Doctor Zhivago is a classic piece of epic cinema, it has an emotive, character driven story that succeeds in getting the right reaction from the audience without truly blowing them away.


Directed by David Lean this a film, which you instantly expect to look wonderful and have an epic scope. And it does both of these as we follow the titular Dr. Zhivago (Omar Sharif) in his journey through war, revolution and love. It is the sort of slow building drama that is rarely seen in modern cinema and is loveable just for that. There is no reliance on action sequences or gimmicks as it build up the tension through actor performances, dramatic situations and some fantastic cinematography.


Everything in the film is beautiful from the design, costumes and make-up right through to the lighting and camerawork. Every detail seems to have been thought about in detail and be used to convey some hidden meaning and whilst this is technically amazing, it is at points a bit too much. The film becomes too drawn into being technically what you’d expect that it lacks any sort of heart and flair… the audience reacts the right way but ultimately just feel as if they’ve been put through the motions.


The film is both broad and personal in its themes. It tackles politics and war whilst also focusing on love and family. These contrast work wonderfully to draw an audience into the story, it’s just a shame the film doesn’t quite have the pay off you want. It is a film which although epic doesn’t have the punch of other classics such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Gone With The Wind (1939).

Doctor Zhivago is a wonderfully crafted piece of cinema that tells a great story but in many ways it too perfect to be loved.