Dr Yuri Zhivago (played by Omar Sharif) is a surgeon, living and working in Moscow in the early years of the twentieth century. Yuri is married to Tonya (by Geraldine Chaplin), the daughter of wealthy upper class Muscovites, and the couple are totally devoted to each other. Their affluent life with their son, Sasha (by Jeffrey Rockland) progresses happily until World War 1 and then the Russian Revolution, when everthing is turned upside down and Yuri is transported by the Soviet Army to Siberia. Here he endures ongoing unspeakable cruelty and hardship for months until he finally manages to escape. During his long journey home to Moscow he meets and falls deeply in love with Lara (by Julie Christie), who inspires him to write poetry and set up a new rural life with her, far away from the civil unrest. Can their new idyllic life go on unhindered by the chaotic and dangerous world going on just beyond the nearby city boundaries?
This is the first movie I ever saw that I truly loved. A Russian epic, it is based on Boris Pasternak’s novel “Dr Zhivago”. It features romance, violence, betrayal, heartbreak, treachery, mystery, revenge and deep passion as it traces Yuri’s life before and during the Revolution. The cinematography is stunning throughout, masterful scene construction and dazzling colours are supported by a beautiful and soaring musical score (made famous by the track “Lara’s Theme (Somewhere, My Love)” which hauntingly underscores much of the movie). This is truly the stuff of epic novels and should be watched on a lazy Sunday afternoon. However, be forewarned – it’s long (3 hours) – but if you get entranced by the story, you may not even notice!
It is just a sublime and marvellous movie and one of my all time favourites.
Made in 1965. Directed by David Lean.