6.6/10
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A Jewish girl disguises herself as a boy to enter religious training.

Director:

Barbra Streisand

Writers:

Jack Rosenthal (screenplay), Barbra Streisand (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbra Streisand ... Yentl
Mandy Patinkin ... Avigdor
Amy Irving ... Hadass
Nehemiah Persoff ... Reb Mendel 'Papa'
Steven Hill ... Reb Alter Vishkower
Allan Corduner ... Shimmele
Ruth Goring Ruth Goring ... Esther Rachel
David de Keyser David de Keyser ... Rabbi Zalman (as David De Keyser)
Bernard Spear Bernard Spear ... Tailor
Doreen Mantle ... Mrs. Shaemen
Lynda Baron Lynda Baron ... Peshe (as Lynda Barron)
Jack Lynn Jack Lynn ... Bookseller
Anna Tzelniker Anna Tzelniker ... Mrs. Kovner
Miriam Margolyes ... Sarah
Mary Henry Mary Henry ... Mrs. Jacobs
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Storyline

Eastern Europe, 1904. A Jewish woman, Yentl, has a thirst for knowledge but is prohibited from learning due to the restrictions of her religion. When her father dies, she sets off to increase her knowledge, posing as a man in order to gain admission to a Jewish religious school. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In a time when the world of study belonged only to men, there lived a girl who dared to ask why? See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Hebrew

Release Date:

6 January 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Йентл See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$341,768, 20 November 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$40,218,899
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | 4-Track Stereo (Dolby Magnetic 35mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Diane Lane auditioned for the role of Hadass. She later became Barbra Streisand's stepdaughter-in-law when she married Josh Brolin. See more »

Goofs

Anshel's suit coat is buttoned as if it were a woman's coat. It's not a flipped shot; Avigdor is wearing a man's coat in the same frame. See more »

Quotes

Tailor: A tailor's like a doctor, what's to be ashamed?
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the very end of the closing credits: This film is dedicated to my father... and to all our fathers. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Orange Is the New Black: Where My Dreidel At (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

This Is One of Those Moments
(uncredited)
Music by Michel Legrand
Lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman
Performed by Barbra Streisand
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
An absolute triumph
20 April 2006 | by robb_772See all my reviews

Streisand's directorial debut is easily her most passionate and personal film to date. It was hailed by Steven Spielberg as the "best directorial debut since Citizen Kane," and I am in complete agreement. Streisand worked for more than 15 years on bringing this film to the big screen, and it was well worth the effort. YENTL is an absolute triumph Every single aspect of the film works flawlessly: the story is clever, the dialogue is extremely well-written, the cinematography is beautiful, and the performances are first-rate.

Many critics and fans found Streisand's performances in A STAR IS BORN and THE MAIN EVENT to be labored and overly-mannered. However, there is little doubt that she once again emerges as a true actress in Yentl. As a matter of fact, Streisand's pitch-perfect portrayal of Yentl/Anshel is quite possibly the best performance of her legendary career - I simply cannot think of any way her performance could be bettered. Broadway tenor Mandy Patinkin is terrific as the object of Yentl's affections; it is a role which should have made him a huge screen star. The character of Haddass could have easily turned into a thankless role, however Amy Irving brings a layered depth to the part that many other young actresses could have glossed over.

YENTL is also showcase for the wonderful music of Michael Legrand (with outstanding lyrics by Marilyn and Alan Bergman), and the film uses these songs to brilliant effect. There are no production numbers, nor singing out in the street. Except for the finale, Streisand only sings when she is completely alone or silently as a voice-over. The songs take the place of spoken soliloquies and represent Yentl's private thoughts. This device has a great Shakespearean feel to it and (along with Streisand's ever passionate singing) help cement the film into the realm of fantasy. Though YENTL was infamously snubbed by the Academy Awards, justice was served when Streisand was awarded with the Golden Globes for Best Picture and Best Director, the first female to ever win the latter honor.

Appropriately for a musical, the film's song score is first-rate. Composer Michael Legrand is an unrecognized genius, and his score is both complex and inviting. Alan and Marilyn Bergman have penned the lyrics to many of Streisand's best-loved recordings (the #1 hits "The Way We Were and "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," just to name a few), but they really outdo themselves here. Their words and Legrand's music complement each other perfectly, and their collaboration is largely the reason the film's score is as consistent and as cohesive as it is.

However, the main factor to YENTL'S artistic success is the phenomenal vocal performance of Barbra Streisand. The songs for this film were recorded twenty years after her official studio debut, and she has never sounded better than she does here. Whether the tone of the song is anguished ("Where Is It Written," "Tomorrow Night"), euphoric ("This Is One of Those Moments"), or incredibly sensual ("The Way He Makes Me Feel"), Streisand's hushed restraint and dramatic range are nothing short of incredible. Her phrasing is put to excellent use in "Will Someone Ever Look At Me That Way" and the three renditions of "No Wonder" (each with different lyrics and a different meaning), while both "No Matter What Happens" and "A Piece Of Sky" are terrific showcases for Streisand's astonishing vocal prowess.

YENTL also marks the first appearance of "Papa, Can You Hear Me," which instantly became one of Streisand's signature songs due largely to her intensely soulful performance. YENTL is a motion picture that is very close to the heart of many Streisand fans. It is a project that Streisand believed in with all her soul, and both the film and its soundtrack remain near the top of the list of the best things any popular artist has ever done.


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