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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best musicals ever made
"Fiddler on the Roof" is one of the best films ever made. It is a musical with wonderful songs, but at the same time, it is so much more. First and foremost, it is a film about family ties, values, and conflicts. It is a film about love. It is a historical film. It is very funny, very witty, and very sad, all at the same time. I laughed, and then I cried. It has memorable...
Published on 22 April 2005 by Dorie

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Touching but uneven
Perhaps my expectations were too high for this from its reputation as a classic, clearly a great success in its day - but after a decent first half it basically turns pretty bleak and the good songs run out. Despite the potentially powerful subject matter this second half also paradoxically lacks emotional punch, perhaps because it is too sanitised given the history of...
Published 11 months ago by JC


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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best musicals ever made, 22 April 2005
"Fiddler on the Roof" is one of the best films ever made. It is a musical with wonderful songs, but at the same time, it is so much more. First and foremost, it is a film about family ties, values, and conflicts. It is a film about love. It is a historical film. It is very funny, very witty, and very sad, all at the same time. I laughed, and then I cried. It has memorable characters: Haim Topol, who played Tevya the milkman on the stage in London, is made for the role, and has become identified with it. He portrays an authoritative, yet sympathetic father, and he is the source of many witty and very funny comments about life. Just to give you a few examples: "Would it spoil some vast eternal plan / If I were a wealthy man?" or "A bird may love a fish, but where will they build a house together?" or in attempting to explain why it is necessary to stick to tradition, "I'll tell you. I don't know."
Norma Crane is wonderful in playing Tevye's wife. Life has not been good to her, and this shows, and she has never experienced romantic love. It takes 25 years to realize that she loves Tevye, to whom she was married through the matchmaker. But she is a good, loving, and despite her bitterness, forgiving mother.
There are other memorable characters, such as Yente the matchmaker, Lazer Wolf the butcher, and Mottel the tailor. The three eldest daughters are beautiful and dream of a great match. Their song, "Matchmaker," is one of the best songs ever written for a musical. Going contrary to tradition, each of them foregoes the services of the matchmaker and marries out of love, even if the price is poverty, suffering, or banishment from the family.
The first part of the film focuses on ordinary everyday life in the village of Anatevka. The second part dramatizes a dark page of history, as the village Jews first suffer a pogrom, and are eventually driven out of their village at the orders of the czar. Some of them head for America, others for the Holy Land, but some move to a different part of Russia or to Poland, and we cannot supress the knowledge that this is a very sad ending indeed, as we know that they and their children will end up in Nazi concentration camps.
The film is replete with humour, wit, love, and great songs, among which "Tradition" (accompanied by wonderfully clever film shots, "Matchmaker," "If I Were a Rich Man," "To life," "Sunrise, Sunset," "Anatevka," some merry, some hearbreaking, all utterly enjoyable and touching.
Pay attention to the opening shot of the film, it is absolutely brilliant. The cinematography is splendid, the colours are strong and fresh. The locations are beautiful and faithfully recreate village life.
The second disc is replete with information, such as a documentary on the shooting of "Fiddler," on location in Yougoslavia, in 1971, which is excellent and in parts brought me to tears, as the director talked about the historical context of the film; a shorter interview with the director, Norman Jewison, reminiscing about the making of this film (by the way, he recounts that the producers at MGM thought he was Jewish, because of his name, and were surprised to learn that he is actually Christian); authentic period photographs; the director reading from two stories by Shalom Aleichem; a deleted song, "Any Day Now," which I regretted they deleted; posters, trailers and TV spots.
I really urge you to buy this DVD, it is a film you will constantly love to rewatch, and to which you cannot remain indifferent. You will laugh, cry, be entertained, as well as deeply touched. It is one of my most treasured DVD acquisitions, and one that will never lose its grip. I had seen it on TV several times before, and I still wanted to purchase it so as to be able to return to it time and again.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless, 3 Oct 2003
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Although superficially a sentimental musical, Fiddler’s enduring popularity rests on its timeless representation of the conflict between the internal cohesion of community and tradition, and the external forces of ethnic strife and progress. It is also impossible to watch it without bringing away some understanding of the Jewish condition, whatever your views on present-day Israel.
Topol strides like a magnetic giant through the film, in the role with which he has become synonymous, bouncing off a strong supporting international cast. Watch out for Michael Glaser in a non-singing role, his ‘Starsky and Hutch’ days still to come. The village of Anatevka was beautifully recreated in minuscule detail by set designers in Yugoslavia, and succeeds in transferring this stage play to the screen believably.
The DVD commentary by Topol and director Norman Jewison provide a fascinating insight into the research that went into making the film look and feel authentic. Anecdotes also reveal, amongst other things, how make-up artists laboured to age the 35-year-old Topol, the real reason for his passionate expression during the ‘Rich Man’ song, how they managed to keep ‘God’ in place between shots and what happened to Tevye’s horse after the production was finished.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless and magical, 22 Feb 2005
By 
Ms. H. Sinton "dragondrums" (Ingleby Barwick. U.K.) - See all my reviews
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Tevye (played brilliantly by Topol) is a poor Russian trying to keep house for his wife and five daughters. Life plods on in daily grind until the day he tries to arrange a marriage for his oldest daughter only to find she has promised to marry a local tailor. This goes against everything he believes in and his struggle to come to terms with the changes around him is both hilarious and poignant to watch. I'd defy any parent not to get emotional when watching 'Sunrise Sunset' being sang at the wedding.
When daughter number two decides to follow the poor student she loves to his exile in Siberia, Tevya is still upset but more philosophical than previously. However, daughter number three, the apple of his eye, has chosen to marry a Gentile, to turn her back on the Jewish faith. His torment is palpable as he tries to reconcile his beliefs with his love for his daughter.
Set during the time of the Russian Pogroms, where Jews were being driven from their homes and into exile, this is at times a very sad film. However, for the greater part of the film, Tevyas exhuberance is infectious and the music is wonderful, such songs as 'If I were a Rich Man', 'Matchmaker, Matchmaker', 'Wonder of Wonders',have you tapping your feet.
One of the best musicals ever made. Highly recommended.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-see classic!, 11 July 2005
By A Customer
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I've loved this film since I was a child and I find it as moving and fun to watch now that I am 'grown-up'. The extras on the second disk are well worth seeing - some very moving and informative story-telling.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart rending but brilliant musical, 29 Oct 2007
By 
Dodster (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
The story of life in the village of Anatevka, in Russia, as told through the eyes of the Jewish milkman, Tevye (Chaim Topol).
All of life's emotions are in this film. Joy, despair, fear... All brought to life by brilliant acting, humour and song such as 'If I were a rich man', 'Sunrise, sunset'.
You cannot watch this movie and remain untouched by the plight of the Jewish people, as they sought to go about their business, but suffer bitter persecution for no other reason than being Jewish.
One of my favourite quotes is when a student asks the Rabbi if there is a blessing for the Czar. The Rabbi thinks, then smiles...'May God bless the Czar and keep him... far from us!'
This is a long movie at 3 hours, but it draws in you to such an extent that the time flies.
Highly recommended. One for all the family.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fiddler on the Roof - the source of many tears, 30 July 2004
This entertaining films touches on every aspect on live. marriage, poverty, family ties. It produces teras of pure happiness and tears of overwhelming sadness. It pulls you into the complicated and twisting storyline and lets you live the life of the characters. In additition to the capturing plot of this heart-warming film, the musical numbers like, "I wish I were a rich man" have the audence singing along. This film is one of the best I have viewed and I recommend it to everyone of any age. I invite you to buy this and commence a rollercoaster of emotions and enjoy the fabulous songs. This film is a timeless classic!
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, the music is brilliant, 9 Mar 2000
By A Customer
Its a great film, but on DVD its even better. Afetr watching it, I realised that many parts of the film were missed when not viewed in Widescreen format. I recommend this one hands on.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classicly Clear, 29 Feb 2012
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Rachel OK (Hampshire, Eng) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fiddler on the Roof (40th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] [1971] (Blu-ray)
Well, the film is as great as ever, but even better in blu-ray. Although the film is 40 years old the blu-ray version is really clear and the colour enhanced.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great classic, 14 April 2009
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Lynette Botes - See all my reviews
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I ordered this DVD after a recent schoolproduction in which my daughter took part and had our whole family singing the well-known tunes. I only saw it once before and was thrilled to have it available on DVD in improved colour.We enjoyed seeing the original , great thought-provoking epic - it can never be re-made, it truly is the one and only.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Never Tire of This Movie or Music, 23 Nov 2002
By 
Imperial Topaz (Marrakesh, Morocco) - See all my reviews
This is one of my all-time favorite movies. I have watched it so many times. I'm really happy to finally own it myself. No one could match the performance of Topol--I love to hear the music over and over. The story is timeless. The scenery is fantastic. What else can I say?
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Fiddler on the Roof (40th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] [1971]
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