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.
Fiddler on the Roof is a 1971 American musical comedy-drama film produced and directed by Norman Jewison. It is an adaptation of the 1964 Broadway musical of the same name, with music composed by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and screenplay by Joseph Stein. The film won three Academy Awards, including one for arranger-conductor John Williams.
It was nominated for several more, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Chaim Topol as Tevye, and Best Supporting Actor for Leonard Frey, who played Mottel Kamzoil the Tailor (both had originally acted in the musical; Topol as Tevye in the London production and Frey in a minor part as Mendel, the rabbi’s son). The decision to cast Topol, instead of Zero Mostel, as Tevye was a somewhat controversial one, as the role had originated with Mostel and he had made it famous. Years later, Jewison explained that he felt Mostel’s larger-than-life personality, while fine on stage, would cause film audiences to see him (i.e., Zero Mostel, the actor) rather than the character of Tevye.
Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
Directed by: Norman Jewison
Starring: Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey, Molly Picon, Rosalind Harris, Michele Marsh, Paul Michael Glaser, Candy Bonstein, Elaine Edwards
Screenplay by: holem Aleichem), Arnold Perl
Production Design by: Robert F. Boyle
Cinematography by: Oswald Morris
Film Editing by: Antony Gibbs, Robert Lawrence
Costume Design by: Joan Bridge, Elizabeth Haffenden
Set Decoration by: Peter Lamont
Music by: Jerry Bock
Distributed by: United Artists
Release Date: November 3, 1971