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Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

G  |   |  Drama, Family, Musical  |  3 November 1971 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 28,322 users  
Reviews: 146 user | 64 critic

In prerevolutionary Russia, a Jewish peasant contends with marrying off three of his daughters while growing antisemitic 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:
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:



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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?


Topol had severe toothache during the filming of the "If I Were a Rich Man" number. See more »


The sun angle changes several times during "Matchmaker". Most obvious when Chava is pushed onto a sunny pile of hay that was in the shadows seconds before. 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 The Big Bang Theory: The Grasshopper Experiment (2007) See more »


(1964) (uncredited)
Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Performed by Topol, Norma Crane, Molly Picon, Shimen Ruskin, Paul Mann, and Barry Dennen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A musical for the ages
20 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this film during it's initial theatrical release and have seen it many times since. I am not especially a fan of musicals and there are very few that I like but this is one of those few. Fiddler on the Roof ran on Broadway from 1964 to 1972 and received a special Tony Award in 1972 for being the longest running musical in Braodway history. In addition it was nominated for nine Tony Awards for 1965 winning eight of them. The popularity of the plays Broadway run spawned Off Broadway performances worldwide from professional theater companies to high school productions. Joseph Stein wrote the screenplay for the filmed version adapted from his book which was based on stories by Sholom Aleichem. The wonderful music of Fiddler on the Roof is from the songwriting team of composer Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick. Director Norman Jewison had never done a musical before and was best known for the drama In the Heat of the Night and the comedies The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming and The Art of Love. He would direct another musical after Fiddler in Jesus Christ Superstar but would find more success in Moonstruck, A Soldier's Story and ..And Justice For All. Veterna Cinematographer Oswald Morris who was familiar with musicals having photographed Scrooge and Oliver was known for his cinematography in such films as Lolita, Mobey Dick, Goodbye Mr. Chips and The Guns of Navarone. the film Fiddler on the Roof was immediately embraced b the public and received critical acclaim and received eight Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director and won three Oscars for Best Cinematography, Musical Score and Sound. the film's setting takes place in the Jewish village of Anatevka, Russia in the year 1905. I interviewed a 101 year old Jewish woman three years ago who was born in a small village outside of Minsk, Russia in 1902 and lived there until 1920. In asking her to describe her village she referred to this film and said it was exactly like what was depicted in the movie. I can't think of a better testament to the production of this film than having someone who lived in a similar village during the time it was set in to see her past in this film. At three hours this runs a little long and it's hard to capture a successful musical stage play on film but this comes as close as you can get. As a musical I would give this a 10 out of 10.

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