Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review: Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

"A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no?" This must be one of my favorite musicals. I happened to see it on PBS one evening, and since I haven't seen it in a long time, I watched it.

I also want to apologize for the long wait for this review. It should have been posted yesterday, but I didn't get around to posting it until today.
Box Art

Fiddler on the Roof focuses on the life of Tevye (Topol), a poor Jewish milkman with five daughters living in Anatevka, a village in Russia, during the early 1900s. In Anatevka, everyone has traditions that they keep, but as the story goes on, those traditions eventually are broken.

There really isn't anyone in here that I recognize from other period dramas (or other movies in general).

The cast did a very good job of acting. Topol is Tevye. Period. He seemed to fit the character perfectly (though, I must confess, that this is the only version of Fiddler on the Roof that I've seen, but he just seemed to fit with the character). I couldn't think of anyone else as Tevye. He also has a very nice singing voice and is a good actor. Another honorable mention is Norma Crane: she did a wonderful job as Tevye's wife, Golde. 

There are a great deal of quotable lines. I'm going to take the opportunity of listing a couple of them now:

The Sabbath Prayer
Lebisch: Is there a proper blessing - for the tsar?
Rabbi: A Blessing for the tsar? 'Course! May God bless and keep the tsar... *whispered* far away from us!

"Traditions, traditions. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as... as... as a fiddler on the roof!" ~Tevye

My favorite part of the story has to be the first half of it. During the first half, the tone is much happier: you get a glimpse into the everyday lives of the people of Anatevka. However, the second half gets much more serious and the music gets sadder. Spoiler This movie does have a bit of a sad ending since everyone in Anatevka is evicted and has to scatter to different parts of the world, so if you don't like sad endings, watch out. I personally don't like sad endings, but I still liked this movie. End of Spoiler


For a movie made in the 70s, the scenery is very nice. There are very nice colors in the first half of the movie, but in the second half, the colors are not as colorful (since the story gets more serious and takes place in winter).

Tevye's eldest daughter, Tzeitel, at her wedding
There's really not too much to say about the costuming. All (if not all, then most) of the characters are poor, so you don't get to see many pretty dresses (except a wedding dress, but it's fairly plain one). The costuming is fitting to the characters, though, so I don't really have much to complain about the costuming.

How could one review a musical and not comment on the music? The music is marvelous! There are many catchy songs (my favorite has to be the opening song "Tradition"). The first half of the movie has more upbeat songs while the second half of the movie has slower, sadder songs due to the change in tone of the story. There are also a couple of dance numbers that are memorable.

Overall: 4.5/5
Definitely a good movie to watch. The songs are very good and there are some memorable dancing sequences. It also give you a look into traditional Jewish life. There may be one frightening sequence, but it was only a dream (and not a real dream) and doesn't get graphic. For the most part, this would be appropriate for anyone of all ages.

Fiddler on the Roof is available on DVD. It is rated G and runs for 181 minutes


  1. I love this movie. It's beyond all doubt my favorite musical. Your picture of Tzeitel's wedding dress was lovely!
    My favorite part of the movie would have to be the wedding. The Bottle Dance especially. :)

  2. This is one of my favorites too! :) I love the review

  3. Also, if it is all right with you, I'd like to use that picture of Tzeitel at her wedding for an upcoming blog post. I'll be sure to give you credit for it.

  4. Miss Dashwood,
    Sure, but I actually found it, I think, at IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/media/rm645301504/tt0067093


Thank you for visiting Elegance of Fashion. If you wish to leave a comment, please do. I ask that you refrain from bad language and are polite and constructive. If you are posing under "Anonymous", if you could leave a name, that would be great! I reserve the right to delete any comments that I deem family unfriendly.

Thank you very much and please come again.