Doctor Zhivago (1965) - Drama, Romance, War

Hohum Score



The life of a Russian physician and poet who, although married to another, falls in love with a political activist's wife and experiences hardship during World War I and then the October Revolution.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Omar Sharif, Julie Christie
Length: 197 Minutes
PG Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 55 out of 291 found boring (18.9%)

One-line Reviews (219)

It's like a big expansive painting stretching across the wall where you can admire and even love certain small things about it - Rod Steiger's electrifying performance, Klaus Kinski's ten minutes locked on a train using nothing but his eyes, a scene with Alec Guiness' narration that is like narration having a conversation with a character in a room (when he's talking to his half-brother, or reminiscing about it) which I found really fascinating, and some of the photography is wonderful - though on the whole it's lacking a certain something.

If the AFI were to make a list of 100 Most Beautiful but Excruciatingly Dull Films, Doctor Zhivago would be number one with little or no competition in sight.

Suberbly photographed by Freddie Young and absolutely stunning design from John Box go a long way to making this such a breathtaking film.

Three hours later I realized I'd just wasted three hours of my life.

"Zhivago" creates a fascinating and sprawling portrait of turn-of-the-(20th)-century Russia and the lives of a few characters as they navigate the tricky waters of political and socio-economic turmoil.

Omar Sharif showed in a very good way the inner part of the character,especially through the intensive expression of his eyes.

Another worthless criticism: It's too slow, too long.

The plot goes nowhere, the characters are inconsistent, and it nearly caused me to die of boredom.

Rod Steiger and Tom Courtney are engrossing and frightening as many people noted.

Although I agree that this is a wonderful film (if a bit overlong), and is worth watching, I feel that, in his effort to make another "epic" and trying to match his incomparable "Lawrence Of Arabia" and "The Bridge On The River Kwai" , David Lean missed out on a more in-depth and meaningful plot.

To appreciate it you have to favor David Lean's style, which is epic and artistic, but also mundane and realistic (and, sometimes surrealistic, like the sabre-wielding Cossack attack on the peaceful protesters in Moscow).

I will admit that this movie is a litle slow at times, and it is a little hard to follow, and that the characters could have used some more development.

And Geraldine Chaplin's English language film debut , as David Lean discovered Geraldine Chaplin when he spotted her on the cover of a magazine and enjoyable Rita Tushingham who filmed her part in two weeks .

But then Lean went on and on using mirrors to show character's faces that it grew weird and tedious.

The stunning locations are breathtaking, and of course Maurice Jarre's contagious and famous theme became synonymous with the movie itself.

My gripes, big and small are: * It feels like propaganda.

The slower stretches lead up to key scenes that are simply magical.

One scene ends with showing the empty room after the characters leave, and the vase with one sunflower sits on the table.

If someone is suffering from insomnia or some other kind of sleep deprivation disorder, permit me to recommend a dose of Doctor Zhivago.

Doctor Zhivago is such an interesting and intriguing film.

The slightly repetitive Jarre music.

Far from being stagy, the acting is powerful, the scenes intense, the conflicts well defined.

On the other hand, as always with a Lean film Doctor Zhivago is superbly made, with very evocative and richly detailed settings and period detail – with a brilliantly realized contrast between the plush rich and the poverty-striken- and very atmospheric and sweeping cinematography from Freddie Young, especially telling in the train ride and in the moments with the Bolsheviks.

Or So Boring .

One scene in particular, where they enter Zhivago's dacha, now an ice palace, is literally breathtaking.

Long boring pointless scenes that could have easily been edited out.

The different pieces of music are very boring and untouching.

As far as the political points go it can be a little confusing, it helps if have an understanding of history.

It's a visual tapestry that's stunning from beginning to end, and one of those wide screen epics of the 1950s and '60s that attempted to pull viewers away from the banalities of television.

Rod Steiger gives one of his most natural performances, and yet is simultaneously at his most unnerving and unpredictable.

The most fascinating thing is the poetic aspect,extraordinaryly exalted by the sublime music composed by Maurice Jarre.

Though it may be a bit too long for people who are easily bored.

Few, if any, events in human history were more exciting and dynamic than the Russian Revolution.

This tale is long, a little confusing, criss-crossed with meetings between men and women who are relatives, old friends, present or past lovers, or virtual strangers.

Thirty eight years later, I like it better but it is not a great love story, but it is enjoyable.

I found the end part of the story which is a sort of epilogue, where the action jumps forward to the (then) present day, a bit confusing, a little tiresome, somewhat contrived, and lacking in any real drama.

So canny is Lean that in numerous scenes there is a brilliant piece of visual trickery as a shaft of light falls over those dark brown pupils to riveting effect.

Depending upon your mood, this can be either like watching paint dry, or like observing an artist create one of his less satisfying works.

The story is very long, but it was entertaining.

Alec Guinness, as always, is superb as Yevgraf; though he has limited screen time, his narration alone (particularly that regarding WWI) is often alone worth watching the film.

Stunning cinematography combines here with a turbulent historical setting, an unforgettable idealistic hero, and one of the most compelling fictional love triangles of all time.

It was important to them, I know, but I found the movie a real snoozer.

Viusually stunning, this lengthy epic shows what MGM could do with the vast movie-making resources they had.

In telling his story, he offers breathtaking visuals, like the awesome vistas of the snow-covered Urals, or a long shot of a wide open Russian plain with a solitary figure in the distance trudging through the snow, juxtaposed against the enormity of the landscape.

From beginning to end, this is a riveting, thoroughly satisfying movie-going experience.

The movie isn't even erotic--just shallow, slow and sad.

In telling his story, he offers breathtaking visuals, like the awesome vistas of the snow-covered Urals, or a long shot of a wide open Russian plain with a solitary figure in the distance trudging through the snow, juxtaposed against the enormity of the landscape.

Anyway, if you have 4 hours, and would like to see something quiet different and entertaining, and don't mind adultery (I have seen "closer" for god sakes), then do watch this movie.

The film is at a very time-consuming 200 minutes and sometimes I felt the story may have dragged on a bit.

Ironically, one exception is the campy and rather dreary Isn't She Great (2000), about trash novelist Jacqueline Susann, which actually explores the act of writing!

This film has a lot of good things: the acting is flawless, the script is a fair adaptation of Pasternak's book, and the story, when Lean allows it to move, is compelling stuff.

In this movie the Russian Revolution is relegated to being a mere back-drop for some kind of convoluted love-triangle, or love-square, or love-something, all revolving around the character of Yuri Zhivago who has to be the weakest central character ever contrived in the history of Hollywood.

A stunning film, with extremely emotive and very handsome lead stars in Omar Sharif and Juile Christie.

Of all the words often use to describe this film, epic, masterful, unforgettable, sweeping, stunning, seductive, romantic that I can't apply to it is riveting.

Based on Boris Pasternak's famous novel, this is a thinly veiled criticism of the Bolshevik revolution and its aftermath under the entertaining and touching guise of a love affair between the film's two leads - Omar Shariff's Dr Yuri Zhivago and Julie Christie's Lara.

The topper to a basically empty and meandering (and LOOOOOONG) soap opera.

Most of all, this is a beautiful film, with some of the most breathtaking location footage (it doesn't matter that it's Spain and Finland standing in for Russia) ever shot.

This is an absolutely stunning movie.

The film is too long and boring.

Stunning, truly, in its believability and grandeur.

'Doctor Zhivago' is way too long and boring for a lot of the time and most definitely not a classic movie, far from it.

I also bothered with the plenty of pointless characters in this film.

It's a fascinating look at a particular time period of Russia, the birth of Communism and the turmoil it caused.

For the first 100 minutes, Zhivago is a sweeping melodrama with engaging characters and beautiful visuals.

The kids in the film are bad actors; the kid at the very beginning stands at the funeral looking so bored I could have sworn he could hardly wait for the shot to be over so that he could play with his Superman doll.

Its just as fascinating and entertaining a motion picture today as it was way back then.

The strength was in the supporting performances, particularly from Rod Steiger, Tom Courtenay and the always compelling Klaus Kinski who enjoys a meaty cameo.

The story is episodic and some of the story is clunky, even flawed and confusing.

), but it is all so contrived.

Indeed a beautiful country but was is more stunning are the women.

The movie sports a tediously repetitive score and a made-for-TV script, making for a long sit at three-and-a-half hours.

Absolutely stunning.

Stuff happens, everyone dies, but by then I was too bored with the film and repelled by the so-called love story to care.

Although the movie is three hours and 20 minutes long, the cinematography is so efficient, evocative, and densely layered that one hardly notices.

Doctor Zhivago is pretty to look at, of course, and yet a little dull at its core (a love triangle should have just a little more 'umph' to it.

Doctor Zhivago is a powerful film that is entertaining throughout its entirety.

So the movie is quite enjoyable, though it's just not the great, great films that made David Lean famous.

The story is not perfectly executed, but the first two hours are astonishingly fascinating with many memorable scenes like the train ride and the demonstration and while it is a long film and not always the easiest to follow it didn't feel to me like three hours twenty minutes and there was enough meat to the characters and their situations that the story was always riveting.

What a waste of time, money, talent .

There's nothing remotely Russian about the overstuffed turkey, which can get so tedious at times, that the fast-forward button seems a blessing.

Still enjoyable -- almost 50 years later...

Interesting until the climax of the film, then it gets boring .

It is contrived and in no way adds to the film positively.

Its still not a patch on Lawrence, which is one of the most exciting visual experiences you'll ever have, and not as entrancing as Passage to India, which has both breathtaking cinematography and is buoyed by a superb central performance from Judy Davis.

His eyes fill with tears as he surveys the bleak, empty apartment that he will call home, at least for a while.

"Lawrence," in other words, as a story about these manystories being fit into a dull mold, fit Lean's story, so he could tell it.

I thought Lara was a dull, dreary, vapid object of lust and desire.

"The Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Lawrence of Arabia" are as fascinating to watch as intimate character studies as they are big historical panoramas.

Later she is fiancé & then wife to the misguided idealist and activist, Pasha, who holds intense political ideologies which become more crucial than his wife to him.

Julie Christie as Lara is stunning, I fell in love with her myself.

It's pretty long (in fact, the longest of the films I watched on the plane) but it was mostly compelling watching from beginning to end almost non-stop (I only paused during mealtimes).

Maybe I'm not high-brow enough to truly appreciate this movie, but I honestly found it boring.

Freddie Young won an Oscar for it) and all other visually-stunning trappings, its characterisation of the two leads, Yuri Zhivago (Sharif) and Lara Antipova (Christie), pales by comparison.

Slow and tedius .

It is a fairly slow story and to a westerner who knows little of Russian history, the movements which are occurring in Russia through out the film are barely if at all understood unless a character explains them, which seldom happens.

Stunning, artful, sweeping camera-work?

Confusing History, unforgetable Story...

The only things it had going for it were the art direction, costumes, and stunning cinematography.

For the most part, I very much enjoyed it.

Get your popcorn, you're going to be sitting there for a while, but it is ultimately an entertaining and worthwhile piece of cinema.

With "Doctor Zhivago," Lean lost that intellectual edge and made a fabulously entertaining soap opera that, no matter how easily it goes down, still leaves me longing for the challenge of his earlier pictures.

If you're looking for an interesting story, compelling characters, or just a way to stay awake, this is not for you.

neither is uninteresting; is just pointless.

Shariff is bland and seems out of place.

The wonderfully complex plot centers around a young (at the film's outset) Russian doctor and his love for two women, his wife, and a woman that represents all the promise and confusion of the new age.

It's so boring watching these characters do the same antics over and over again.

But it's so boring to look at the whole movie.

A love story set against a backdrop of incredible tumult and turmoil Doctor Zhivago is a rousing success.

Of course, mention should be made of the film score (wonderful, and always enhances, never overwhelms) and the photography, which is often stunning and memorable.

David Lean's epic running on empty .

However, the movie was ultimately long and boring.

You need to pinch yourself to stay awake at times .

Evocative .

Stunning cinematography and an unforgettable score complete the zigsaw of an all time classic not to be missed.

For those who are into the Russian Revolution as I am, I recommend Rasputin, or read Nicholas and Alexandra; don't waste your time poisoning your mind with the movie.

Long stretches are dull in dialogue despite camera set-ups that are always fascinating and artistic, almost as if to distract us from the fact that the script is loosely written, trying without success to encompass a great deal of matter within the framework of a lengthy epic.

The two were simply working together in a mundane war situation where they developed unspoken feelings for each other over the course of the six months.

Visual effects, stunning sets and detailed costumes help us to enter inside the film and let ourselves be carried away by it.

It is worth watching just for Guinness' subtle performance.

Shallow, Slow and Sad .

It's just too slow, especially the first hour which is stupid since you want to hook viewers, not turn them off early on in a 3-hour film!

So while the three hours were a little boring, I think somebody with a better appreciation for drama would just love this film.

The intriguing play of the change of seasons along with the strange fate of circumstances that go to make up events in our lives is brilliantly brought out: from Yurii's adoption into the Gromyoko family and marrying Tanya ("He's your brother now...

However, this is enjoyable melodrama, even if it evaporates the second it's over.

Lean has a wonderful eye and his shots are breathtaking.

If it gets boring, just concentrate on the pretty pictures and music.

Stunning and deeply sad Russian epic .

Contrarily to "Brief Encounter", Lean had the luxury of three hours of running time so he could toy with our expectations by making both Yuri and Lara meet in several occasions to plant the seeds of a romance that wouldn't blow until the two first hours are over.

The pacing is plodding, to be generous.

Beautiful but boring .

Yet, much of this film felt empty to me.

I stopped it shortly into the second part and it took me forever to be bored enough to finish it.

It was often quite confusing - and I am not one to be confused with movies!

I don't know how they did it, but they managed to make a movie even more boring than Cleopatra (1963) in less time.

There were moments where I thought it was dragged out a bit.

The scriptwriters of this film performed masterfully in rendering a highly complex Russian novel into a masterpiece of stunning cinematography.

In a movie this long it's fairly inevitable that there will be some lulls and there are.

A seventeen year old beauty getting involved with her mother's cynical lover, for instance, is an interesting fact that a good movie maker could turn into a fascinating event.

Omar Sharif was quite the dashing figure here and his relationships with his wife, Geraldine Chaplin, and eventual mistress, Julie Christie, were both romantically compelling.

And breathtaking is a word that applies to Lean's attention to visual details, and the way each of his movies are opportunities for spectacular landscape shots.

Ah, I also loved Klaus Kinsky, he is so memorable in his tiny role, with his riveting eyes.

Compelling and Emotional .

It's the same over and over again and is very bland.

While not quite as good as David Lean's other masterpieces The Bridge on the River Kwai or Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago is still a stunning cinematic achievement.

The film seemed to go backward and forward, not really going anywhere, dragged along with a pace so slow if it had gone any slower it would have been rewinding on my DVD.

Other the other hand,some of Lean's devices-the use of mirrors and windows,lightning are fascinating.

Both Yuri Zhivago and Lara Guishar are fascinating people in terms of their ability to deal with adversity and find the strength to persevere.

There's a long complex road to a rather bland affair.

In other words you'll remember the great parts long after you've forgotten the boring bits which means you'll be slightly disappointed after seeing it again several years later

I have to add, though, that there are somewhat dull moments, as well.

I actually like Omar Sharif in the lead, a much underrated actor with real screen magnetism, but Julie Christie is an empty vessel of a performer from the school of stand-there-and-look-beautiful.

Talk about propaganda!

There are so many great Russian classic authors and their compelling,decisive, gripping,gritty real styles affected me so much.

While the movie is gorgeous and fascinating to look at, and the music is superb, adding to the haunting quality of the story and the characters, the film fails to become a more intimate look at the people's lives, and therefore is missing some of the crucial elements of the book.

But this movie is so banal and the characters, with the exception of Komorofsky, so weak, unlikable, pretentious and forgettable, that one may lose all interest in history and make believe that the Russian Revolution never happened.

Dr Zhivago is not the best work of Boris Pasternak (his poems are a lot more powerful), anyway, it is much more than a simple love story, but much of its social and philosophical message gets lost in the movie, even though the film itself seemed to me a way too long.

Filled with absolutely stunning photography and rock solid performances, Doctor Zhivago is a sweeping romantic adventure and one of the greatest films of all time.

There are, however, two flies in the ointment: Julie Christie, who isn't bad, but never does much to make Lara seem like the object of such intense desire that she has to be, for Pasha, Komarovsky, and of course Yuri over the course of the film; her performance is rather bland, and I don't know whether to blame her, Lean, or Bolt for this; and Ralph Richardson, as Tonia's father, who has a few good scenes, but overall is very bland and uninteresting.

Although perhaps the weakest of David Lean's famous epic's such as Lawrence of Arabia and Bridge on The River Kwai (technically not an epic but clearly a precursor to his later style), it is nevertheless a film that must be seen for it's stunning cinematography and stirring recounting of history.

The only reason I needed Dr Zhivago was to perform resucitation on me after i passed out with boredom.

The reason I didn't give this film a higher rating is because, while I think the movie as a whole is riveting and wonderful to view, I can't agree with what I perceive as the insistent viewpoint on the part of the film's creators that the love between Zhivago and Lara is a pure, noble and wonderful thing.

She's riveting there.

The plot plays out on the backdrop of the Russian revolution, a fascinating event in world history.

And while something was broken in Lara's whole life, she continues to be for Yuri an expression of life, and from the distressing emotion of losing her a new and unexpected life of poetry arises...

"Doctor Zhivago" is a fascinating touchstone of what made 1960s cinema uniquely great, without ever being great itself.

Finally an honourable mention goes to an effortlessly volatile and engrossing turn from Klaus Kinski.

What a waste of human life, and what an example of the Russian people's ability to suffer long and hard, through a world war and a long cold communist winter.

I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a romantic, exciting, tear- jerking love story that is set in the epic landscapes of Russia during the tumultuous days of the revolution.

The actors, from Omar Sharif to Julie Christie, are all intense and convincing in their roles.

Also, the political background is a bit too distant in relation to the love story, and the film is too long.

An artist who knew how to combine great performances, with breathtaking settings, haunting soundtrack, in order to create works of art that are to remain as pillars for the future generations of film-makers.

stunning romantic epic .

There's a particularly drawn out and overindulgent battle scene that takes place with horses on an icy lake, which exemplifies the film's tendency to make a big fuss over things that are not integral to the film's story.

Even so, I simply cannot see how this sheer boredom of a movie ever got so highly acclaimed, save yourself 3 hours of your life and do the ironing or something.

For the second 100 minutes, it's a pretentious slog.

Impressive production design , colorful cinematography shot in standard 35mm Panavision anamorphic and emotive as well as evocative musical score , all of them create a real masterpiece , thanks to the great David Lean .

Also visually stunning is the spectacular train ride Yuri and his family must make from Moscow to the Urals, site of the family dachau.

This is a slow film and for the good reasons.

This classical movie contains emotion , intense drama , love stories and historical events .

Some movies have to be slow and long to tell a big, detailed story.

Rod Steiger is a truly malevolent, but more restrained than he can be, Komorovsky, while Tom Courtenay brings humanity and intensity to Pasha and Klaus Kinski is riveting in his short screen time.

Dreck, Dross, Dreary, Drippy and Draining .

Breathtaking set design , Moscow set built in Canillas was half a mile long, and the inside of the ice palace was mostly made up specifically formed wax.

A stunningly repetitive musical score that is jammed down the viewer's throat at every opportunity---and I mean every opportunity whether it fits the scene or not.

I encourage everyone with a genuine interest in the film to seek it out on the big screen the way it needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated, and that applies to those of you who have already seen it on the small screen and enjoyed it.

Oscar winning as well for Maurice Jarre's breathtaking score.

I fell asleep because at that time I was too young to understand the film.

And Omar Sharif is stunning as Iuri Zhivago, who heals the body with emetics, scalpels, antiseptic, and gauze, while he heals the soul with his poetry.

I have noticed that movies about this period tend to be long and rather dull, with a lot of long sequences in which little more is seen than vast expanses of snow (REDS is another of these pictures).

Lara has a tragic past and an unlucky history with men, yet she is easily the most boring troubled woman I've ever seen.

David Lean was an excellent director, but no director, no matter how brilliant or talented, could improve this ponderous postcard.

Not realising that the heart of the movie, the relationship between Lara and Zhivago, needed more attention or the entire film seems pointless.

David Lean's Russian epic is very long and very epic.

Russia is a fascinating country and its revolution was long overdue when it happened.

He has no presence or weight; and he makes you wonder why a very long book was written about this vague, empty character.

Put it all together and you have a film which is quite enjoyable.

The scenery is stunning.

Julie Christie is absolutely stunning in both her acting and beauty.

(For example, having Lara and Yevgraf meet at the beautifully flowered cemetery in the spring, instead of the dreary colorless wake, as described in the novel.

After an opening frame scene in which Zhivago's brother Yevgraf (Alec Guinness) interviews a young girl (Rita Tushingham) whom he suspects might be his brother's love child with Lara (Julie Christie), the main story begins with the funeral of Yuri Zhivago's mother (Tarek Sharif played the eight-year-old Yuri); it is a lovely, austere, and painfully slow-moving scene that is a harbinger of things to come.

It spreads over 3 hrs but still very gripping and glues the viewers.

Overall the film delivers as the romance in Pasternak's novel is intriguing, production value is high, the musical themes are memorable, and many actors like Omar Sharif are well cast.

Even though the film is enjoyable, it is almost three and a half hours long.

Aside from it being way too long and "Lara's Theme" being played ad nauseam: Why is Komarovsky addressed as "Monsieur" when he's obviously not French?

I wasn't at all bored even though it was a long and sometimes slow-paced movie, as I expected it to be, because it was compelling for the various themes it encompassed as love, war, politics as a big classic should do.

Apparently there's a second disc in this set, but you are too long dead to waste any more time on this.

Oh, it isn't complicated in itself, in fact it is maddeningly trite a scandalous reduction of book that had many depths.

Still, the second half is beautiful enough on its own and as a motion picture it is a stunning achievement.

The film can be somewhat hard to follow because of the necessary omissions and condensations for the screenplay to be effective.

After well over 3 hours in length, one would want to leave their viewing chair stunned by a flawless film.

However, if you want to skip onto some of its descendants, see Warren Beatty's Reds or Philip Kaufmann's The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Lean directs masterfully, like in the train ride, and there is a rousing and also hauntingly beautiful music score from Maurice Jarre, Lara's theme is one of his most recognisable themes along with the main theme for Lawrence of Arabia and one can see why.

Perhaps some movies we are not meant to revisit, their memory is so much more powerful than their now dreary repetition.

Director David Lean's "Doctor Zhivago" is long and confusing - it begins with scenes which, hours later, are revealed to be from both the future and the past; then, the story becomes linear.

Watch for the late Klaus Kinski in a brief but very effective portrayal of a man who becomes a prisoner of forced labor - his scenes on the train are riveting.

Just the opening scene is stunning.

Heretofore this movie had seemed to be overly long, stagy, pretentious and boring.

That's not to say that Zhivago is a bad film, but it lacks the storytelling of Lawrence of Arabia, and the exciting action of The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The men are almost all scoundrels, yet hugely entertaining: Tom Courtnay is chilling as a fallen idealist and Rod Steiger oozes corruption.