Doctor Zhivago (film)

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Doctor Zhivago (Russian: До́ктор Жива́го) is a 1965 epic or drama-romance-war film directed by David Lean and loosely based on the famous novel of the same name by Boris Pasternak. It remained popular for decades, and as of 2010 is the eighth highest grossing film of all time in the United States, adjusted for inflation.[1]



The film takes place, for the most part, during the tumultuous period of 1912–1923, the years which included World War I, the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War, as the regime of Tsar Nicholas II was overthrown and the Soviet Union established. A framing device, from which the film is narrated, takes place some time in the 1950s, though a specific date is never mentioned.

The film's framing device involves Cheka General Yevgraf Andreyevich Zhivago (Alec Guinness) searching for the illegitimate child of his half brother, poet and doctor Yuri Andreyevich Zhivago (Omar Sharif), and his mistress Larissa ("Lara") Antipova (Julie Christie). (It is briefly mentioned that Yuri Andreyevich's "Lara poems" are finally back in print after being banned for some time.) Yevgraf believes a young woman named Tonya Komarovskaya (Rita Tushingham) working on a dam project may be his niece. Around 1956, Yevgraf narrates the story for her, periodically appearing in it, though he rarely interacts with any other characters (and never speaks except in voice-over) in the flashbacks.

Yevgraf tells Tonya the story of her father's life. Yuri Zhivago's father abandons the family and Yuri's mother dies when he is a child, leaving him only a balalaika. Left destitute, Yuri is taken in by his mother's friends, the Gromekos—Alexander (Ralph Richardson) and Anna (Siobhán McKenna)—and their daughter Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin). Gromeko is a retired medical professor living in Moscow. As a result, Zhivago is able to enter medical school, studying under Professor Boris Kurt (Geoffrey Keen). Though he is already a poet of some renown, Yuri does not think he can support a family as a poet and decides to become a doctor. Lara, meanwhile, lives with her mother (Adrienne Corri), a dressmaker who is being "advised" by Victor Ipolitovich Komarovsky (Rod Steiger), a corrupt attorney, who was a friend and business partner of Zhivago's father.

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