With a running time of three hours and 17 minutes, breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and wolves howling in the woods, ‘Doctor Zhivago’ does it bigger and better than anything else. Based on Boris Pasternak’s 1958 novel, the story sweeps through World War I, the Russian revolution, famine and civil war.
But what’s history next to the epic love story of poet and doctor Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif, brooding) and shopkeeper’s daughter Lara (Julie Christie, glowing like she’s swallowed a lightbulb)? Even better than the lead performances is Rod Steiger as the rotter who seduces Lara as a 17-year-old schoolgirl after sleeping with her mum, and Tom Courtenay as her fanatical husband. ‘Doctor Zhivago’ has the most irritating soundtrack in the history of cinema and yes, it’s old-fashioned and sappy. But it’s impossible not to swoon. This is a love story to sink your teeth into.