For the novel
- Banned in China: Pasternak's book was originally banned in the Soviet Union. A Dutch secret agent managed to get his hands on a Russian copy and he distributed it to his contacts at the CIA. They produced (technically pirated because an Italian publishing house held the original rights) thousands of copies of the original book and gave them to unsuspecting Soviet tourists at the 1958 World's Fair who smuggled them back to the USSR.
- And the movie wasn't shown in Russia until 1994.
- Defictionalization: Later editions include excerpts of Yuri's poetry.
For the film
- All-Star Cast.
- Enforced Method Acting: In an early scene, Komarovsky was supposed to kiss a shocked Lara. After noticing in rehearsals that Julie Christie was anticipating the scene and showing nervousness, Rod Steiger, with Lean's permission, decided, while kissing her, to not let her go and follow up that first kiss with a french kiss. It worked.
- Fake Nationality: The Lebanese-Egyptian Omar Sharif as the Russian Dr. Yuri Zhivago.
- Throw It In: In another scene, after Lara slaps Komarovsky, he slaps her back with his glove. Komarovsky's response wasn't on the script. Rod Steiger later commented that "nobody slaps Komarovsky and gets away with it".