Stars: Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey, Molly Picon, Paul Mann
Genre: Drama, Family, Musical
Rating: G (General Audience)
Runtime: 181 minutes
This rousing musical, based on the stories of Shalom Aleichem, takes place in pre-revolutionary Russia and centers on the life of Tevye (Topol), a milkman who is trying to keep his family's traditions in place while marrying off his three older daughters. Yet, times are changing and the daughters want to make their own matches, breaking free of many of the constricting customs required of them by Judaism. In the background of these events, Russia is on the brink of revolution and Jews are feeling increasingly unwelcome in their villages. Tevye--who expresses his desire for sameness in the opening number, "Tradition"--is trying to keep everyone, and everything, together. The movie is strongly allegorical--Tevye represents the common man--but it does it dexterously, and the resulting film is a stunning work of art. The music is excellent (it won Oscars for the scoring and the sound), with plenty of familiar songs such as "Sunrise, Sunset" and "If I Were a Rich Man," which you'll be humming long after the movie is over. Isaac Stern's violin--he provides the music for the fiddler on the roof--is hauntingly beautiful. And despite the serious subject matter, the film is quite comedic in parts; it also well deserves the Oscar it won for cinematography. --Jenny Brown
He loves her. Love, it's a new starting. On the other hand, our old ways were once new, weren't they? On the other hand, they decided without parents, without the matchmaker. On the other hand, did Adam and Eve have a matchmaker? Oh, yes they did. And it seems these two have the same Matchmaker.
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!
Because of our traditions, we've kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka, we have traditions for everything... How to sleep, how to eat... how to work... how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered and always wear a little prayer shawl. This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, "How did this tradition get started?" I'll tell you.
I don't know. But it's a tradition... and because of our traditions... Every one of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do.
Then there are the others in our village. They make a much bigger circle. We don't bother them, and so far, they don't bother us. And among ourselves, we always get along perfectly well. Of course, there was the time when he sold him a horse and told him it was only six years old, when it was really 12. But now, it's all over, and we live in simple peace and harmony.