Synopsis: In an Ashkenazic shtetl in Poland, Yentl Mendel is the boyishly klutzy daughter and only child of long widowed Rebbe ("Talmud Teacher") Mendel, who teaches Talmud (a codification of Jewish Law) to local boys - and to Yentl, but secretly because girls were not allowed to learn the law in those days. When her father dies, Yentl is all alone in the world. She takes the momentous decision to leave the village and - disguised as a boy and calling herself by the name of her late brother, Anshel - seeks and gets admitted to a Yeshiva, to study the texts, traditions, subtleties and complexities of Torah, Talmud, etc. She befriends Avigdor who is engaged to Haddas, but her family discovers his brother committed suicide so they call off the wedding (in case Avigdor possesses the same madness). Anshel then finds "him"-self in the awkward position of being called into service as substitute bridegroom, so that the wedding can go ahead and Haddas will have a husband. It is a marriage that never gets
Director(s): Barbra Streisand
Production: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 14 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
133 min

- Morning.

- (Woman) Good morning.

When I was in Lublin studying last week,

I found this wonderful book.

Can you believe the price of cabbage?

( Woman humming)

For instance, he gives 25 different

interpretations of Genesis alone.

Best in the market.

Parsnip, turnip, everything for soup!

Storybooks for women,

sacred books for men!

Lovely picture books for women.

(Man)... in each sentence.

Fish, fish! Fishy fish!

(Child) Mama!

(Boy) Rachel!

Fish! Fish!

Come, look. Look at this, ladies.

Fine herring, beautiful silver carp.

- (Woman) Delicious.

- See the difference?

The skin should be tight, firm,

and the scales shiny like diamonds.

- Yentl, how's Papa?

- He's much better, thank you.

Then there's the smell.

(Man) Lovely picture books for women,

sacred books for men.

Storybooks for women,

sacred books for men.

Yentl? Yentl, what would

you like to have?


Yentl, a pike or a carp?

- Fine.

- A nice carp.

Novels for women, sacred books for men.

Yentl, what's this I hear?

You finality got engaged.

- I don't know.

- What? Did you or didn't you?

What, hear about it or do it?

If she can joke about finding a husband

at her age, I should worry.

Here you are.

So beautiful, it'll cook itself. (Chuckles)

What's so funny?

- Will you buy my fish?

- I'll eat chicken.

Storybooks for women,

sacred books for men.

Yentl, did you hear about Helen Shipman?

- I haven't got time.

- You never do.

- Buy your gruel.

- Sacred books for men.

Lovely picture books for women.

He relates the mysticism of creation

to the mysticism of language.

We shouldnt be reading these things.

- Can we afford it?

- No, but there's one in the rabbi's study.

Come on.

What a nice girl! There's your change.

- You're in the wrong place, miss.

- What?

Books for women are over here.

- Novels, very romantic.

- I'd like this one.

- Sacred books are for men.

- Why?

- It's a law.

- Where is it written?

Never mind where. It's a Law.

Well, maybe it's written in here.

Miss, do me a favour. Do yourself a favour.

Ah, here, buy a nice picture book.

- Girls Like picture books.

- What if I told you it's for my father?

Why didn't you say? 15 kopecks.

- And that's written inside the cover.

- Thank you.

(Papa coughing) Good. And who's wise?

- (David) He who knows a lot.

- No, try again.

- Who's wise?

- (David) Erm... he who...

- He who learns from all men.

- (David) He who Learns from all men?

Good. And who's rich?

Oh, I know that one.

(Yentl) He who is content with what he has.

Yentl, is dinner ready?

Yes, he who has a full heart

and he who is content with what he has.

(David) How can one question

have two answers?

Ah, David, sometimes there are

many answers to the same question.

Now, the last one.

- Who is strong?

- Erm...

- Strong...

- No, no. Who is strong?

- He who controls his passions.

- Concentrate.

Controls his passions!

- Try, David.

- I'm trying.

- He who...

- He who controls his passions!

Yentl knows Talmud?

I think that's enough for today.

My father says that a woman

who studies Talmud is a demon.

She's not a demon, she just has big ears.

So you don't need to tell your father.

- Goodbye, Reb Mendel.

- Goodbye.

Bye, David.

Now the whole village

will be talking about us.

Papa, you shouldnt smoke.

Do you think the angel of death will be

frightened away by cough medicine?

- First, you don't have to drown him in it.

- Again.

- Second, he's beginning to Like it.

- You want some more?

You know something?

Baked apple is good a little burnt.

- I'm sorry, Papa.

- No. I Like it this way.

- Really?

- Oh, yes.

Go on, your move.

- Papa?

- Mm?

Why does every bookseller

have the same argument?

- You know why.

- I envy them.

- The booksellers?

- No, the students!

Talking about life, the universe.

I learn how to tell a herring from a carp!

Yentl, for the thousandth time,

men and women have different obligations.

- I know, but...

- And don't ask why.

Go on. Get the books.

- Get the books.

- Thank you, Papa.

(Papa) "Thank you, Papa.

Thank you, Papa. "

- The shutters, darling.

- The shutters.

If you don't hide my studying from God,

why from the neighbours?

I trust God will understand.

I'm not so sure about the neighbours.

Questions, questions,

even when you were Little.

"Does a goat have a soul?

What was before the universe?"

- I'd Like to know.

- Oy!

- Where were we?

- Hillel's argument. Erm...

Hillels argument that knowledge...


- Papa?

- (Mumbles)

Papa, I'm... I'm a Little tired tonight.

Do you mind? We'll study tomorrow.


Oh, Yentl, Yentl.

Oy. You're such a comfort to me.

But you should have a young man to take

care of you, one who doesn't Like to eat.

- Good night.

- Good night, Papa.


- Are you all right?

- Yes, I'm fine.

(Coughing quietly)

(Papa coughing quietly)


O merciful father,

I am wrapped in a robe of light,

clothed in your glory

that spreads its wings over my soul.

May I be worthy.


There's not a morning I begin

Without a thousand questions

Running through my mind

That I don't try to find

the reason and the logic

In the world that God designed

The reason why

A bird was given wings

If not to fly

And praise the sky

With every song it sings

What's right or wrong

Where I belong

Within the scheme of things...

(Papa coughing)

And why have eyes that see

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Jack Rosenthal

Jack Morris Rosenthal (8 September 1931 – 29 May 2004) was an English playwright, who wrote 129 early episodes of the ITV soap opera Coronation Street and over 150 screenplays, including original TV plays, feature films, and adaptations. A street in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester is named after him, appropriately next to a centre of contemporary art, theatre and film that opened in 2015, HOME. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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