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|Omar Sharif||Doctor Yuri Zhivago|
|Julie Christie||Lara Antipova|
|Geraldine Chaplin||Tonya Gromeko|
|Rod Steiger||Viktor Komarovsky|
|Alec Guinness||General Yevgraf Zhivago|
|Tom Courtenay||Pasha Antipov/Strelnikov|
|Ralph Richardson||Alexander Gromeko|
|Noel Willman||Razin, Liberius' Lieutenant|
|Mark Eden||Engineer at dam|
|Klaus Kinski||Kostoyed Amourski|
|Rita Tushingham||The Girl|
|Ingrid Pitt||Extra (uncredited)|
|Arvid Griffen||Executive Producer|
|Boris Pasternak||Story Contributor|
|Dario Simoni||Set Decoration|
|Eddie Fowlie||Special Effects|
|Freddie Young||Director of Photography|
|Gil Parrondo||Art Direction|
|John Box||Production Design|
|Maurice Jarre||Original Music Composer|
|Phyllis Dalton||Costume Design|
|Terence Marsh||Art Direction|
|William Steinkamp||Sound Designer|
"Turbulent were the times and fiery was the love story of Zhivago, his wife and the passionate, tender Lara."
"Turbulent were the times and fire was the love story of Zhivago, his wife and the passionate, tender Lara."
"A Love Caught in the Fire of Revolution."
The film takes place mostly against a backdrop of World War I, the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War. A narrative framing device, set in the late 1940s to early 1950s, involves KGB Lieutenant General Yevgraf Andreyevich Zhivago (Alec Guinness) searching for the daughter of his half brother, doctor Yuri Andreyevich Zhivago (Omar Sharif), and Larissa ("Lara") Antipova (Julie Christie). Yevgraf believes a young woman, Tonya Komarova (Rita Tushingham) may be his niece, and tells her the story of her father's life.
When Yuri Zhivago is orphaned after his mother's death, he is taken in by his mother's friends, Alexander 'Sasha' (Ralph Richardson) and Anna (Siobhán McKenna) Gromeko, and grows up with their daughter Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin).
In 1913, Zhivago as a medical student in training, but a poet at heart, meets Tonya as she returns to Moscow after a long trip to Paris. Lara, meanwhile, becomes involved in an affair with Victor Ipolitovich Komarovsky (Rod Steiger), a friend of her mother's (Adrienne Corri). That night, the idealistic reformer Pavel Pavlovich ("Pasha") Antipov (Tom Courtenay) drifts into left-wing extremism after being wounded by sabre-wielding Cossacks during a peaceful demonstration. Pasha runs to Lara, whom he wants to marry, to treat his wound. He asks her to hide a gun he picked up at the demonstration. Lara's mother discovers her affair with Komarovsky and attempts suicide. Komarovsky summons help from the physician. Zhivago arrives as the physician's assistant. When Komarovsky learns of Lara's intentions to marry Pasha, he tries to dissuade Lara, and then rapes her. In revenge, Lara takes the pistol she has been hiding for Pasha and shoots Komarovsky at a Christmas Eve party, wounding him. Komarovsky insists no action be taken against Lara, who is escorted out by Pasha. Zhivago tends Komarovsky's wound. Although enraged and devastated by Lara's affair with Komarovsky, Pasha marries Lara, and they have a daughter named, Katya.
During World War I, Yevgraf Zhivago is sent by Russian Social Democratic Labour Party to subvert the Imperial Russian Army for the Bolsheviks. Pasha is reported missing in action following a daring charge attack on German forces. Lara enlists as a nurse in order to search for him. Yuri Zhivago is drafted and becomes a battlefield doctor.
During the February Revolution, Zhivago enlists Lara's help to tend to the wounded. Together they run a field hospital for six months, during which time radical changes ensues throughout Russia as Vladimir Lenin arrives in Moscow. Before their departure, Yuri and Lara fall in love. Yuri must remain loyal to Tonya, whom he already married.
After the war, Yuri returns to his wife Tonya, son Sasha, and Alexander, whose house in Moscow has been divided into tenements by the new Soviet government. Yevgraf, now a member of the CHEKA, informs him his poems have been condemned by Soviet censors as antagonistic to Communism. Yevgraf arranges for passes and documents in order for Yuri and his family to escape from the new political capital of Moscow to the far away Gromeko estate at Varykino, in the Ural Mountains. Zhivago, Tonya, Sasha and Alexander now board a heavily-guarded cattle train, at which time they are informed that they'll be travelling through contested territory, which is being secured by a famous Bolshevik commander named Strelnikov.
While the train is stopped, Zhivago wanders away. He stumbles across the armoured train of Strelnikov himself sitting on a hidden siding. Yuri recognizes Strelnikov as the former Pasha Antipov. After a tense interview, Strelnikov informs Yuri that Lara is now living in the town of Yuriatin, then occupied by anti-Communist White Army. He allows Zhivago to return to his family, although it is hinted by Strelnikov's right-hand man most people interrogated by Strelnikov end up being shot.
The family lives a peaceful life in Varykino until Zhivago finds Lara in nearby Yuriatin. At which point they surrender to their long repressed feelings. When Tonya becomes pregnant, Yuri breaks off with Lara, only to be abducted and conscripted into service by Communist partisans.
After two years, Zhivago at last deserts, trudging through the deep snow to Yuriatin, and finds Lara. After six months, Lara reveals a letter from Tonya, in which she tells Yuri that she, her father, and Sasha have been deported to Paris, and had met with Lara while searching for the long-lost Yuri.
One night, Komarovsky arrives and informs them they are being watched by the CHEKA due to Lara's marriage to Strelnikov and Yuri's "counter-revolutionary" poetry and desertion. Komarovsky offers Yuri and Lara his help in leaving Russia. They refuse. Instead, they go to the isolated Varykino estate, where Yuri begins writing the "Lara" poems, which will later make him famous but incur government displeasure. Komarovsky reappears and tells Yuri that Strelnikov committed suicide while being taken to his execution. Therefore, Lara is in immediate danger, as the CHEKA has only left her free to lure Strelnikov into the open. Zhivago sends Lara away with Komarovsky, who becomes an official in the Far East. Refusing to leave with a man he despises, Yuri remains behind.
In 1936, in Moscow, during the Stalinist era, Yuri sees Lara while travelling on a tram. Forcing his way off the tram, he runs after her, at which point he suffers a fatal heart attack. Yuri's funeral is well attended, as his poetry is already being published openly due to shifts in politics. Lara informs Yevgraf she had given birth to Yuri's daughter, but lost her in the collapse of the White-controlled government in Mongolia. After vainly looking over hundreds of orphans with Yevgraf's help, Lara disappears during Joseph Stalin's Great Purge, and "died or vanished somewhere...in one of the labour camps," according to Yevgraf.
While Yevgraf strongly believes that Tonya Komarova is Yuri's and Lara's daughter, she is still not convinced. Yevgraf notices that Tonya carries with her a balalaika. Finding Tonya learned to play the balalaika by herself, he smiles, "Ah, then, it's a gift," thereby implying she truly must be their daughter after all.
Theatrical : 1965-12-31 : United States of America
DVD : 2010-05-04
DVD : 1998-01-01
DVD : 2011-01-04