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Doctor Zhivago (1965)

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Doctor Zhivago is a stunning masterpiece by ace director David Lean. In terms of scope and impact, it matches Lawrence of Arabia.  Technically brilliant, at times, it feels like a continuation of Lawrence of Arabia, but in a different clothing (Fur coats replacing Thawbs).   The film has almost everything that one could ask for in an epic -> stunning visuals, a memorable background score by Maurice Jarre, a superb collection of actors, and great direction. It covers life during the Russian Revolution, includes First World War elements, and advances a love story in a poetic way. 

 

It is the highest grossing David Lean film and among the biggest hits of all time (inflation adjusted):

 

Highest-grossing films as of 2019 adjusted for inflation
Rank Title Worldwide gross
(2019 $)
Year
1 Gone with the Wind $3,713,000,000 1939
2 Avatar $3,263,000,000 2009
3 Titanic $3,087,000,000 1997
4 Star Wars $3,049,000,000 1977
5 Avengers: Endgame $2,798,000,000 2019
6 The Sound of Music $2,554,000,000 1965
7 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial $2,493,000,000 1982
8 The Ten Commandments $2,361,000,000 1956
9 Doctor Zhivago $2,238,000,000 1965
10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens $2,206,000,000 2015

 

 

Though I rate Lawrence of Arabia as Lean's best effort (a monumental achievement at the time of its release in 1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965) comes close to it: 

 

 

 

 

The Frozen House:

 

 

 

 

If we strip all the elements, at its heart, the film is a love story set in the backdrop of the Russian Revolution. Zhivago (Omar Sheriff) is an orphan raised by a nobel family. Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin), the daughter of the nobel couple who raised the orphan, loves Zhivago and eventually gets married to him. The couple has to endure hardships due to the atmosphere in Russia. However, Zhivago has an eye on Lara (Julie Christie), who has been in various relationships including an unspeakable one. 

 

What is interesting about the film (and different from other love stories) is that even though the focus is on Zhivago-Lara love story, you are not really rooting for them. Much like Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) in Gone with the Wind (1939), it is Tonya that that you are rooting for and want Zhivago to be with her. This tension is what keeps the viewers relatively more interested in the film. The key characters, Zhivago and Lara, whose love story is impacted by various events and characters, can appear more like villains (or big losers) at the end of the day. How many of you feel similarly? 

Edited by zen

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9 minutes ago, The Realist said:

If anything its an immensely overrated film. There is nothing special about it or anything that stands out - a bog standard, overwrought love story with some wooden acting.

Which are the 2-3 films that you rate highly? 

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5 minutes ago, First class said:

One of my all time favorite movie, along with the following

 

The great escape

Mystic river

The lion king

Ben-Hur

 

Yeah, a beautiful film w/ magical sound track .... btw, if you like the Great Escape, Criterion announced a new release in May. This can be a good addition to any collection:

 

bPuyXlWNoUAC4cbWbL1Z08Q48keUKn_large.jpg

 

Link

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3 hours ago, zen said:

 

Yeah, a beautiful film w/ magical sound track .... btw, if you like the Great Escape, Criterion announced a new release in May. This can be a good addition to any collection:

 

bPuyXlWNoUAC4cbWbL1Z08Q48keUKn_large.jpg

 

Link

Thanks, looking forward to it, have some special memories with this film. 

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5 hours ago, zen said:

 

Yeah, a beautiful film w/ magical sound track .... btw, if you like the Great Escape, Criterion announced a new release in May. This can be a good addition to any collection:

 

bPuyXlWNoUAC4cbWbL1Z08Q48keUKn_large.jpg

 

Link

Steve McQueen was such a badass. Even though I believe the role must have been gone to Rick Dalton. 

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