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  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 86:31)
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Mono
    English, French, Spanish, Polish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - by director Norman Jewison and Topol
  • Booklet
  • Digitally remastered

Fiddler On The Roof

MGM/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 180 mins . G . PAL


One of the most highly succesful stage musicals appeared in the late 60's. Fiddler on the roof was an instant hit with audiences and it wasn't long before the musical made its way to the silver screen.

Fiddler is the story of Tevye (Topol), a Jewish man living on the border of the turn-of-the-century Tsarist Russia. He tells us the story of his town and its proud jewish traditions. Tradition!!! Tradition!!! With tradition comes comfort in the way you do things, knowing that this is how it has always been and how it always will be. It's not, and he has to face his fears as his daughters place him in positions that make him chose between tradition or their happiness.

When it all boils down, everyone will give the person they love what they want and with this Tevye begins to change, constantly fighting with what he, his wife and his peers feel are the basis of the jewish life. This is where I believe the fiddler on the roof comes in. Tevye can always look toward the fiddler and find solice in his music. When he does, he knows he is not alone and no matter his path, the fiddler will always be there to comfort him. Tradition!!!

This is a moving story about life, struggle, happiness, betrayal, loss and sheer rollercoaster of emotion people are put through. None more so than the jewish community and the depiction of life he, before Hitler, just shows us that it has been and continues to be a hard life. Out of hardship, joy is always found and being a poor milkman does not stop Tevye from loving his family and bringing happiness to them all.

This is a truly moving story and one that everybody can and should relate to.


A remarkable transfer given it's 30 year age. It has it's good and bad points but generally it's on the plus side. I'll talk about these points separately.

BAD: It's a 3 hour movie, an anamorphic transfer, PAL resolution and a dual layered disc. There's only so much you can really fit onto a single side so there has to be some sacrifices. The bit-rate is kept to an average 4-5 throughout the entire picture. Beacause of this, niggling compression problems arise in the guise of mpeg artifacts in darker scenes. No, they are not overly obvious but on an uncalibrated TV they will be terribly noticeable.

Black level is not at it's best. In some of the earlier scenes and some later scenes it becomes apparent that the transfer needs a little more dynamic range to it to really bring out it's detail. There is also some soft sections of the picture at times but given the overall image as a whole this is most likely the cinematography at play here and not the transfer.

GOOD: At it's best points, the image is incredible and achieves that 3D look at times too. Sharpness reaches incredible points and detail is abundant. Color is a little bland but the movie is portrayed initially in brownish hue that turns to a dark greyish blueish hue in the second half of the movie.

The problem with the transfer is that it's inconsistent. I'm sure that if there was more room to move within the compression we would have seen a better overall image. The compression doesn't really have a chance to become variable so some scenes fair better than others.

I'm going to rate it pretty high because it truly does look good, most of the time so I don't want to deter people from what is a great movie. The layer change occurs at the end of a busy scene so it becomes very obvious. It would have been better placed at the start or end of the short intermission whereby the screen goes totally black for around a minute.


The movie is presented in a newly remastered 5.1 soundtrack and it shows mainly during the musical numbers. People often cringe when a classic is fiddled with (aye Paul?) but if it's done in a subtle way rather than changing it totally then I'm all for it.

You'll notice a more open sound stage when the supporting cast joins in. Everything opens up into the rears and sometimes gives you goosebumps if you're drawn into the movie as much as I was. I like that.

Dialogue is always clear given that alot of the dialogue was later redone in a studio - ADR work is fine. A very nice soundtrack indeed and it brings the musical to life. I dread to think of what the other mono soundtracks would sound like. There's also a Spanish 5.1 soundtrack included.


There are 2 extras located on the disc:

  • Audio Commentary - by director Norman Jewison and Topol. This is a very interesting soundtrack given the history of this production and the draw card value of Topol himself. Their commentaries are separate and alternate between each other with both given their different perspectives of certain scenes and how they were shot. It's very informative and both give us inisght into the transformation of this story from stage to screen. As far as I could tell, Topol was the only original cast member to make it to the silver screen for this presentation.
  • Theatrical Trailer - Not the greatest of trailers as it lingers more on the classic songs rather than the fast edits we are used to these days. It also mentions to viewers that they can experience the musical many more sessions a day and at a cheaper price. In short, "It's no a film".
  • Collectable Booklet - features some behind the scenes tid-bits and an insight into the creation of the film version.
  • Picture disc - When you grab a batch of discs from the house of Warner you can see a clear difference in production quality when MGM produces full color picture discs, extras and an 8 page booklet as opposed to Warners 1 color (black) print of the title on the disc and nary a hint of extras.

A great compliment to the disc.


I really enjoyed this movie. I mean REALLY enjoyed it. I'd never seen the production nor the movie and it is fast growing on me as one of my favorite musicals. I'm enjoying it more the more I go back to select scenes.

At 3 hours long, and another 3 hours for the audio commentary, it's not going to be brought out of the collection too often but when it does I'm sure everyone will be singing along and be moved at the same time.

Highly recommended.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=245
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