Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, ...
Credit: Dr. Zhivago: Photofest

Hollywood’s last great romantic epic has finally gotten the deluxe DVD treatment it deserves. Digitally restored to its original visual splendor, director David Lean’s adaptation of the Nobel Prize-winning novel is once again a Panavision marvel of snow-swept vistas, ice-glazed architecture, and elegantly choreographed legions of extras charging into the battles of the Russian Revolution. The film has often been criticized for trivializing momentous events in service of nothing more than a grand-scale soap opera — starring Omar Sharif as the doctor/ poet Zhivago and luminous Julie Christie as his soulful Lara — but that’s simply not getting into the spirit of the occasion. Doctor Zhivago is about the Russian Revolution the way ”Gone With the Wind” is about the Civil War.

As befits the DVD release of a classic, ”Zhivago” comes with a bonus disc of extras, but only the making-of program, with recent cast interviews, seems worth wading through. Once you’ve seen that, neither the rambling commentary track with Sharif and costar Rod Steiger nor several ”vintage documentaries” — really just old studio promotional featurettes — tell you much you don’t already know. The advice here: Skip them. The movie alone is enough of an event.

Doctor Zhivago (Movie - 1965)
  • Movie
  • 200 minutes