actor Omar Sharif. The casting was a surprise to everybody, including Sharif. He had asked his agent to propose him for the role of Pasha, the student revolutionary who becomes Zhivago's nemesis. Tom Courtenay would win an Oscar& nomination for his performance in the role. After considering several other actresses for the lead, Lean chose British newcomer Julie Christie, over the studio's objections. He based his choice on a few clips from Darling (1965), which was currently in production and would go on to win her international acclaim and an Oscar® a small role in Young Cassidy (also 1965); and one scene in Billy Liar (1963), in which she played opposite Courtenay. Lean also had to fight to cast Geraldine Chaplin, daughter of the legendary Charlie Chaplin, as Zhivago's wife, Tonya. With the exception of an uncredited bit in her father's Limelight (1952), it was her first appearance in an English-language film. She had only made two other films, both in France. Initially Ponti wanted to shoot the film in the Soviet Union. He abandoned that idea out of fear that the Soviet authorities would try to control the film. Lean then considered Yugoslavia and the Scandinavian countries, but after visiting them with designer John Box and continuity girl Barbara Cole decided they would be too cold. He also feared the corrupt Yugoslav bureaucracy would make shooting there too expensive. When projected costs of shooting in Hollywood proved too high, Lean and Ponti moved the production to Spain, which had recently emerged as a viable production location, particularly since the Spanish Army was available for extra work in military scenes at little cost. In fact, the inhabitants of many Spanish towns and villages were often employed as extras. Other blockbusters shot in the region included El Cid and King of Kings (both 1961), not to mention portions of Lawrence of Arabia BEHIND THE SCENES - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965) It took two years to film Doctor Zhivago. Over 800 craftsmen in three countries worked on the film. The final production budget was $14 million, twice what the film's backers had agreed to. The film's principal location in Spain was the C.E.A. Studios, near Madrid's international airport. Production designer John Box and his crew spent six months turning the ten-acre studio into a reproduction of Moscow between 1905 and 1920. Included in the set were a half-mile long paved street, trolley lines, an authentic replica of the Kremlin, a viaduct with real train engines, a church and more than 50 businesses. Publicists touted the set as the largest ever built for a film. For Zhivago's trip through the Russian Steppes, Box constructed sets in the mountains north of Madrid. This required diverting the course of a river to fit Lean's vision and building miles of fresh railroad tracks. Lean originally wanted to shoot each of the film's scenes in the appropriate season, so he scheduled a ten-month shoot. Unfortunately, he arrived in Spain during one of the country's mildest winters ever. After repeated delays that added $2.5 million to the budget as he waited for snow, he finally had to shoot during the warmer months. Many winter scenes were shot in the summer, when actors had to withstand temperatures climbing to 116 degrees while muffled in Russian furs. Costume designer Phyllis Dalton had to keep strict watch over the extras to make sure none of them were shedding layers of clothing to cool off. Sharif would later note, "We had an army of make-up assistants who every two minutes came and dabbed you because we were sweating profusely." For scenes near Zhivago's country estate in the spring, the crew had planted 7,000 daffodil bulbs, but with the mild winter, they started blooming in January. They had to dig up the bulbs, put them into cold storage and replant them later. Not only did the mild winter mean no snow; the fields started turning green too early. The crew used white paint, plaster dust and even white plastic sheets to create many of the film's snow-filled vistas. For the scenes in which Zhivago and his family suffer through a tortuous train ride to their summer home in the Urals, the company shot in Finland and Canada with the full cooperation of Finnish State Railways and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Although David Lean had championed Julie Christie to studio executives, during early days of filming he had a hard time getting what he wanted out of her. Rather than give her time to explore the role, he kept at her to get exactly what he wanted. When they returned to the hot Spanish locations after time in icebound Finland, she finally collapsed under the pressure. Gradually, however, they developed a working rapport. Lean took to visiting her in her apartment in Madrid and was quick to accept her suggestions for the script. By the time production had finished, they had forged a lasting friendship, though they would never work together again. At the climax of Lara's sleigh ride with Komarovski, played by Rod Steiger, she had to slap him when he tried to kiss her. She kept anticipating the kiss, so, with Lean's approval, Steiger made it a little more physical when they did the scene. Then, when she slapped him, he impulsively slapped her back with his glove. Lean kept it in the film because Christie's startled response was so honest and dramatically powerful. The film got an added publicity boost during post-production when Darling (1965), a searing look at the rise of a young model in swinging London, opened and made Christie an international star. Doctor Zhivago premiered in New York City on December 22, 1965, in time to qualify for the 1965 film awards. When the film received only mixed reviews, MGM President Robert O'Brien committed another $1 million to advertising. Publicity trumpeted the picture as a cross between War and Peace (1956) and Gone With the Wind (1939). They even suggested that exhibitors play only music from the film before and after screenings and not sell concessions while the picture was running, though it's doubtful that any theatre managers gave up the chance for lucrative profits in that area. Helped by strong word-of-mouth, the film took off at the box office, becoming MGM's second-highest grosser to date, behind Gone With the Wind but ahead of the 1959 version of Ben-Hur. Doctor Zhivago finally returned to his homeland in 1988, when Mikhail Gorbachev allowed it to be published there as part of his "glasnost" policy. In 1994, the Soviet Union finally agreed to allow the film to be shown there. It premiered to record attendance and glowing reviews For the film's 30th anniversary in 1995, the Turner Entertainment Company (TEC) created a new print to be used for a theatrical reissue and new home videos. Over the years, the 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 simply had to create 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 & Sciences® some viewers thought the film looked even better than it had at its premiere. by Frank Miller

The Critics Corner - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)


The Critics' Corner on DOCTOR ZHIVAGO

"At once generous yet austere, huge but never out of human scale, gently unfolded yet full of power, it is a work of serious genuine art." -- Richard Schickel, Life.

"The sweep and scope of the Russian Revolution, as reflected in the personalities of those who either adapted or were crushed, has been captured by David Lean in Dr. Zhivago, frequently with soaring dramatic intensity. Director has accomplished one of the most meticulously designed and executed films -- superior in several visual respects to his Lawrence of Arabia" -- Murf, Variety.

"Mr. Bolt has reduced the vast upheaval of the Russian Revolution to the banalities of a doomed romance." -- Bosley Crowther, The New York Times.

"See it, feel it, treasure it. Don't play games with it. And don't make comparisons. No, I take that back. Make some comparisons with some of the other highly touted films currently going the rounds. Then go bask in its wonder." -- John Cutts, "It is all too bad to be true: that so much has come to so little, that tears must be prompted by dashed hopes instead of enduring drama." - Newsweek.

"A majestic, magnificent picture of war and peace, on a national scale and scaled down to the personal. It has every element that makes a smash, long-run box office hit." - The Hollywood Reporter.

"Though it doesn't equal Lawrence of Arabia, David Lean's epic wartime romance may be his most accessible film. It tells a simple love story in a complex setting and, for the most part, avoids easy resolutions to messy emotional relationships....Dr. Zhivago remains one of the most ambitious and watchable of the "big" '60s films, and one of the best depictions of a civil war's terrible human costs." - Mike Mayo, War Movies.

"Zhivago is a syrupy romance, without poetry or plausibility." - David Thomson, The New Biographical Dictionary of Film.

"..for the long list of stars, for David Lean, and for admirers of Pasternak's novel, Dr. Zhivago is no more than a competent blockbuster." - Peter Cowie, Eighty Years of Cinema.

"..in this movie, so full of "realism," nothing really grows - not the performances, not the ideas, not even the daffodils, which are also so "real" they have obviously been planted for us, just as the buildings have been built for us. After the first half hour you don't expect the picture to breathe and live; you just sit there. It isn't shoddy (except for the balalaika music, which is so repetitive you could kill the composer); it's stately, respectable, and dead." - Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies.

"Doctor Zhivago (M-G-M) is a mixture of Lean's two well-tried methods of dealing with the classics: ornate Dickensian for scenes like the burial of Yuri's mother, or Yuri's own poetic inspiration by ice and candlelight; epic spectacular for ravages and battles and, of course, the long train journey from Moscow to the Urals...The actors look good, but with the exception of Rod Steiger, who as Komarovsky has the most clearly defined role anyway, their performances lack momentum....One is always conscious that nobody is Russian, and that nobody quite lives up to one's preconceived idea of the character that he or she portrays." - Elizabeth Sussex, Sight and Sound.

Awards & Honors

Doctor Zhivago was the number two film at the box office in its year (The Sound of Music was number one) with over $60 million in rentals in the U.S. alone. Its current international gross is over $111 million.

In most of the year's acting awards, Julie Christie's performance in Doctor Zhivago was beaten out by her performance in Darling. The National Board of Review named her Best Actress for both films.

Doctor Zhivago won Golden Globes® for Best Motion Picture-Drama, Best Actor-Drama (Omar Sharif), Best Director (David Lean), Best Screenplay (Robert Bolt) and Best Score (Maurice Jarre).

Doctor Zhivago was nominated for ten Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Tom Courtenay). It won for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography (Freddie Young), Best Art Direction (John Box), Best Costumes (Phyllis Dalton) and Best Score (Maurice Jarre).

The film's best-selling soundtrack album won the Grammy® for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show.

In 1988, "Lara's Theme" won a special People's Choice Award as Favorite All-Time Motion Picture Song.

Compiled by Frank Miller & Jeff Stafford

The Critics Corner - DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)

The Critics' Corner on DOCTOR ZHIVAGO "At once generous yet austere, huge but never out of human scale, gently unfolded yet full of power, it is a work of serious genuine art." -- Richard Schickel, Life. "The sweep and scope of the Russian Revolution, as reflected in the personalities of those who either adapted or were crushed, has been captured by David Lean in Dr. Zhivago, frequently with soaring dramatic intensity. Director has accomplished one of the most meticulously designed and executed films -- superior in several visual respects to his Lawrence of Arabia" -- Murf, Variety. "Mr. Bolt has reduced the vast upheaval of the Russian Revolution to the banalities of a doomed romance." -- Bosley Crowther, The New York Times. "See it, feel it, treasure it. Don't play games with it. And don't make comparisons. No, I take that back. Make some comparisons with some of the other highly touted films currently going the rounds. Then go bask in its wonder." -- John Cutts, "It is all too bad to be true: that so much has come to so little, that tears must be prompted by dashed hopes instead of enduring drama." - Newsweek. "A majestic, magnificent picture of war and peace, on a national scale and scaled down to the personal. It has every element that makes a smash, long-run box office hit." - The Hollywood Reporter. "Though it doesn't equal Lawrence of Arabia, David Lean's epic wartime romance may be his most accessible film. It tells a simple love story in a complex setting and, for the most part, avoids easy resolutions to messy emotional relationships....Dr. Zhivago remains one of the most ambitious and watchable of the "big" '60s films, and one of the best depictions of a civil war's terrible human costs." - Mike Mayo, War Movies. "Zhivago is a syrupy romance, without poetry or plausibility." - David Thomson, The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. "..for the long list of stars, for David Lean, and for admirers of Pasternak's novel, Dr. Zhivago is no more than a competent blockbuster." - Peter Cowie, Eighty Years of Cinema. "..in this movie, so full of "realism," nothing really grows - not the performances, not the ideas, not even the daffodils, which are also so "real" they have obviously been planted for us, just as the buildings have been built for us. After the first half hour you don't expect the picture to breathe and live; you just sit there. It isn't shoddy (except for the balalaika music, which is so repetitive you could kill the composer); it's stately, respectable, and dead." - Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies. "Doctor Zhivago (M-G-M) is a mixture of Lean's two well-tried methods of dealing with the classics: ornate Dickensian for scenes like the burial of Yuri's mother, or Yuri's own poetic inspiration by ice and candlelight; epic spectacular for ravages and battles and, of course, the long train journey from Moscow to the Urals...The actors look good, but with the exception of Rod Steiger, who as Komarovsky has the most clearly defined role anyway, their performances lack momentum....One is always conscious that nobody is Russian, and that nobody quite lives up to one's preconceived idea of the character that he or she portrays." - Elizabeth Sussex, Sight and Sound. Awards & Honors Doctor Zhivago was the number two film at the box office in its year (The Sound of Music was number one) with over $60 million in rentals in the U.S. alone. Its current international gross is over $111 million. In most of the year's acting awards, Julie Christie's performance in Doctor Zhivago was beaten out by her performance in Darling. The National Board of Review named her Best Actress for both films. Doctor Zhivago won Golden Globes® for Best Motion Picture-Drama, Best Actor-Drama (Omar Sharif), Best Director (David Lean), Best Screenplay (Robert Bolt) and Best Score (Maurice Jarre). Doctor Zhivago was nominated for ten Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Tom Courtenay). It won for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography (Freddie Young), Best Art Direction (John Box), Best Costumes (Phyllis Dalton) and Best Score (Maurice Jarre). The film's best-selling soundtrack album won the Grammy® for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show. In 1988, "Lara's Theme" won a special People's Choice Award as Favorite All-Time Motion Picture Song. Compiled by Frank Miller & Jeff Stafford

Doctor Zhivago


Promising young surgeon Yuri Zhivago is happily married to a wife from a good family when a world war, the Russian Revolution and his growing passion for the beautiful Lara disrupt their lives. Though Lara inspires his greatest poetry, they are kept apart by the forces of history until Zhivago defies the Soviet government to flee with his love to the snowbound countryside of his youth. There, they snatch a few moments of happiness until she vanishes with their infant daughter, leaving Zhivago to spend the rest of his life searching for her. Years later, his half-brother, Yevgraf, tracks down a young factory worker who knows little of her past except for her passion for music and poetry which she inherited from her father, Yuri.

Doctor Zhivago (1965) was the first major western film to capture the turmoil of the Russian Revolution, leading the way for such later epics as Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) and Reds (1981).

Winning out over several other producers, Carlo Ponti bought the film rights to Boris Pasternak's Nobel Prize-winning novel Doctor Zhivago from its Italian publisher in 1963. At the time, David Lean was the only director who seemed capable of pulling off such a large-scale production. On the strength of his international success with Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Ponti hired him and gave him complete artistic control.

Lean's first choice for the title role was Peter O'Toole, who had risen to stardom with his performance in Lawrence of Arabia. Having suffered through two years of shooting in the desert, however, O'Toole was loath to commit to a similarly grueling film shoot in what promised to be dauntingly cold climates, so he turned the film down.

Then, Lean turned to the other actor who had risen to stardom in Lawrence, Egyptian actor Omar Sharif. The casting was a surprise to everybody, including Sharif. He had asked his agent to propose him for the role of Pasha, the student revolutionary who becomes Zhivago's nemesis. Tom Courtenay would win an Oscar& nomination for his performance in that role.

After considering several other actresses for the lead, Lean chose British newcomer Julie Christie, over the studio's objections. He based his choice on one scene in Billy Liar (1963), in which she played opposite Courtenay and a few clips from Darling (1965), which was currently in production and would go on to win her international acclaim and an Oscar®.

Lean also had to fight to cast Geraldine Chaplin, daughter of the legendary Charlie Chaplin, as Zhivago's wife, Tonya. With the exception of an uncredited bit in her father's Limelight (1952), it was her first appearance in an English-language film.

It took two years to film Doctor Zhivago. Over 800 craftsmen in three countries worked on the film. The final production budget was $14 million, twice what the film's backers had agreed to.

The film's principal location in Spain was the C.E.A. Studios, near Madrid's international airport. Production designer John Box and his crew spent six months turning the ten-acre studio into a reproduction of Moscow between 1905 and 1920. Included in the set were a half-mile long paved street, trolley lines, an authentic replica of the Kremlin, a viaduct with real train engines, a church and more than 50 businesses. Publicists touted the set as the largest ever built for a film.

For Zhivago's trip through the Russian Steppes, Box constructed sets in the mountains north of Madrid. This required diverting the course of a river to fit Lean's vision and building miles of fresh railroad tracks.

Lean originally wanted to shoot each of the film's scenes in the appropriate season, so he scheduled a ten-month shoot. Unfortunately, he arrived in Spain during one of the country's mildest winters ever. After repeated delays that added $2.5 million to the budget as he waited for snow, he finally had to shoot during the warmer months.

Many winter scenes were shot in the summer, when actors had to withstand temperatures climbing to 116 degrees while muffled in Russian furs. Costume designer Phyllis Dalton had to keep strict watch over the extras to make sure none of them were shedding layers of clothing to cool off. Sharif would later note, "We had an army of make-up assistants who every two minutes came and dabbed you because we were sweating profusely."

Doctor Zhivago was the second of three films teaming David Lean with playwright Robert Bolt. Bolt had previously saved the Lawrence of Arabia (1962) script. Their third collaboration would be Ryan's Daughter (1970), starring Bolt's wife, Sarah Miles.

Along with the reissue of Gone With the Wind (1939), Doctor Zhivago saved MGM from bankruptcy in the mid-'60s. It also marked a new path for the historical epic. Previous films had simply focused on the scope of world-shaping events. With Zhivago director David Lean and scriptwriter Robert Bolt brought a new romantic sensibility to the epic. That Victorian ideal would inform such later blockbusters as Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), Lady Gray(1986) andTitanic (1997).

Doctor Zhivago was nominated for ten Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Tom Courtenay). It won for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography (Freddie Young), Best Art Direction (John Box), Best Costumes (Phyllis Dalton) and Best Score (Maurice Jarre).

Producer: Carlo Ponti, David Lean, Arvid Griffen
Director: David Lean
Screenplay: Robert Bolt, Boris Pasternak (novel)
Cinematography: Freddie Young
Film Editing: Norman Savage
Art Direction: Terence Marsh, Gil Parrondo
Music: Maurice Jarre
Cast: Omar Sharif (Yuri Zhivago), Julie Christie (Lara), Tom Courtenay (Pasha Strelnikov), Geraldine Chaplin (Tonya), Rod Steiger (Komarovsky), Alec Guinness (Yevgraf).
C-200m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. Descriptive Video.

by Frank Miller

Doctor Zhivago

Promising young surgeon Yuri Zhivago is happily married to a wife from a good family when a world war, the Russian Revolution and his growing passion for the beautiful Lara disrupt their lives. Though Lara inspires his greatest poetry, they are kept apart by the forces of history until Zhivago defies the Soviet government to flee with his love to the snowbound countryside of his youth. There, they snatch a few moments of happiness until she vanishes with their infant daughter, leaving Zhivago to spend the rest of his life searching for her. Years later, his half-brother, Yevgraf, tracks down a young factory worker who knows little of her past except for her passion for music and poetry which she inherited from her father, Yuri. Doctor Zhivago (1965) was the first major western film to capture the turmoil of the Russian Revolution, leading the way for such later epics as Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) and Reds (1981). Winning out over several other producers, Carlo Ponti bought the film rights to Boris Pasternak's Nobel Prize-winning novel Doctor Zhivago from its Italian publisher in 1963. At the time, David Lean was the only director who seemed capable of pulling off such a large-scale production. On the strength of his international success with Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Ponti hired him and gave him complete artistic control. Lean's first choice for the title role was Peter O'Toole, who had risen to stardom with his performance in Lawrence of Arabia. Having suffered through two years of shooting in the desert, however, O'Toole was loath to commit to a similarly grueling film shoot in what promised to be dauntingly cold climates, so he turned the film down. Then, Lean turned to the other actor who had risen to stardom in Lawrence, Egyptian actor Omar Sharif. The casting was a surprise to everybody, including Sharif. He had asked his agent to propose him for the role of Pasha, the student revolutionary who becomes Zhivago's nemesis. Tom Courtenay would win an Oscar& nomination for his performance in that role. After considering several other actresses for the lead, Lean chose British newcomer Julie Christie, over the studio's objections. He based his choice on one scene in Billy Liar (1963), in which she played opposite Courtenay and a few clips from Darling (1965), which was currently in production and would go on to win her international acclaim and an Oscar®. Lean also had to fight to cast Geraldine Chaplin, daughter of the legendary Charlie Chaplin, as Zhivago's wife, Tonya. With the exception of an uncredited bit in her father's Limelight (1952), it was her first appearance in an English-language film. It took two years to film Doctor Zhivago. Over 800 craftsmen in three countries worked on the film. The final production budget was $14 million, twice what the film's backers had agreed to. The film's principal location in Spain was the C.E.A. Studios, near Madrid's international airport. Production designer John Box and his crew spent six months turning the ten-acre studio into a reproduction of Moscow between 1905 and 1920. Included in the set were a half-mile long paved street, trolley lines, an authentic replica of the Kremlin, a viaduct with real train engines, a church and more than 50 businesses. Publicists touted the set as the largest ever built for a film. For Zhivago's trip through the Russian Steppes, Box constructed sets in the mountains north of Madrid. This required diverting the course of a river to fit Lean's vision and building miles of fresh railroad tracks. Lean originally wanted to shoot each of the film's scenes in the appropriate season, so he scheduled a ten-month shoot. Unfortunately, he arrived in Spain during one of the country's mildest winters ever. After repeated delays that added $2.5 million to the budget as he waited for snow, he finally had to shoot during the warmer months. Many winter scenes were shot in the summer, when actors had to withstand temperatures climbing to 116 degrees while muffled in Russian furs. Costume designer Phyllis Dalton had to keep strict watch over the extras to make sure none of them were shedding layers of clothing to cool off. Sharif would later note, "We had an army of make-up assistants who every two minutes came and dabbed you because we were sweating profusely." Doctor Zhivago was the second of three films teaming David Lean with playwright Robert Bolt. Bolt had previously saved the Lawrence of Arabia (1962) script. Their third collaboration would be Ryan's Daughter (1970), starring Bolt's wife, Sarah Miles. Along with the reissue of Gone With the Wind (1939), Doctor Zhivago saved MGM from bankruptcy in the mid-'60s. It also marked a new path for the historical epic. Previous films had simply focused on the scope of world-shaping events. With Zhivago director David Lean and scriptwriter Robert Bolt brought a new romantic sensibility to the epic. That Victorian ideal would inform such later blockbusters as Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), Lady Gray(1986) andTitanic (1997). Doctor Zhivago was nominated for ten Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Tom Courtenay). It won for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography (Freddie Young), Best Art Direction (John Box), Best Costumes (Phyllis Dalton) and Best Score (Maurice Jarre). Producer: Carlo Ponti, David Lean, Arvid Griffen Director: David Lean Screenplay: Robert Bolt, Boris Pasternak (novel) Cinematography: Freddie Young Film Editing: Norman Savage Art Direction: Terence Marsh, Gil Parrondo Music: Maurice Jarre Cast: Omar Sharif (Yuri Zhivago), Julie Christie (Lara), Tom Courtenay (Pasha Strelnikov), Geraldine Chaplin (Tonya), Rod Steiger (Komarovsky), Alec Guinness (Yevgraf). C-200m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. Descriptive Video. by Frank Miller

TCM Remembers - Rod Steiger


ROD STEIGER, 1925 - 2002

From the docks of New York to the rural back roads of Mississippi to the war torn Russian steppes, Rod Steiger reveled in creating some of the most overpowering and difficult men on the screen. He could be a total scoundrel, embodying Machiavelli's idiom that "it's better to be feared than loved" in the movies. But as an actor he refused to be typecast and his wide range included characters who were secretly tormented (The Pawnbroker, 1965) or loners (Run of the Arrow, 1965) or eccentrics (The Loved One, 1965).

Along with Marlon Brando, Steiger helped bring the 'Method School' from the Group Theater and Actors Studio in New York to the screens of Hollywood. The Method technique, taught by Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg, insisted on complete immersion into the character's psyche and resulted in intense, dramatic performances and performers. Steiger made his first significant screen appearance as Brando's older brother in On the Waterfront (1954). Their climatic scene together in a taxicab is one of the great moments in American cinema.

It was a short leap from playing a crooked lawyer in On the Waterfront to playing the shady boxing promoter in The Harder They Fall (1956). Based on the tragic tale of true-life fighter Primo Carnera, The Harder They Fall details the corruption behind the scenes of professional boxing bouts. Steiger is a fight manager named Nick Benko who enlists newspaperman Eddie Willis (Humphrey Bogart in his final screen appearance) to drum up publicity for a fixed prizefight. While the boxing scenes were often brutally realistic, the most powerful dramatic moments took place between Steiger and Bogart on the sidelines.

As mob boss Al Capone (1959), Steiger got to play another man you loved to hate. He vividly depicted the criminal from his swaggering early days to his pathetic demise from syphilis. In Doctor Zhivago (1965), Steiger was the only American in the international cast, playing the hateful and perverse Komarovsky. During the production of Dr. Zhivago, Steiger often found himself at odds with director David Lean. Schooled in the British tradition, Lean valued the integrity of the script and demanded that actors remain faithful to the script. Steiger, on the other hand, relied on improvisation and spontaneity. When kissing the lovely Lara (played by Julie Christie), Steiger jammed his tongue into Christie's mouth to produce the desired reaction - disgust. It worked! While it might not have been Lean's approach, it brought a grittier edge to the prestige production and made Komarovsky is a detestable but truly memorable figure.

Steiger dared audiences to dislike him. As the smalltown southern Sheriff Gillespie in In The Heat of the Night (1967), Steiger embodied all the prejudices and suspicions of a racist. When a black northern lawyer, played by Sidney Poitier, arrives on the crime scene, Gillespie is forced to recognize his fellow man as an equal despite skin color. Here, Steiger's character started as a bigot and developed into a better man. He finally claimed a Best Actor Academy Award for his performance as Sheriff Gillespie.

Steiger was an actor's actor. A chameleon who didn't think twice about diving into challenging roles that others would shy away from. In the Private Screenings interview he did with host Robert Osborne he admitted that Paul Muni was one of his idols because of his total immersion into his roles. Steiger said, "I believe actors are supposed to create different human beings." And Steiger showed us a rich and diverse cross section of them.

by Jeremy Geltzer & Jeff Stafford

TCM Remembers - Rod Steiger

ROD STEIGER, 1925 - 2002 From the docks of New York to the rural back roads of Mississippi to the war torn Russian steppes, Rod Steiger reveled in creating some of the most overpowering and difficult men on the screen. He could be a total scoundrel, embodying Machiavelli's idiom that "it's better to be feared than loved" in the movies. But as an actor he refused to be typecast and his wide range included characters who were secretly tormented (The Pawnbroker, 1965) or loners (Run of the Arrow, 1965) or eccentrics (The Loved One, 1965). Along with Marlon Brando, Steiger helped bring the 'Method School' from the Group Theater and Actors Studio in New York to the screens of Hollywood. The Method technique, taught by Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg, insisted on complete immersion into the character's psyche and resulted in intense, dramatic performances and performers. Steiger made his first significant screen appearance as Brando's older brother in On the Waterfront (1954). Their climatic scene together in a taxicab is one of the great moments in American cinema. It was a short leap from playing a crooked lawyer in On the Waterfront to playing the shady boxing promoter in The Harder They Fall (1956). Based on the tragic tale of true-life fighter Primo Carnera, The Harder They Fall details the corruption behind the scenes of professional boxing bouts. Steiger is a fight manager named Nick Benko who enlists newspaperman Eddie Willis (Humphrey Bogart in his final screen appearance) to drum up publicity for a fixed prizefight. While the boxing scenes were often brutally realistic, the most powerful dramatic moments took place between Steiger and Bogart on the sidelines. As mob boss Al Capone (1959), Steiger got to play another man you loved to hate. He vividly depicted the criminal from his swaggering early days to his pathetic demise from syphilis. In Doctor Zhivago (1965), Steiger was the only American in the international cast, playing the hateful and perverse Komarovsky. During the production of Dr. Zhivago, Steiger often found himself at odds with director David Lean. Schooled in the British tradition, Lean valued the integrity of the script and demanded that actors remain faithful to the script. Steiger, on the other hand, relied on improvisation and spontaneity. When kissing the lovely Lara (played by Julie Christie), Steiger jammed his tongue into Christie's mouth to produce the desired reaction - disgust. It worked! While it might not have been Lean's approach, it brought a grittier edge to the prestige production and made Komarovsky is a detestable but truly memorable figure. Steiger dared audiences to dislike him. As the smalltown southern Sheriff Gillespie in In The Heat of the Night (1967), Steiger embodied all the prejudices and suspicions of a racist. When a black northern lawyer, played by Sidney Poitier, arrives on the crime scene, Gillespie is forced to recognize his fellow man as an equal despite skin color. Here, Steiger's character started as a bigot and developed into a better man. He finally claimed a Best Actor Academy Award for his performance as Sheriff Gillespie. Steiger was an actor's actor. A chameleon who didn't think twice about diving into challenging roles that others would shy away from. In the Private Screenings interview he did with host Robert Osborne he admitted that Paul Muni was one of his idols because of his total immersion into his roles. Steiger said, "I believe actors are supposed to create different human beings." And Steiger showed us a rich and diverse cross section of them. by Jeremy Geltzer & Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Wouldn't it have been lovely if we'd met before?
- Lara
Before we did? Yes.
- Zhivago
We'd have got married, had a house and children. If we'd had children, Yuri, would you like a boy or girl?
- Lara
I think we may go mad if we think about all that.
- Zhivago
I shall always think about it.
- Lara
Who are you to refuse my sugar? Who are you to refuse me anything?
- Komarovski
I think you do. There's another kind. Not high-minded, not pure, but alive. Now, that your tastes at this time should incline towards the juvenile is understandable; but for you to marry that boy would be a disaster. Because there's two kinds of women. There are two kinds of women and you, as we well know, are not the first kind. You, my dear, are a slut.
- Komarovski
There are two kinds of men and only two. And that young man is one kind. He is high-minded. He is pure. He's the kind of man the world pretends to look up to, and in fact despises. He is the kind of man who breeds unhappiness, particularly in women. Do you understand?
- Komarovski
If they were to give me two more excavators, I'd be a year ahead of the plan by now.
- Engineer
You're an impatient generation.
- Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago
Weren't you?
- Engineer
Yes, we were, very. Oh, don't be so impatient, Comrade Engineer. We've come very far, very fast.
- Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago
Yes, I know that, Comrade General.
- Engineer
Yes, but do you know what it cost? There were children in those days who lived off human flesh. Did you know that?
- Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago

Trivia

The inside of the ice palace was mostly made up specifically formed wax.

The lady that Zhivago tries to get onto the train after grabbing her baby actually fell under it and was injured, that shot was also used in the film though we only see her fall down.

The film was torn apart by critics when first released. Newsweek, in particular, made comments about 'hack-job sets' and 'pallid photography'. 'David Lean' was so deeply affected by these criticisms (despite the popularity of the film with the general public) that he swore he would never make another film.

The film was not shown in Russia until 1994.

Producer Carlo Ponti originally bought the rights to the novel so that he could cast his wife, Sophia Loren, in the role of Lara. David Lean, however, did not want to use Loren, claiming that she was 'too tall' for the role.

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Spain and Finland. Blown up to 70mm for roadshow engagements.

Miscellaneous Notes

Voted Best Actress (Christie - shared with "Darling") and one of the Year's Ten Best English Language Films by the 1965 National Board of Review.

Released in United States Winter December 1965

Re-released in United States July 27, 1990

Re-released in United States April 7, 1995

Released in United States on Video November 6, 2001

Released in United States March 1980

Released in United States November 1995

Released in United States 2010

Shown at London Film Festival November 2-19, 1995.

Shown at Tribeca Film Festival (Special Events) April 21-May 2, 2010.

Released in USA on video.

Formerly distributed by MGM.

Released in USA on laserdisc 1995.

Released in United States Winter December 1965

Re-released in United States July 27, 1990 (Los Angeles)

Re-released in United States April 7, 1995

Released in United States on Video November 6, 2001

Released in United States March 1980 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (The Epic: A Monumental Movie Marathon) March 4-21, 1980.)

Released in United States November 1995 (Shown at London Film Festival November 2-19, 1995.)

Released in United States 2010 (Shown at Tribeca Film Festival (Special Events) April 21-May 2, 2010.)