Fiddler on the Roof (film)

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Frank Sinatra starring as Tevye, ready to sing about that desired third staircase just for show.
This article is about the movie. For the musical on which it is based, see Fiddler on the Roof.

Fiddler on the Roof is the compelling tale of a poor milkman living in Tsarist Russia who struggles against the oppressive opposition of his unruly criminal daughters who each want to be married in the local Motel, which happens to be the name of one of the principal characters. Contrary to popular belief the title actually refers to the recurring problem of child molestation that occurs on the roofs of many towns and cities across southern Antarctica.


Frank Sinatra's Academy Award-winning return to the silver screen after seven years of embarrassed silence following Dirty Dingus Magee, the much-anticipated film version of Fiddler on the Roof wooed North American audiences with its unalloyed depiction of the Aquarian thinking and self-centeredness of 1970s society. Based on Joseph Stein's successful stage play, the film version concentrates upon the challenges of social changes in Seventies Greenwich Village, New York and the problems of integrating traditional Jewish values with (at the time) modern day swinging.

Starring Sinatra as Tevye the milkman, the story cycles around the need of the father to marry off his three daughters to more affluent families and thereby raise his own social standing. However, he is living in the past and only the elderly care about status. The Kennedy, Lodge and Hoffman clans are desirable to him, but thanks to the drawing power of free love and the ineptness of the matchmaker, the daughters end up marrying a tailor (played by Sammy Davis, Jr.), a trucker, and a pig farmer. In contrast to the play, the updated story prematurely ends with Tevye having a heart attack as he shouts "No! There is NO OTHER HAND!" during a solopsistic debate about his final daughter's attraction to the pig farmer.


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  • What is Urinetown? (reprise)
  • Zydrate Anatomy
  • Today 4 U
  • My Humps
  • The Black Parade
  • Rent
  • Ease On Down The Road
  • Sweet Transvestite
  • Dare To Be Stupid
  • It's Raining Men
  • The Beast And The Harlot
  • It's A Small World After All
  • Sweet Child Of Mine


A cautionary tale of reaching beyond one's abilities due to neurological disorder, the film version quaintly demonstrates the dangers of following signals from a musician who only appears after binge drinking. In his attempts to blot out the real world by slamming vodka, Tevye actually integrates himself and his family further into local society by trying to live vicariously through his daughters. In this sense the movie can be soberly viewed as a comedy.

Critics Reaction[edit]

While most reveiwers loved the energy Sinatra brought to the role, some purists decried his lack of a beard, saying if Ol' Blue Eyes couldn't grow facial hair and sing Yabba dibba dibba dibba yabba dibba dibba do properly, he ought to leave kosher roles alone.