Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Doctor Zhivago (1965)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Doctor Zhivago (1965, US/UK)

In David Lean's dramatic romance epic based upon Boris Pasternak's novel:

  • the splendid sets, scenery and the epic cinematography of Freddie Young
  • the scene of the Czar's cavalry-dragoon charge and slaughtering-execution of Socialist marchers/students protesting peacefully in a Moscow square (led by idealistic reformer and passionate political activist "Pasha" Antipov, later aka Strelnikov (Tom Courteney)); the massacre was witnessed by poet-doctor Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif) from a balcony
  • the Christmas Eve engagement party for the impending marriage of Yuri and Tonya Gromeko (Geraldine Chaplin), when the celebration was interrupted - mistreated Lara (Julie Christie) shot and wounded her lecherous scoundrel/benefactor Victor Komarovsky (Rod Steiger), earlier, he had told her that she was "a slut" and he violently forced himself on her to dissuade her from marrying "Pasha" and then brutally assaulted her: ("...And don't delude yourself [that] this was rape. That would flatter us both"); after the failed assassination attempt at the Christmas Eve party, Lara was escorted away from the party by her fiancee
  • the scene of the transportation of exiles by train from Moscow to the frozen countryside
  • the great scenes of war and the Russian Bolshevik Revolution
Lara: "We haven't done anything you have to lie about"
  • the beginnings of a long, star-crossed love affair between poet-doctor Yuri Zhivago (although married to loyal Tonya) and beautiful nurse Lara - who was allegedly married to passionate political activist Pasha Antipova (presumed dead or disappeared); just before they were about to separate after six platonic months, Yuri told Lara that he would be jealous over her; she told Yuri: "My dear, don't - please (she burned her ironing)....Yuri, we've been together six months on the road, in here, and we haven't done anything you have to lie about to Tonya. I don't want you to have to lie about me. Do you understand that, Yuri?" - soon after, she said a simple goodbye to him: ("Goodbye, Zhivago")
  • Yuri's brutal train ride with his exiled family to escape from Moscow and travel to the Gromeko estate at Varykino in the Ural Mountains, near the town of Yuriatin
  • during the train journey, the scene of Yuri's interrogation by "Pasha" 6 years later; he was now known as Strelnikov - an infamous and ruthless Bolshevik commander and renegade fighting against the White Russians, who complimented Yuri's poetry, but was skeptical of 'private life': "I used to admire your poetry.... I shouldn't admire it now. I should find it absurdly personal. Don't you agree? Feelings, insights, affections. It's suddenly trivial, now. You don't agree. You're wrong. The personal life is dead in Russia. History has killed it. I can see how you might hate me...The private life is dead, for a man, with any manhood"
  • the rekindling of the love affair between Yuri and Lara, who were reunited at a garden cottage in Yuriatin and slept with each other for the first time; Lara asked: "Is Tonya with you?" - he answered: "All of us"; she asked about their uncertain future: "What are we going to do?" he replied: "I don't know" - they kissed; later, she pondered about their fateful relationship during troubled times: "Oh, Lord, this is an awful time to be alive...Wouldn't it have been lovely if we'd met before?...We'd have got married and had a house and children"
  • later, the couple took up residence (after Tonya had been deported with family from Moscow to Paris) in the abandoned ice-frozen house/castle (or dacha) in Varykino; the romantic scenes were often accompanied by Maurice Jarre's "Lara's Theme" - with magical images of the winter fairyland, but their days were numbered
Lara's and Yuri's Final Goodbye
  • the scene of Lara's departure from Varykino in a horse-drawn carriage-sled with Komarovsky in order to save herself from execution by escaping to Manchuria - after seeing her off when Yuri decided to remain behind, he raced to an upstairs window, struggled to rub the ice off, and then broke the window for one memorable final look at her in the far distance
  • the moving death of the aging surgeon about eight years later when Yuri sighted his old flame Lara walking down a crowded Moscow street; he struggled to signal to her, then rushed to exit the streetcar, but the exertion, enormous stress and physical effort was too much for him as he chased after her. He suffered a fatal stroke, as he fruitlessly tried to call out to her while waving. He collapsed and died on the street after failing to get her attention. A crowd surrounded his lifeless body in a long overhead shot

Moscow Square Protest Marred by Attack of Czar's Cavalry

Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif) with Fiancee Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin)

Lara Shooting Victor Komarovsky at Yuri's Christmas Engagement Party

Transportation of Yuri and Other Exiles By Train to Urals

Strelnikov's Intense Interrogation of Yuri

Reunited and Sleeping Together at Yuriatin

Lara Pondering Their Circumstances

The Ice Castle at Varykino


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