6 user 1 critic

Tevya (1939)

Approved | | Drama | 21 December 1939 (USA)
The original, non-musical film version of the book which inspired "Fiddler on the Roof".


Maurice Schwartz


Sholom Aleichem (story "Khavah and play "Tevye der Milkhiker""), Marcy Klauber (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
1 win. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Maurice Schwartz ... Tevya 'Tevye'
Miriam Riselle Miriam Riselle ... Chavah 'Khave'
Rebecca Weintraub Rebecca Weintraub ... Goldie 'Golde'
Paula Lubelski Paula Lubelski ... Zeitel 'Tseytl'
Leon Liebgold Leon Liebgold ... Fedya 'Fedye' Galagen
Vicki Marcus Vicki Marcus ... Shloimele
Betty Marcus Betty Marcus ... Perele
Julius Adler Julius Adler ... Aleksei, the Priest
Daniel Makarenko ... Mikita Galagen, Fedya's Father
Helen Grossman Helen Grossman ... Mrs. Galagen, Mikita's Wife
Morris Strassberg Morris Strassberg ... Starosta
Al Harris Al Harris ... Zazuli 'Zuzuya'
Louis Weisberg Louis Weisberg ... Shtarsina
Boas Young Boas Young ... Uradnick, the Officer


Tevye is a dairyman in the Russian Ukraine early in the 20th century. He lives in a cabin outside Boyberik with his wife Goldie, his widowed daughter Tseytl, her two children, and his younger daughter, the unmarried Khave. Khave is being courted by Fedya, a Christian, the son of a local government official. Tevye warns Khave against romance and marriage outside her faith, but Fedya is persuasive too. What will Khave decide, how will Tevye react, and when the Tsar initiates a pogrom, will Tevye's friends come to his defense? Can the stubborn Tevye reconcile his heart and tradition? "On the other hand..." Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis










Release Date:

21 December 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tevye See more »


Box Office


$70,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Maymon Film Inc. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Independently financed and shot on a farm on Long Island. See more »


From shot to shot the priest's cross changes position. It's an orthodox cross with a slanted second cross piece. It flips position randomly. See more »


Version of Broken Barriers (1919) See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderful! Very moving.
16 December 2001 | by bankcelloSee all my reviews

I noticed this on TV after it started, so I missed the beginning. However, what I saw, which was most of it, moved me greatly.

I grew up in a home where Yiddish was used by my parents when they didn't want the kids to understand. Russian was used when they really didn't want us to understand! Unfortunately my Yiddish is not up to fully understanding the dialogue of the movie, though a meaningful percentage did come through. The titles were OK, and sometimes inadequate.

To compare this to Fiddler is impossible. This is a tragedy and Fiddler is a musical. The acting is very good. It is old-fashioned acting, with large emotions and gesture. The Yiddish, that which I could understand, is a very nice Yiddish. No Americanisms in it, as the Yiddish I heard at home.

One thing that was disturbing was the stereotypical portrayal of the non-Jewish characters. They were portrayed as coarse and mean-spirited. Of course, in a steytl in 19th century Russia, that was probably the norm.

I recommend this film to all. To those who grew up in an immigrant Jewish household, it is a must.

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