Doctor Zhivago


Doctor Zhivago

Critics Consensus

It may not be the best of David Lean's epics, but Dr. Zhivago is still brilliantly photographed and sweepingly romantic.



Total Count: 45
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Movie Info

Based on the Nobel Prize-winning novel by Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago covers the years prior to, during, and after the Russian Revolution, as seen through the eyes of poet/physician Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif). In the tradition of Russian novels, a multitude of characters and subplots intertwine within the film's 197 minutes (plus intermission). Zhivago is married to Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin), but carries on an affair with Lara (Julie Christie), who has been raped by ruthless politician Komarovsky (Rod Steiger). Meanwhile, Zhivago's half-brother Yevgraf (Alec Guinness) and the mysterious, revenge-seeking Strelnikoff (Tom Courteney) represent the "good" and "bad" elements of the Bolshevik revolution. Composer Maurice Jarre received one of Doctor Zhivago's five Oscars, with the others going to screenwriter Robert Bolt, cinematographer Freddie Young, art directors John Box and Terry Marsh, set decorator Dario Simoni, and costumer Phyllis Dalton. The best picture Oscar, however, went to The Sound of Music. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Doctor Zhivago

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (14)

  • Despite the grim and brooding background, Zhivago has a surging buoyant spirit that is unquenchable. Doctor Zhivago is more than a masterful motion picture; it is a life experience.

    Dec 22, 2016 | Full Review…
  • One of those rare film adaptations which, unless you have already read the book, makes you wonder why anyone ever bothered to make the film at all.

    Apr 29, 2016 | Full Review…

    Richard Roud

    Top Critic
  • Epic seems too small a word for the sweeping ambition and romance of Doctor Zhivago.

    Dec 1, 2015 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Lean and Bolt pay tribute to a Tolstoyan ambition in Pasternak's samizdat novel, and also to a real contemporary relevance: the story of a suppressed writer.

    Nov 26, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Demands everything from the viewer while offering little in return, with Lean coming across like a despised schoolmaster not wanting to open himself up to his braying students.

    Nov 26, 2015 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Yes it's old-fashioned and sappy. But it's impossible not to swoon.

    Nov 24, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Cath Clarke

    Time Out
    Top Critic

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