Playbill Viewing: Fiddler on the Roof Came to the Big Screen in 1971

Film & TV Features   Playbill Viewing: Fiddler on the Roof Came to the Big Screen in 1971
Starring Topol as Tevye, the film earned eight Academy Award nominations.

One of the last big movie adaptations of a Broadway hit at that time—and one of the very last to earn good reviews—Fiddler on the Roof opened in movie theatres across the country November 3, 1971 and, like the Broadway smash from which it was adapted, earned critical hosannas.

Topol starred as Tevye, a role he played in the 1966 Israeli staging and again in the West End, learning the role phonetically—beating out everyone from Danny Kaye to Frank Sinatra for the role. Zero Mostel, who had originated Tevye on Broadway, campaigned heavily to recreate his performance, but producers were leery of bringing him on board, worried that his personality would eclipse the character. Topol was selected instead, and earned an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe for his performance as the dairy man from Anatevka. He eventually played the role on Broadway as well in the 1990 revival.

Nominated for an additional seven Oscars (including Best Picture), the movie was a financial success—and is now available to stream on Amazon. Co-starring Norma Crane as Golde, Molly Picon as Yente, and Leonard Frey in an Oscar-nominated turn as Motel, stream it now!

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