Omar Sharif as Yuri Zhivago, Julie Christie as Lara

Doctor Zhivago: Brief Notes on an Epic Drama

 

Pre-Movie Night Reading

Director: David Lean
Date of Release: 1965
Awards: Five Oscars in 1966, Five Golden Globes in 1967, and multiple others

Principal roles:

Omar Sharif as Doctor Zhivago
Julie Christie as Lara
Alec Guiness as Yevgraf

Summary:

This movie is an epic drama about Russian physician, Yuri Zhivago, who experiences the dramatic upheavals that WWI and the Bolshevik Revolution bring to his homeland. Throughout the story, idealist Zhivago endures numerous hardships, which includes falling in love with a nurse, Lara, when he also loves his wife and family.

Read beforehand to enhance the movie-watching experience:

  • Much of the movie takes place between 1912 to 1925, which spans World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the Russian Civil War.
  • It is based on the novel by Boris Pasternak, which was smuggled out of Russia and eventually published in Italy in 1957.  The Soviet Union finally allowed the book to be viewed by the public in 1988.
  • The film was shot in Spain during the regime of General Francisco Franco. While the scene with the crowd chanting the Marxist theme was being filmed at 3:00 am, local police showed up at the set thinking that a real revolution was taking place. Apparently, people who lived near the filming venue woke up to the sound of revolutionary singing, and 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. (Source: IMDb)
  • Doctor Zhivago is well known for its soundtrack, particularly Maurice Jarre’s “Lara’s Theme,” which won an Academy Award for Best Music Score.

 

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