Chief Justice John Roberts, film critic?

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has a favorite movie! No, it's not “Transformers 2.”

At a judical conference in West Virginia last weekend, Chief Justice Roberts was asked about his favorite film, and he confirmed previous reports that it is “Dr. Zhivago.”

But then Roberts went on and on, waxing lyrical in a very good imitation of a USC film school grad. He praised “Dr. Zhivago” – a story of a man torn between two women against the backdrop of the 1917 Russian Revolution – for its “astounding” cast, its “wonderful” cinematography, and its “great” drama. Then he began to dissect its themes, among them its message that art endures even in the midst of great peril.

“See, once you get me started on ‘Dr. Zhivago’...,” he said, to general laughter. “You know ... the symbolism of these people triumphing over the Russian winter and the storyline of their fundamental human emotions persisting through human oppression, I just think it all comes together, and it’s a great story,” he said.

Amazingly, the conference moderator, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson of the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals, admitted that “Dr. Zhivago” was his favorite movie, too. Surely that has nothing to do with the fact that Roberts can sit in judgment of Judge Wilkinson’s rulings.

Note to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor: this movie is widely available on DVD. You know, just in case you are interested.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.