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
When the family is preparing for the Sabbath, Golde tells Perchik to wash at the well, and she tells Hodel to help him. As they leave the room, Perchik goes out a side door and Hodel follows her sisters upstairs. See more »
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!
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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 »
Much was made of director Norman Jewison's decision to cast Topol (instead of Broadway's Zero Mostel)as Tevye, but his performance is the single most important factor that makes this a great film. Topol's portrayal has an earthiness to it that makes the farmer/milkman feel authentic. When he pushes his awkward cart through the landscape, you can feel his exhaustion.
Jewison also does a great job integrating the music into the action. Songs like "Do You Love Me?" and "Sunrise, Sunset" spring organically from the action.
The film's themes are universal in nature. Even in his small village, Tevye cannot avoid a changing world. It challenges his beliefs and threatens his beloved traditions. Eventually, it changes every aspect of his life. Finally, he realizes that what his daughter says to him is true--home is where your love is.
Virtually every aspect of this film is excellent, from the dancing to the cinematography. And the cast is wonderful.
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