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Fiddler on the Roof (1971)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 51,972

My Rating

Movie Info

Norman Jewison's adaptation of the long-running Broadway musical is set in the Ukranian ghetto village of Anatevka (the film was actually lensed in Yugoslavia). Israeli actor Topol repeats his London stage role as Tevye the milkman, whose equilibrium is constantly being challenged by his poverty, the prejudicial attitudes of non-Jews, and the romantic entanglements of his five daughters. Whenever the weight of the world becomes too much for him, Tevye carries on lengthy conversations with God,

Jun 30, 1998

United Artists

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Latest News on Fiddler on the Roof

March 27, 2014:
Cinematographer Oswald Morris: 1915-2014
The Academy Award-winning master has passed away at the age of 98.


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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (7) | DVD (17)

The qualities that have kept the Broadway Fiddler running these seven years are in scant supply onscreen.

May 7, 2013 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Earthbound but not bad.

May 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sentimental in a theatrical way, romantic in the oldfashioned way, nostalgic of immigration days, affirmative of human decency, loyalty, bravery and folk humor.

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Very hard to take with the film sitting up and practically slobbering in its eagerness to prove how loveable it is.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

They want to show us everything, to give us our money's worth. In so doing, they've not just opened up the play, they've let most of the life out of it.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Would it be heresy on my part to suggest that Fiddler isn't much as a musical, and that director Norman Jewison has made as good a film as can be made from a story that is quite simply boring?

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's a vibrant nature to the acting in this film that warms the heart and makes it feel comfortable, even when things aren't going so great for the characters.

October 14, 2013 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

What could have been a brilliant film experience, expanding on the stage version as only film can, ends up instead as a series of wonderful bits and pieces.

May 7, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The choreography is clumsy, the acting caricatured, and the songs themselves painfully overblown.

May 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

A joyous celebration, not only of roots and culture, but of life itself.

May 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4

As a musical look at family, generational and cultural conflict, and faith, Fiddler on the Roof makes a virtue of its quaintness... [Blu-ray]

May 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

Topol breathes new life into Joseph Stein, Jerry Bock, and Sheldoon Harnick's musical.

April 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Epic story of Jews during the Russian Revolution.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

With each musical number, another integral and eternal aspect of Judaism is pondered, explored, and expressed with passionate flourishes.

January 6, 2010 Full Review Source:

Oy, what schmaltz!

February 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Though the acting is good and some of the songs are glorious, this film version of the stage hit leaves much to be desired due to lack of imagination of helmer Norman Jewison and excessive running time (180 minutes).

February 22, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

A lavish musical, too lavish for the subject matter, though.

April 12, 2007
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

enjoyable and charming

April 6, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

Touching story with great music.

September 21, 2004
Tolucan Times

L'Chaim! Life itself, joyous and tragic, is the subject of the boisterous, comic, heartbreaking vision of Fiddler on the Roof.

May 31, 2004 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

Audience Reviews for Fiddler on the Roof

Based on the Broad way musical of the same name, this is the epic story of finding the balance between tradition and progress. It's set in the Orthodox Jewish section of the tiny Russian ghetto town called Anatevka in the early 1900s.

This film is a bit overlong, and a little boring here and there, but aside from that, it is wonderful. It works better as a stage production, but it's still fine as a film. For the longest time, everything I knew about Jewish culture came from this film. It's portrayal of the Jewish people and culture (specifically Russian Jews) is quite accurate by many accounts, but a little laughable and stereotypical if taken out of context.

I really like this movie, and it is one of my favorite musicals, but this isn't something I can bring myself to watch very often. It's a good story, but man, it's so depressing. I guess in the long run the story has a happier ending, but if you discount that, it's got a very bittersweet conclusion that seems to further reinforce the idea that Jews have such a miserable and downbeat history.

The acting is mostly pretty great. Some are better than others, though. It was controversial to cast him, but Topol makes for a great Tevye. It would have been awesome had they gotten Zero Mostel to reprise the role though. The music is basically the star of the show, and it's essentially flawless..unless you don't like musicals. If that's the case though, then you have no business watching this. I also really love the sets, costumes, and the camera work. The attention to detail is fantastic, and things just look gorgeous.

I'll conclude this review with an interesting story: my dad, good Roman Catholic man that he is, enjoys this story so much that he tried to persuade my mom to name me Lazar Wolf instead of the name I ended up with. That's awesome.
November 18, 2013
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

And it doesn't get any better this this Oscar winning musical based on the Broadway show of the same name. Just to watch the great Topol in action is worth seeing. A Marvelous classic!!! One of the great movie musicals to ever grace the 1970's
September 29, 2011
Mister Caple

Super Reviewer

I can't believe that it took me so long to see this deservedly acclaimed work by Norman Jewison about how life, as John Lennon said, is what happens while we were making other plans. Rousing and heartwarming with songs that do not offend but rather enhance the affair, as well as a look at life in a small Jewish village in Poland in the days before the revolution.
August 8, 2011

Super Reviewer

From the stage play that this film is based on, it is obvious that special care had to be taken place due to the strong and loyal fan base that is around this musical of hope and tradition. While watching this film, it is clear to see that Norman Jewison has taken special care in the production of the film. Visually, this film is beautiful seeing the country side and showing how it changes from a poor village to an overworked piece of land that is barely holding on. The story for this film is, sadly, one of the weakest parts. One thing that a lot of people hate is repetition. This is a film that repeats itself quite a bit. The basic formula is this: Daughter gets married, Father is upset, he gives in. Now, one of the redeeming parts of this overworked plot is that it continues to work every time. Acting wise, the only person worth mentioning is Topol as Tevye. He is seriously the only actor that develops his character, and actually makes it worthwhile and good. The rest of the cast is mostly (and sadly) one dimensional and I personally do not care for that. They introduce some good characters that I would have loved to see changed and developed, but the acting of Topol makes up for them all (thankfully). Now, the score is the complete highlight of this film and what makes this film worth the watch. There are few films that treat the subject of Judaism with respect and this is one of those films that does. The music, the set props, all capture the beauty of this heavily abused and neglected and tortured religion, and finally there is a film that gives dignity. So, overall, I say see this film if you love the original stage play, like the works of Norman Jewison, or like good musicals. But if you are expecting a deep, philosophical story line, then you are looking in the wrong place. Now, why am I recommending this story? Simple: It does what it does and what it does it does well.
May 6, 2011
Zach Brehany

Super Reviewer

Movies Like Fiddler on the Roof

    1. Perchik: Money is the world's curse.
    2. Tevye: May the Lord smite me with it. And may I never recover.
    – Submitted by Joshua T (2 years ago)
    1. Tevye: As the good book says, when a poor man eats a chicken, one of them is sick.
    2. Mendel: Where does the book say that?
    3. Tevye: Well, it doesn't say that exactly, but somewhere there is something about a chicken. Good sabbath.
    – Submitted by Ceara R (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Foreign Titles

  • Anatveka (DE)
  • Un violon sur le toit (FR)
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