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
To make Topol look older, the makeup team clipped 15 white hairs from director Norman Jewison's beard and applied them to Topol's eye brows (seven on the left, eight on the right). See more »
When the fiddler is playing the first song, the movements of the fiddler's bow don't quite match up with the song. 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 »
Originally released at 181 minutes (with an intermission), later trimmed for 1979 reissue to 149 minutes. See more »
Let me say up front, I am not predisposed to enjoy a movie like this. On the contrary, as a straight WASP, the last thing I want to watch is a broadway musical or a bunch of Jews 'kavetching' about how bad they have it. That is definitely NOT what this film is about. Though the subject matter is Jewish, to say it is a Jewish film would grossly limit it's significance. It is about the human experience. Any one who has felt pain and persecution will relate to it. Therefore I say every human should love this film. It has an indomitable optimism and remarkable pathos that causes the viewer to empathize with the characters, namely Reb Tevye, played by Topol in arguably one of the finest dramatic performances ever. Considering the lack of success Topol has had with the rest of his career it would literally seem he was born to play this part. This film will most likely not be enjoyable for those looking for spoon fed, mindless entertainment or titillation, but for anyone who appreciates the beautiful things in life, it is high art. I recommend you set aside an undisturbed block of time, (use the can first, it's three hours long) when you are feeling relaxed, eat some good homemade soup and watch this masterpiece. Perfect casting, cinematography, pacing, art direction, wardrobe and best of all, an exquisite soundtrack by the great, and very young, John Williams. Listen to this movie on a powerful sound system and it will sweep you into each musical number. Especially (my favorite) the bar room dance scene. Fiddler on the Roof should be on every top 100 list that exists. Like no other movie I can think of, 'Fiddler' reaches deep into the heart and begs one to look at what things in life are worth living for and dying for.
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