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Fiddler on the Roof
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Fiddler on the Roof (1971) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 58 | slideshow) Videos (see all 9)
Fiddler on the Roof -- Trailer for Fiddler On The Roof
Fiddler on the Roof -- Clip: Sign of Life
Fiddler on the Roof -- Clip: Emulating Yentil
Fiddler on the Roof -- Clip: If I Were A Rich Man
Fiddler on the Roof -- Clip: Tevye's Daughters

Overview

User Rating:
8.0/10   25,915 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Tommy Abbott (adapted for the screen by)
Joseph Stein (based on the stageplay "Fiddler on the Roof" by)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Fiddler on the Roof on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 November 1971 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The screen's most magnificent entertainment returns...filled with joy, laughter, love and life. (re-release) See more »
Plot:
In prerevolutionary Russia, a Jewish peasant contends with marrying off three of his daughters while growing antisemitic sentiment threatens his village. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 13 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
On the other hand, the good book says that this is an excellent film See more (143 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Topol ... Tevye

Norma Crane ... Golde

Leonard Frey ... Motel

Molly Picon ... Yente
Paul Mann ... Lazar Wolf

Rosalind Harris ... Tzeitel

Michele Marsh ... Hodel
Neva Small ... Chava

Paul Michael Glaser ... Perchik (as Michael Glaser)
Ray Lovelock ... Fyedka (as Raymond Lovelock)
Elaine Edwards ... Shprintze
Candy Bonstein ... Bielke
Shimen Ruskin ... Mordcha
Zvee Scooler ... Rabbi

Louis Zorich ... Constable
Alfie Scopp ... Avram
Howard Goorney ... Nachum

Barry Dennen ... Mendel

Vernon Dobtcheff ... Russian Official
Ruth Madoc ... Fruma Sarah
Patience Collier ... Grandma Tzeitel
Tutte Lemkow ... Fiddler
Stella Courtney ... Shandel
Jacob Kalich ... Yankel
Brian Coburn ... Berl
George Little ... Hone
Stanley Fleet ... Farcel
Arnold Diamond ... Moishe
Marika Rivera ... Rifka
Mark Malicz ... Ezekial

Aharon Ipalé ... Sheftel (as Aharon Ipale)

Roger Lloyd Pack ... Sexton
Vladimir Medar ... Priest
Sammy Bayes ... Russian Dancer
Larry Bianco ... Russian Dancer
Walter Cartier ... Russian Dancer
Peter Johnston ... Russian Dancer
Guy Lutman ... Russian Dancer
Donald Maclennan ... Russian Dancer
René Sartoris ... Russian Dancer (as Rene Sartoris)
Roy Durbin ... Bottle Dancer
Ken Robson ... Bottle Dancer
Bob Stevenson ... Bottle Dancer
Lou Zamprogna ... Bottle Dancer
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ivan Baptie ... Dancer (uncredited)
Cyril Bass ... Villiage Band Member (uncredited)
Tanya Bayona ... Dancer (uncredited)
C.C. Bilham ... Villiage Band Member (uncredited)
Ina Claire ... Dancer (uncredited)
Susan Claire ... Dancer (uncredited)
Sarah Cohen ... Bashe (uncredited)
Otto Diamant ... Yussel (uncredited)
Harry Ditson ... Leibesh (uncredited)
Harry Fielder ... Russian (uncredited)
Jody Hall ... Dancer (uncredited)
Judith Harte ... Gnessi (uncredited)
A. Haverstock ... Villiage Band Member (uncredited)
Michael Ingleton ... Dancer (uncredited)
Miki Iveria ... Bess (uncredited)
Carl Jaffe ... Isaac (uncredited)
Nigel Kingsley ... (uncredited)
H. Krein ... Villiage Band Member (uncredited)
Hilda Kriseman ... Zelda (uncredited)
Barry Lines ... Dancer (uncredited)
Alfred Maron ... Previous Rabbi (uncredited)
Albin Pahernik ... Dancer (uncredited)
Joel Rudnick ... Marcus (uncredited)
Adam Scott ... Dancer (uncredited)
Petra Siniawski ... Dancer (uncredited)
Susan Sloman ... Nechama (uncredited)
Karen Trent ... Dancer (uncredited)
Kenneth Waller ... (uncredited)
M. Winter ... Villiage Band Member (uncredited)
Leo Wright ... Villiage Band Member (uncredited)

Directed by
Norman Jewison 
 
Writing credits
Tommy Abbott (adapted for the screen by) (as Tom Abbott)

Joseph Stein (based on the stageplay "Fiddler on the Roof" by)

Sholom Aleichem (adapted from stories) (as Sholem Aleichem)

Arnold Perl (adapted from Sholem Aleichem stories by special arrangement with)

Joseph Stein (screenplay)

Produced by
Norman Jewison .... producer
Patrick J. Palmer .... associate producer (as Patrick Palmer)
Walter Mirisch .... executive producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Jerry Bock 
John Williams (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Oswald Morris (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Antony Gibbs (film editor)
Robert Lawrence (film editor)
 
Casting by
Lynn Stalmaster 
 
Production Design by
Robert F. Boyle  (as Robert Boyle)
 
Art Direction by
Michael Stringer 
Veljko Despotovic (uncredited)
 
Set Decoration by
Peter Lamont 
 
Costume Design by
Joan Bridge (costumes designed by)
Elizabeth Haffenden (costumes designed by)
 
Makeup Department
Del Armstrong .... makeup
Gordon Bond .... hairdresser
Wally Schneiderman .... makeup
 
Production Management
Richard Carruth .... post-production supervisor
Larry DeWaay .... production supervisor (as Larry De Waay)
Ted Lloyd .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Paul Ibbetson .... second assistant director
Terence Nelson .... first assistant director (as Terry Nelson)
Vladimir Spindler .... second assistant director
Terence Churcher .... assistant director (uncredited)
D. Howard Grigsby .... assistant director (uncredited)
Stevan Petrovic .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Sam Gordon .... property master
William Maldonado .... construction manager
Mentor Huebner .... designer and primary production illustrator (uncredited)
Harold Michelson .... illustrator (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
David Hildyard .... sound mixer
Gordon K. McCallum .... sound re-recordist
Les Wiggins .... sound editor
John Hayward .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Patrick Heigham .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Doug Smith .... assistant sound engineer (uncredited)
John Stevenson .... boom operator (uncredited)
Jim Willis .... development engineer (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Milan Mitic .... stunt coordinator: horse work (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Dennis Fraser .... key grip
Jimmy Turrell .... camera operator (as Jim Turrell)
Len Crowe .... gaffer (uncredited)
 
Casting Department
Richard Altman .... casting consultant
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Jackie Cummins .... wardrobe supervisor
 
Editorial Department
Lois La Salle .... post-production secretary
Brian Mann .... assistant film editor
Wally Nelson .... assistant film editor
Brent Eldridge .... digital color correction (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Jerry Bock .... music for the stageplay by
Alexander Courage .... orchestrator
Sheldon Harnick .... lyricist
Sheldon Harnick .... lyrics for the stageplay by
Isaac Stern .... soloist
Eric Tomlinson .... music mixer (as Eric A. Tomlinson)
John Williams .... conductor
John Williams .... music adaptor
John Williams .... orchestrator
Ray Holder .... music arranger (uncredited)
David Lindup .... additional orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Sammy Bayes .... assistant choreographer
Charles Cannon .... production accountant
Jerry Howard .... assistant to producer
Branko Lustig .... location manager
Golda Offenheim .... production secretary
Harold Prince .... produced on the New York stage by
Jerome Robbins .... entire stage production directed by
Jerome Robbins .... original choreography by
Elaine Schreyeck .... script supervisor
Tommy Abbott .... choreographer: film (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
181 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints) | Mono (35 mm prints) | Stereo (35 mm mag-optical prints)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Australia:PG (TV rating) | Canada:G (Canadian Home Video rating) | Chile:(Banned) | Finland:K-8 | Ireland:G | Netherlands:AL (orginal rating) | Peru:PT | Singapore:PG | Spain:T | Sweden:11 | UK:U | USA:G (Approved No. 23686)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The title comes from a painting by Russian artist Marc Chagall called "The Dead Man" which depicts a funeral scene and shows a man playing a violin on a roof top. It is also used by Tevye in the story as a metaphor for trying to survive in a difficult, constantly changing world.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: 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 »
Quotes:
[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 »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
PrologueSee more »

FAQ

What does "Reb" mean?
How does the movie end?
What is the English translation for the blessing that the Rabbi bestows on Motel's used sewing machine?
See more »
100 out of 120 people found the following review useful.
On the other hand, the good book says that this is an excellent film, 5 June 2005
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City

Epic in plot, setting and length, Fiddler on the Roof tells a surprisingly tight and focused story that has "universal" poignancy--in a nutshell, it's about trying to maintain strong cultural traditions and identity in the face of a continually changing world, partially fueled by the youth, that doesn't necessarily share the culture's values or self-assessment of worth.

The plot is based on short stories written around the turn of the 20th Century by Sholom Aleichem, who was often called the "Russian Mark Twain". Aleichem wrote a number of works based on his character Tevye the Milkman, who has seven daughters (in the film, this was pared down to five). They live in the fictional Jewish shtetl ("village", or "little town or city") of Anatevka in Tsarist Russia in the early 1900s. The stories are "slice of life" stuff. A lot of attention is paid to Tevye's daughters and their potential suitors. One of the prominent conflicts with tradition is a struggle with arranged marriages versus marriages for love, but of course, being set in pre-revolutionary Russia, there are also political changes brewing, some of which have a profound affect on Tevye's family and village.

Aleichem's Tevye stories were first turned into a Broadway musical, which began its initial run in 1964 with Zero Mostel as Tevye. Producer and director Norman Jewison, who had had success with films like In the Heat of the Night (1967) and The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), and who was experienced as a producer and director for musical-oriented televisions shows, including "Your Hit Parade" (1950) and "The Judy Garland Show" (1960), was asked around early 1970 by United Artists to helm the Fiddler on the Roof film. To their surprise, Jewison wasn't Jewish. He got the gig anyway, and in August 1970, began an arduous shoot--much of it done in a small village in Yugoslavia that refused to cooperate when it came to weather (Jewison couldn't get the snow he wanted). He ended up getting a lot of pressure because the shoot went over time and over budget--this was one of the most expensive films of its time, which was an era of economic woes for Hollywood--but of course we know it paid off in the end.

Zero Mostel was out as Tevye, and Israeli actor Chaim Topol, or just "Topol", was in, based largely on Jewison seeing him in the role of Tevye in the London stage production of Fiddler. Jewison had said that he was shooting for more realism in the film, as opposed to what he saw as a kind of campy humor in the Broadway production.

In my eyes, Jewison ended up with a bit of both approaches in his finished film, but that's all for the better. Sequences like the opening "Tradition" montage are hilarious in their juxtaposition of a grand operatic attitude and the rhythmic coordination of cleaning fish, hanging slabs of meat, and so on. Yes, a lot of Fiddler is very realistic, but it's equally humorous and surrealistic most of the time.

The realism is largely thanks to the authentic settings, the fabulous production and costume design, and of course, the superb performances. The humor is a factor of the above with that Mark Twain-ish aspect of Aleichem's stories and the fine script by Joseph Stine.

The surrealism comes largely by way of the cinematography. Some of the visual sense is reminiscent of Marc Chagall's early work and his later, nostalgic depictions of his native Russia, and in fact, the image of the fiddler on the roof comes directly from a Chagall painting. Jewison saw the fiddler as a cross between a metaphor for the Jewish spirit (and this is explained in more detail via a few lines of dialogue in the film) and an actual physical manifestation of a spirit. However we interpret the fiddler, the shots of him and his presence in the film are certainly poetic. Jewison also gives us some fabulous, surreal, wide landscape shots, such as those of agricultural fields and the beautiful "wasteland" in which the train tracks are set. There are a few scenes set on the banks of a river, overlooked by a bridge, that are reminiscent of particular Van Gogh paintings. And as a more subtle bit of surrealism, Jewison had cinematographer Oswald Morris shoot much of the film though a woman's stocking--the mesh is very clearly visible in some exterior shots. Of course, there are also a couple more surrealistic touches in the plot, my favorite being the Tevye's Dream sequence, which features traditionalist Jewish zombies in an operatic attitude.

A musical couldn't be a 10 without great music, and Fiddler on the Roof has it. The songs are a marvelous melding of traditional Russian folk melodies, with appropriate twinges of Orientalism and the expected Broadway sound, but maybe leaning a bit closer to a modern opera. From that description, you might think that the music would be a mess, but all of the songs are inventive and catchy. They are seamlessly melded with the drama, furthering the narrative as they should. The choreography is excellent and it is well shot by Jewison. And Isaac Stern's violin solos are outstanding, of course.

Fiddler on the Roof takes an investment of time--it's three hours long, but it's well worth it. It offers great drama, great music, great humor and great tragedy in a beautiful package--you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll sing, and you just might break a leg trying to dance.

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