Fiddler on the Roof

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Drama, Family, Musical
Director(s): Norman Jewison
Production: United Artists
  Won 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 13 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
181 min

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!








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.

Who, day and night, must

scramble for a living

feed a wife and children

say his daily prayers?

And who has a right as

master of the house

to have the final word at home

The papa

The papa


The papa

The papa


Who must know the way

to make a proper home

a quiet home, a kosher home?

Who must raise a family

and run the home

So Papa's free to read the Holy Book?

The mama

The mama


The mama

The mama


At three I started Hebrew school.

At ten I learned a trade.

I hear they picked a bride for me.

I hope she's pretty.

I hope she's pretty.

- AH!

I hope she's pretty.

And who does Mama teach

To mend and tend and fix?

Preparing her to marry

whoever Papa picks.

The daughters.

The daughters.


- The papa

- Mama.

- Sons.

- The daughters.


And in the circle of our little village,

we've always had our special types.

For instance,

Yente the matchmaker,

For your girl.

Reb Nachum the beggar,

Get away.

And, most important of all,

our beloved rabbi.

Rabbi, may I ask you a question?

Certainly Leibesh.

Is there a proper blessing...

for the Tzar?

A blessing for the Tzar? Of course.

May God bless and keep the Tzar

far away from us.

Dai dai dai dai

Dai dai dai dai

Dai dai dai dai

Dai dai dai dai dai

Dai dai dai dai

Dai dai dai dai

Dai dai dai dai

Dai dai dai dai dai

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 all live in simple

peace and harmony.

- It was really 12 years old.

- It was six.

Tevye knows it was 12.

How do you know it was realy 12?

Twelve! Twelve!

It was 12!







Dai dai.

Dai dai dai

dai dai dai

dai dai dai dum.

Traditions, traditions.

Without our traditions,

our lives would be as shaky as


as a fiddler on the roof!

Mama! Mama,

Yente the matchmaker is coming.

Maybe she's finally found a

good match for you, Tzeitel.

From your mouth to God's ears.

Why does she have to come now?

It's almost Sabbath.

Out, all of you! I want

to talk to Yente alone.

But, Mama, the men she finds

the last one was so old.

And he was bald!

He had no hair.

A poor girl without a dowry

can't be so particular.

You want hair, marry a monkey.

Even a poor girl without a dowry has

to look at her husband sometime.

A husband is not to look

at, a husband is to get.

But mama, I'm not yet 20 years old.

- Sha!

- I don't think I

Do you have to boast about your age?

Do you want to tempt

the evil eye?


Oh, out, all of you.

There's work to be done before the Sabbath.

Hurry! All of you, hurry.


Golde, I have such news for you.

And not every day in the week news.

Once in a lifetime news.

Mmm, Such diamonds, such jewels.

I'll find a husband for

every one of them.

But you shouldn't be so picky, right?

Of course right! Because after all,

even the worst husband, God forbid,

is better than no husband, God forbid!

And who should know better than me?

Ever since my husband died

I've been a poor widow, all alone, no one

to talk to, nothing to say to anyone.

All I do at night is think of him.

And even thinking of him

gives me no pleasure.

- Is Tzeitel in the house?

- Why don't you go in and find out?

Thank you, Bielke.

- Yet he never raised his voice.

- Er... Good afternoon.

Is Tzeitel in the house?

She's busy. Come back later.

But there's something I like to tell her.


Later Oh, all right.

What does that poor skinny

tailor want with Tzeitel?

They've been friends since they

were babies. They talk, they play.

They play? What do they play?

I don't know. They're children.

Oh, from such children come other children.

Motel is nothing.

Yente. Yente, you said

you had news for me.

Ah children, children.

They are your blessing in your old age.

But my Aaron, heh', may he rest in

peace, couldn't give me children.

To tell the truth, Golde, he hardly tried.

But what's the use complaining?

Other women enjoy complaining. Not Yente.

Not every woman in the world is a Yente.

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Joseph Stein

Joseph Stein (May 30, 1912 – October 24, 2010) was an American playwright best known for writing the books for such musicals as Fiddler on the Roof and Zorba. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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