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No. 38: Fiddler on the Roof


Jody Rosen
December 07, 2011
(20th Century Fox)
(20th Century Fox)

1971, dir. Norman Jewison. The 1971 movie version of Bock and Harnick’s 1964 Broadway classic brought Hollywood’s Jewish-American assimilation saga full circle, as a new generation made showbiz gold out of nostalgia for, of all things, the Pale of Settlement. Broadway buffs kvetched about the casting (Topol instead of Zero Mostel?!); purists weren’t crazy about minor deviations from the stage version’s script. But how can you resist Yiddish film legend Molly Picon as Yente the matchmaker? And the songs! Sing it: “If I were a rich man.”

Jody Rosen is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine.