Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen Movie Review

Fiddler on the Roof is one of those movies that we all know. Even if we have never seen the film or the various stage adaptations, the songs and the story are iconic in their own right.

The new documentary film, Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen was recently released in theaters. It tells the story of how the original 1960s stage show became a big-screen sensation a decade later. Based on the stories by Sholem Aleichem, the audience follows Tevye (Topol), a Jewish dairyman living in poverty who is trying to provide for his wife and five daughters in the fiction shtetl of Anatevka in the early 20th century. His three eldest daughters, Tzeitel (Rosalind Harris), Hodel (Michele Marsh), and Chava (Neva Small) are all of marriageable age and test the social boundaries of the period.

In addition to interviews with the actors, the audience also is taken behind the scenes by director Norman Jewison (who despite his surname is not a member of the tribe) and musical director John Williams. Narrated by Jeff Goldblum, this is a love letter to a beloved narrative and characters who transcend time, culture, and religion.

I loved this movie. It was everything I could have wanted and more. The making of the original film was a labor of love for all involved. Told with authenticity, heart, and nothing but love, this documentary is nothing short of perfection.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. I would even go as far as to say that this is one of my favorite movies of the year so far.

Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen is currently playing in theaters.

Fiddler On The Roof Broadway GIF by GREAT PERFORMANCES | PBS - Find & Share on GIPHY

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Fiddler On The Roof

The opening song Of Fiddler On The Roof is Tradition.

It speaks of a way of life that has been the standard for generations. But change is on the horizon.

Based on the stories by Sholem Aleichem, the original Broadway production premiered in 1964. 7 years later, the movie Fiddler On The Roof made it’s way to the big screen. Tevye (Topol) and Golde (Norma Crane) are a Jewish peasant middle aged couple with 5 daughters living in pre-revolutionary Russia. The world around them is changing. Their daughters are not content to let the local matchmaker and their parents determine whom they will marry. Outside forces are eager to see their Jewish neighbors forced out of the land they have lived and worked on for generations.

All great stories have a universality to them. Fiddler is no different. The themes of change and being fearful of that change, the dynamic between the older generations who want to keep everything as is and the younger generations eager of something new, watching your child grow up and make decisions that you might not approve of.

This show is part of my cultural DNA. I come  from this world, my great grandparents left the shtetls of Eastern Europe for America at the turn of the 20th century. I was lucky enough to see the 2004 Broadway revival. When the movie is on, I find myself singing along with the characters.

I recommend this movie.

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