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In 1971, the film version of Fiddler on the Roof was released, an adaptation of the 1964 musical that itself was based on Tevye and his Daughters by Sholom Aleichem. This rich and entertaining depiction of Jewish life in Eastern Europe was a tremendous success, earning eight Oscar nominations and winning three awards, for its cinematography, score, and sound.
Now, half a century later, in Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen, filmmaker Daniel Raim has assembled an astounding collection of archive footage and new interviews, speaking with director Norman Jewison, a few surviving members of the cast, including star Topol, and industry legends like composer John Williams.
I had the chance to speak with Raim about his first experience watching the iconic film, getting to dive deep with Jewison and others, and his brief thoughts on the remake that has been commissioned.
You can watch the video above, and read below for an official summary and where to watch.
The Fall of 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of Fiddler on the Roof, the film Pauline Kael of The New Yorker called “the most powerful movie musical ever made.” Narrated by Jeff Goldblum, FIDDLER’S JOURNEY TO THE BIG SCREEN captures the humor and drama of director Norman Jewison’s quest to recreate the lost world of Jewish life in Tsarist Russia and re-envision the beloved stage hit as a wide-screen epic. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Daniel Raim puts us in the director’s chair and in Jewison’s heart and mind, drawing on rare behind-the-scenes footage, original storyboards, and never-before-seen stills as well as original interviews with Norman Jewison, Topol (Tevye), composer John Williams, production designer Robert F. Boyle, film critic Kenneth Turan, lyricist Sheldon Harnick, and actresses Rosalind Harris, Michele Marsh, and Neva Small (Tevye’s daughters). The film explores how the experience of making Fiddler deepens Jewison as an artist and revives his soul.
Check out more of Abe Friedtanzer’s articles.
Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen opens at the Angelika Film Center in NYC on Friday, April 29th and at the Laemmle Royal and Laemmle Town Center in LA on May 6th, with more cities to follow.