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Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

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In prerevolutionary Russia, a Jewish peasant contends with marrying off three of his daughters while growing anti-Semitic sentiment threatens his village.



(adapted from stories) (as Sholem Aleichem), (adapted from Sholem Aleichem stories by special arrangement with) | 2 more credits »
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Won 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tevye (as Topol)
Paul Mann ...
Neva Small ...
Perchik (as Michael Glaser)
Ray Lovelock ...
Fyedka (as Raymond Lovelock)
Elaine Edwards ...
Candy Bonstein ...
Shimen Ruskin ...
Zvee Scooler ...


At the beginning of the twentieth century, Jews and Orthodox Christians live in the little village of Anatevka in the pre-revolutionary Russia of the Czars. Among the traditions of the Jewish community, the matchmaker arranges the match and the father approves it. The milkman Reb Tevye is a poor man that has been married for twenty-five years with Golde and they have five daughters. When the local matchmaker Yente arranges the match between his older daughter Tzeitel and the old widow butcher Lazar Wolf, Tevye agrees with the wedding. However Tzeitel is in love with the poor tailor Motel Kamzoil and they ask permission to Tevye to get married that he accepts to please his daughter. Then his second daughter Hodel (Michele Marsh) and the revolutionary student Perchik decide to marry each other and Tevye is forced to accept. When Perchik is arrested by the Czar troops and sent to Siberia, Hodel decides to leave her family and homeland and travel to Siberia to be with her beloved Perchik.... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Shout It From The Rooftops! See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



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Release Date:

3 November 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El violinista en el tejado  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)


$50,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)| (35 mm mag-optical prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Before production Norma Crane was diagnosed with breast cancer, which would eventually kill her. She told only director Norman Jewison, co-star Haim Topol and associate producer Patrick J. Palmer, all of whom kept her secret. See more »


Near the end of the dancing scene in Mordcha's inn, we see the Jews holding hands and dancing to one side, and the Russians walking ducked through the spaces between their bodies to the other side. In the first two takes, we see four Russians, and in the following two takes only three, the one on the right, with brown hair and a blue shirt, is gone. See more »


[first lines]
Tevye: A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But here, in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn't easy. You may ask 'Why do we stay up there if it's so dangerous?' Well, we stay because Anatevka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word: tradition!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Topol and the cast sing "Tradition" without any opening credits rolling. At the end of the number, the fiddler, standing on the left of the screen, launches into an extensive solo while the opening credits roll on the right of the screen. See more »


Referenced in Newhart: The Last Newhart (1990) See more »


Do You Love Me?
(1964) (uncredited)
Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Performed by Haim Topol and Norma Crane
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

To life, to life, la chayim!
5 December 1999 | by (Sudbury, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

I love "Fiddler on the Roof" so much it's difficult for me to comment on it in a detached way. I just think about it and I'm filled with emotion. (And I'm not the sentimental type!) It honestly depicts what it means to be human. It contains love, faith, family, friendship, humour, violence, hate, prejudice, change, vulnerability, joy, community, anger...everything. This film is a tribute to the Jewish people, but you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy it. It's so rich that everyone can identify with it, and learn from it.

As for the music, all the songs fit in naturally and stand on their own as classics. "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," "Sunrise, Sunset," "If I Were A Rich Man" - need I say more? When Hodel sings "Far From the Home I Love" it's tissue time. They're all so beautiful! If you usually find it hard to take when characters in musicals suddenly burst into song, don't worry, in this film it's so seamless you can't imagine them communicating any other way. The music makes it easier for them to say things they normally wouldn't in conversation.

The characters are so real and down-to-earth. They're strong, hard-working people, who have their priorities straight. I can't write about FOTR without mentioning Tevye - the centre of this whirling story, and a man who, like all of us, struggles with the pace with which his world is changing. He clings to the past, yet accepts what the future may bring. I don't think there is another film out there that addresses how insecure we feel with change. But hey, that's life. "To life, to life, la chayim!!"

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