Doctor Zhivago

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Doctor Zhivago
Directed byDavid Lean
Screenplay byRobert Bolt
Produced byCarlo Ponti
StarringOmar Sharif
Julie Christie
Tom Courtenay
Alec Guinness
Geraldine Chaplin
Rod Steiger
CinematographyFreddie Young
Nicolas Roeg (Uncredited)
Edited byNorman Savage
Music byMaurice Jarre
Sostar S.A.
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • 22 December 1965 (1965-12-22) (US)
  • 26 April 1966 (1966-04-26) (UK)
  • 10 December 1966 (1966-12-10) (Italy)
  • 28 September 1999 (1999-09-28) (US re-release)
Running time
197 minutes
193 minutes (UK)
200 minutes (1992 re-release)
192 minutes (1999 re-release)
United States
Budget$11 million
Box office$245 million[1]

Doctor Zhivago is a 1965 epic romantic drama movie. The movie is about life in Russia before and during World War I and during the Russian Civil War from 1917 to 1922. The movie is based on a novel of the same name. It was written by Boris Pasternak. The movie was banned in the Soviet Union. It could not be made there and also could not be shown in theatres after it was released. It was first shown in Russia in 1994. The movie was directed by David Lean.[2]

Critics complained when the movie was released because its running time was over three hours. Also, critics thought that the history in the movie was not told correctly. Over time, opinions changed. Now it is thought by the public to be one of David Lean's best movies.[2] It was ranked by the American Film Institute in 1998 as the 39th greatest American movie of all time.[3]

The movie won five Academy Awards. It was entered into the 1966 Cannes Film Festival.[4]

Cast[change | change source]

Geraldine Chaplin with Omar Sharif in Doctor Zhivago

Background[change | change source]

The Doctor Zhivago novel was published in 1957 outside Russia, in Western countries. The book caused both praise and controversy. Some of Boris Pasternak's story had been available in Samizdat for some time after World War II. But the novel did not get written until 1956.

The book had to be smuggled out of the Soviet Union, because their government banned it for its views against Communism. It was taken by a trusted friend to an Italian publisher who printed and released it. Many people heard about the book because of the Soviet Union actions taken against the novel. It became very popular in the non-communist world. It spent 26 weeks at the top of the New York Times best-seller list.

A great poet who wrote about how he felt, Pasternak was awarded the 1958 Nobel Prize in Literature. Even though the award was given for his poetry, it was known that the prize was mainly for Doctor Zhivago. The Soviet Union saw this Nobel Prize as a personal attack against their government itself. Pasternak was said to be a traitor by their leaders, so he refused to accept the Prize. The public now thought Pasternak was a Cold War symbol of rebellion against Soviet communism.

The movie plot was the same as the novel in some ways, but some changes were made. Many critics said that the movie gave too much attention to the love story between Zhivago and Lara. This downplayed the events of the Russian Revolution and the civil war that it caused.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Doctor Zhivago (1965)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 5 January 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "David Lean Movies". Ranker. Retrieved Apr 17, 2015.
  3. AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (1998). Retrieved October 25, 2015
  4. "Doctor Zhivago". Festival de Cannes. 1966. Archived from the original on 7 August 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  5. Crowther, Bosley (23 December 1965). "Movie Review, Doctor Zhivago (1965)". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 June 2015. ...has reduced the vast upheaval of the Russian Revolution to the banalities of a doomed romance.