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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 28,126 users  
Reviews: 145 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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Title: Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

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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


To Life! See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



| |

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?


Many devotees of the Broadway show were annoyed that Zero Mostel (who originated the role so famously on the Broadway stage) was not cast as Tevye in this film. The filmmakers decided that the film needed to be more authentic so a more "believeable" actor was hired, with Norman Jewison explaining: "One reason I liked Topol's performance so much on the stage was that he projected his sense of destiny as, and pride in being, a Jew. His Tevye never loses dignity and strength; he is a man who knows who he is and where he's going." See more »


During the first few shots of crowd holding candles on their way to the wedding, the sun changes positions above the horizon. (But as such indicates the length in time of the journey by foot, which could be intentional, in which case the slow melting of candles might be a goof in its own right). 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 Saturday Night Live: The Best of Phil Hartman (1998) See more »


Little Bird, Little Chavela
(1964) (uncredited)
Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Performed by Topol
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The best musical ever made...
26 July 2003 | by (My House, Canada) – See all my reviews

..."Fiddler on the Roof" stars Topol as Tevye, a Jewish milk man (and father of five) living in a small town in the time before WWII. The movie follows him over a long period of his life, mostly focusing on his three oldest daughters getting married, and Tevy's opposition towards their new husbands. Of course, it sounds a little depressing, but believe me, when you here the song "If I Were A Rich Man", you'll change your mind.

Musicals tend to become boring about halfway through (or at the beginning if they're really bad) because of overly dramatic songs or over acting. "Fiddler on the Roof" doesn't fall into this category. The songs please and warm your heart whenever they are sung, and the characters don't either overact or become boring.

Topol is hilarious and dramatic as Tevye, the dancing and singing father who speaks to God (and the audience) out loud. Topol narrates, sings, dances, and mingles joyfully with the other characters, never even coming close to slipping out of character. Tevye will go down in my book as one of the most memorable protagonists...ever.

The only thing going against "Fiddler on the Roof" is its monstrous running time. Not because it gets boring, but because whenever you'd like to watch it, you have to make sure you have about four hours of spare time, 9/10.

30 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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