Doctor Zhivago: The Screenplay is Special Collections Featured Book for April


Binghamton University Special Collections Featured Book for April is Robert Bolt’s screenplay for Doctor Zhivago: The Screenplay from the John McLaughlin Collection based on the novel by Boris Pasternak.

British playwright, Robert Bolt (1924-1995), and a two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter, known for writing the screenplays for Lawrence of ArabiaDoctor Zhivago and A Man for All Seasons, the latter two of which won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. In his author’s note, he writes: “It ought not to need saying but in case it does had better be said at once: This book is not intended to be any kind of substitute for Pasternak’s novel. It is intended for people interested in film and is an account of the film, which we drew from the novel-the fullest possible account, being in effect the filmscript.”

Doctor Zhivago was a British-American 1965 epic drama–romance film directed by David Lean, starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. It is interesting to note that the Pasternak novel was banned in the Soviet Union at the time and, for that reason, the film could not be made there and was instead filmed mostly in Spain.

The film follows the life of a Russian physician and poet, Yuri Zhivago, who, although married to another, falls in love with a political activist’s wife and experiences hardship during the First World War and then the October Revolution.  Zhivago is torn between fidelity to his wife, an upper-class girl who is devoted to him,  and passion for the women who would become his muse. Sympathetic with the revolution but shaken by the wars and purges, he struggles to retain his individualism as a humanist amid the spirit of collectivism.


Doctor Zhivago: The Screenplay contains color images of scenes from the movie and is signed by Rod Steiger, who played Victor Komarovsky in the film.


To view this book, we welcome you to come to Special Collections. We are located on the second floor of the Bartle Library, off of the North Reading Room.