Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Directed by David Lean
Who’s in it? Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin
What’s it about? Narrowly missing out on the Best Picture Oscar to The Sound of Music, Lawrence of Arabia director David Lean’s multi-Oscar winning adaptation of Boris Pasternak’s Nobel Prize winning novel of love amid the socio-political turmoil of civil war, is another classic from the director’s epic resume. Classy melodrama at its most elegant and affecting, the plot bears witness to the personal impact of Bolshevik Communism leading up to, during and after the Russian Revolution as Sharif’s married poet/physician has an affair with revolutionary’s wife Lara (Christie) as the pair come to terms with a frightening new world order.
Memorable Moments? Featuring a Best Original Song Oscar winning main theme, Maurice Jarre’s stirring score for the film mirrors the inner tempests and contextual chaos of the period, tangible in the passionate glances and dialogue of its two leads, against the snowy backdrop of old Russia at the turn of a new century.
Look Who’s Talking: ‘Laborious, but beautifully crafted 193-minute opus from the master of epic cinema, David Lean.’ – Film4
Like that? Try this: Considered a “miracle of a film” by Spielberg and another of David Lean’s sweeping historical period dramas, garnering an impressive nine Oscars, Lawrence of Arabia (1962) follows the fateful events in the life of British army officer turned revolutionary T.E Lawrence and is the epic to end all epics. Boasting a series of jaw dropping pre-CG set pieces and stunts as well as one of the greatest opening sequences in cinema history (Omar Sharif’s Bedouin freedom fighter emerging from the shimmering vastness of the desert on a camel), this is a film that really has to be seen to be believed, on the big screen if at all possible.
Trivia Pursuit: The film is the eighth highest grossing of all time.
Ronan Wright writes from Belfast and blogs at Filmplicity.