Fiddler on the Roof (1971)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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, who does not answer but is at least more willing to listen than the milkman's remonstrative wife Golde. After arranging a marriage between his oldest daughter Tzeitel and wealthy butcher Lazar Wolf, Tevye is forced to do some quick rearranging when the girl falls in love with poor tailor Motel Kamzoil. Fancying himself more broad-minded than his gentile oppressors, Tevye cannot accept the notion that his other daughter Chava would want to marry Fyedka, a non-Jew. And after shouting the praises of "tradition," Tevye must change his tune-and his entire life-when he and his neighbors are forced out of Anatevka by the Czar's minions. Topol's co-stars include Norma Crane as Golde, Yiddish theater legend Molly Picon as Yente the matchmaker, and Leonard Frey as Motel.
Classics , Comedy , Drama , Kids & Family , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
United Artists


as Tevye
Norma Crane
as Golde
Molly Picon
as Yente
Paul Mann
as Lazar Wolf
Neva Small
as Chava
Elaine Edwards
as Shprintze
Shimen Ruskin
as Mordcha
Ray Lovelock
as Fyedka
Louis Zorich
as Constable
Barry Dennen
as Mendel
Vernon Dobtcheff
as Russian Official
Ruth Madoc
as Fruma Sarah
Patience Collier
as Grandma Tzeitel
Tutte Lemkow
as Fiddler
Jacob Kalich
as Yankel
Stanley Fleet
as Farcel
Mark Malicz
as Ezekial
Aharon Ipalé
as Sheftel
Alfred Maron
as Previous Rabbi
Otto Diamant
as Yussel
Hazel Wright
as Rebecca
Carl Jaffe
as Isaac
Sarah Cohen
as Bashe
Susan Sloman
as Nechama
Cyril Bass
as Village Band Member
A. Haverstock
as Village Band Member
Leo Wright
as Village Band Member
C.C. Bilham
as Village Band Member
M. Winter
as Village Band Member
H. Krein
as Village Band Member
Ivan Baptie
as Jewish Male Dancer
Michael Ingleton
as Jewish Male Dancer
Ken Robson
as Jewish Male Dancer
Bob Stevenson
as Jewish Male Dancer
Roy Durbin
as Jewish Male Dancer
Jody Hall
as Jewish Male Dancer
Barry Lines
as Jewish Male Dancer
Adam Scott
as Jewish Male Dancer
Lou Zamprogna
as Jewish Male Dancer
Albin Pahernik
as Jewish Male Dancer
Ina Claire
as Jewish Female Dancer
Karen Sue Trent
as Jewish Female Dancer
Tanya Bayona
as Jewish Female Dancer
Petra Siniawski
as Jewish Female Dancer
Peter Johnston
as Russian Dancer
Larry Bianco
as Russian Dancer
Walter Cartier
as Russian Dancer
Rene Sartoris
as Russian Dancer
Donald MacLennan
as Russian Dancer
Guy Lutman
as Russian Dancer
Sammy Bayes
as Russian Dancer
Alfie Scopp
as Avram
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Fiddler on the Roof

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (8)

There are some contrived and artificial moments in Fiddler, but it becomes more convincing, naturalistic, and involving as it goes on, and finally builds to a powerful climax.

Full Review… | December 20, 2015
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | May 7, 2013
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Earthbound but not bad.

Full Review… | May 7, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | July 7, 2010
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 26, 2007
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 2, 2007
AV Club
Top Critic

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.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


TRADITION!!!! TRADITION!!! 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

Mister Caple
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.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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