%% ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Do not uncomment them without expanding them so that it is clear to someone who has seen neither the play nor the film how these tropes are used in the play and/or film.

->''"A fiddler on the roof... Sounds crazy, no? But here in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck."''

''Fiddler on the Roof'' is a popular musical from the 1960s, based on a set of stories by Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem (pen name for Solomon Rabinovich).

Set in the fictional ''shtetl'' of Anatevka, in the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_of_Settlement Pale of Settlement]] of the Russian Empire, just before the Revolution of 1905, it tells the story of Tevye, a milkman with five daughters: Tzeitel, Hodel, Chava, Schprintze, and Bielke. The plot centers on Tevye and Golde's efforts to find husbands for their daughters, but their daughters break tradition by marrying for love rather than having their marriages arranged by Yente, the town matchmaker.

The original Broadway production starred Zero Mostel in the role that would make him famous, but producer-director Creator/NormanJewison refused to cast him in the movie, feeling that his performance was too over the top, and chose Creator/ChaimTopol, star of the London production, instead. Mostel was so pissed off at the rejection, that when his son, Josh Mostel, later received a phone call from Jewison, offering him the role of King Herod in ''Music/JesusChristSuperstar'', for which he accepted, Mostel reportedly retorted, "You should have told him to hire Topol's son, instead." The movie was released in 1971. Originally, Jerome Robbins, the director-choreographer of the original musical, had shown an interest in directing the film as well, but the production company, Mirisch Pictures, refused to even consider the idea, due to the difficulties they had when Robbins was assigned to co-direct and choreograph ''Theatre/WestSideStory''. (Robbins had spent so much time shooting and re-shooting scenes in his quest for perfection, that by the time he had completed about 60% of the picture, the film had gone $1,000,000 over budget and six months behind schedule. He was summarily fired from the film shoot and producer and co-director Robert Wise completed the film alone.)

''Fiddler on the Roof'' remains a popular choice for high schools to this day.
!!It provides examples of:
* ActuallyPrettyFunny: The rabbi's son cracks up when Tevye jokes that the Jews' constant migrations is "why we never take off our hats."
* AdaptationDistillation: In the original books, Tevye had ''seven'' daughters, and many aspects of his life (such as his journey from abject poverty to respectable milk farmer, earning him the "Reb Tevye" moniker, and the suicide of one of his daughters) were cut out.
* {{Adorkable}}: Motel, complete with nerdy glasses and social awkwardness to spare.
* AllIssuesArePoliticalIssues: Perchik says this when he is trying to propose to Hodel.
* AllJewsAreAshkenazi: Justified, given that it takes place within the Pale of Settlement, the heartland of Ashkenazi culture.
* AllMusicalsAreAdaptations: Adapted from Arnold Perl's play ''Tevye and his Daughters'', which was adapted from the Sholem Aleichem's original collection of short stories entitled ''Tevye the Dairyman''.
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: In-universe, Socialist-leaning Perchick gives [[Literature/BookOfGenesis the biblical story of Jacob]] the unconventional {{Aesop}}, "You must never trust an employer!" Hodel is skeptical.
* AntiVillain: The constable, while slightly demeaning toward Jews, doesn't despise them, and has a lot of respect for Tevye. His attacks on them are orders he follows from anti-semitic authorities, and he knows if he doesn't do it, the authorities would hire someone who would.
* AppealToTradition: There's a whole song about it!
%%* ArrangedMarriage
* AsTheGoodBookSays: Probably TropeNamer. Tevye is always saying this to everyone, [[NoFourthWall including the audience]].
** And he tries to tell God "As the Good Book says ..." before realizing that God wrote the Good Book.
** Subverted in that he makes up most of the quotes or gets them wrong.
--->'''Tevye''': Yes, well, ''somewhere,'' it says '''''something''''' about a chicken.
** Motel's song "Miracle of Miracles" is also filled with biblical allusions.
* AwesomeMcCoolName: Lazar Wolf, though entirely by accident -- in the 1900s, it was just another Jewish name. It also sounds cooler in the film than in real life. In Russian language, the first a is pronounced as a long ah. In ''Yiddish'', however, it ''is'' pronounced like "laser" (and often transcribed as Leyzer).
* AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther: Tevye and Golde, who after nearly 30 years of bickering, child bearing, and drudgery, realize that they really do love each other.
* BeingGoodSucks: The story starts off with his mule injuring its leg and Tevye's luck just goes downhill from there.
* BaitAndSwitch: The "New Arrival" at Motel and Tzeitel's that everyone is goo-gooing over is... a sewing machine. And done immediately in reverse when Tzeitel walks in with a newborn baby.
* BerserkButton: Do not tell Grandma Tzeitel that her great-granddaughter is marrying Lazar Wolf.
** Don't mention it to Fruma Sarah, either. Also, don't take Fruma Sarah's pearls. (Although that was a fake dream, so who knows.)
** In a rare heartwarming example, Motel finally stands up to Tevye when he calls him a poor tailor.
* BetrayalByOffspring: Tevye considers [[spoiler: Chava]] to have done this for wanting to marry a non-Jew.
* BigBeautifulWoman: Golde is not this, but Tevye wishes she could be. In the song "If I Were A Rich Man", he sings about "My wife, my Golde, looking like a rich man's wife with a proper double chin." This may be more about the life of abundance and leisure he wishes to give her than about his personal preferences.
* BigNo: In some productions, as Tevye [[spoiler: disowns Chava]], he shouts a BigNo as [[spoiler: she begs for his acceptance]].
* BittersweetEnding: The Jews of Anatevka may have been forced to leave Russia entirely, but at least they got out alive, and in time to avoid UsefulNotes/WorldWarI and the [[UsefulNotes/RedOctober Russian Civil War]]. Apart from those eight years of warfare wrecking the economy and killing a tenth of a population of the entire Empire, the latter was known for its ''even more'' violent pogroms against Russian Jews committed by the the Reds and Whites (the Greens opposed them, but were too weak to stop them happening). On the other hand, those of them who went to Poland not only would've had the frontlines move through the country thrice (once in the World War, twice in the Polish-Soviet War), but [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany later, well]]... As for Tevye and his family, his three daughters are married (not in the way he expected, though), and the fiddler follows them away, as does the traditions it symbolizes.[[note]]In some productions, Tevye leaves the fiddler behind.[[/note]]
* BothSidesHaveAPoint: Provides that page's quote.
-->'''Avram''': (''gestures at Perchik and Mordcha'') He's right, and he's right? They can't both be right.\\
'''Tevye''': You know... you are also right.
** The show in general runs on this trope. Tevye is caught in the clash between the traditional world and the modern world. He tries his best to be fair and see both sides of the situation, with many inner monologues about "on the one hand [...] but on the other hand". In the quote above, he gets ridiculed for not simply picking a side when two guys who both have valid ideas stick to parroting slogans at each other instead of making more nuanced arguments for their causes.
* BrawnHilda: Fruma Sarah, Lazar Wolf's deceased wife, is sometimes depicted as one of these.
* BrickJoke: In the opening, Tevye mentions that one of their traditions is always wearing hats. In the end, Tevye speculates that maybe the reason hats are constantly worn is because historically Jews/Hebrews have been forced out of a number of places at a moment's notice.
* CategoryTraitor: Tevye considers [[spoiler: Chava]] to have passed the MoralEventHorizon for wanting to marry a guy who isn't Jewish, [[spoiler: effectively telling her [[IHaveNoSon I Have No Daughter]] when she comes asking for his acceptance of her marriage]]. This is both TruthInTelevision and ValuesDissonance, as the fragility and small numbers of the Jewish faith -- especially in the film's setting of pre-revolutionary Russia, where Jewish communities (as seen in the musical) were under constant threat of attack from the Christian majority -- means that each marriage is an important part of the preservation of the religion. Marrying out of the faith for even many modern Orthodox Jews would be the ultimate betrayal.
* ChildhoodMarriagePromise[=/=]VictoriousChildhoodFriend: Motel and Tzeitel.
* ChildMarriageVeto: Tzeitel refuses to marry Lazar when Tevye tells her of the match. [[spoiler: Granted, Tevye does relent after realizing how ''much'' she doesn't want to marry Lazar; Tzeitel might have gone along with it if he had continued to force the issue.]]
* ComplimentBackfire[=/=]MyGodYouAreSerious:
-->'''Tevye:''' Thank you, your honor. You are a good man. If I may say so, it's too bad you're not a Jew.\\
'''Constable:''' [laughs] That's what I like about you, Tevye. You're always joking.\\
''(Awkward silence ensues as the Constable realizes Tevye was not joking.)''
* ConspicuousConsumption: Tevye fantasizes about how extravagantly he would live if he were a rich man.
** Ultimately subverted in that the thing he wants the most, the greatest luxury of all...is to study the holy books with the learned men every day.
* CosmicPlaything: Tevye seems to see himself, and the Jewish people as a whole, as this at times.
-->'''Tevye:''' I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can't You choose someone else?
* CreepyShadowedUndereyes: PlayedForLaughs in Tevye's "dream" sequence.
* DanceOff: A variant happens in the bar twice when Tevye and Lazar are celebrating. At first when the Russians show up, everything is tense and the Jewish patrons are worried until then the Russians start singing and dancing. Then one Russian accidentally bumps into Tevye and nearly trips over, and the whole place goes silent and it looks like a fight may break out. The Russian offers Tevye a hand-shake and then starts dancing and Tevye soon declares the Russian dance style is pretty fun, and then everyone joins back in dancing together and men of each group are dancing in the style of the other. It's not quite a DanceOff but close, and has about the same effect.
* DarkReprise: "Tradition" after Tevye disowns [[spoiler: Chava]]. No words, but the chorus dancing in the back... dancing like they're trapped and can never escape...
* DeadGuyJunior: Tevye's oldest daughter Tzeitel is named for her great-grandma, dead thirty years.
* DirtyOldMan: {{Averted}}. Lazar Wolf is in his 50s and wants to marry a woman less than half his age, but it's a case of ValuesDissonance and he's not shown to be lecherous or creepy. He's portrayed as a decent human being who is lonely after the death of his wife, grows fond of a woman who visits his butcher shop option, and genuinely cares about her, with realistic InUniverse reactions from other characters (e.g. Tzeitel is little squicky about the age but mostly just is annoyed that it's not Model she'd be marrying. Tevye feels uneasy about having a son-in-law who is own age, but isn't flat out against the idea, and it's more important to him that Lazar Wolf is going to treat her well and take care of her).
* DreamBallet: Accompanies the song "Chavaleh".
* EgocentricallyReligious: Tevye complains to {{God}} a fair bit, notably making the case in song that it would be a very good thing [[IfIWereARichMan if he were a rich man]]. On another occasion he starts to argue with God by pontificating "AsTheGoodBookSays..." [[FridgeLogic before realizing]] that God already knows perfectly well what the Good Book says. Ultimately he's self-aware enough to avoid actually ''being'' this trope, but he's pushing it a bit.
* [[FirstGirlWins First Guy Wins]]: Subverted, in the film at least; during the opening number "Tradition," we see Lazar Wolf looking at Tzeitel right before panning to Motel, her [[VictoriousChildhoodFriend childhood friend]].
* FriendlyEnemy: The constable and the village Russians, until the tsar's decrees force them to become {{Punch Clock Villain}}s.
* GeekyTurnOn: Motel, the town tailor. Also [[spoiler:Chava and Fyedka, who meet at the bookseller]].
* GossipEvolution: "The Rumour".
-->"Golde's been arrested, and Hodel's gone to Kiev! Motel studies dancing, and Tevye's acting strange. Shprintze has the measels, and Bielke has the mumps."\\
"And that's what comes from men and women dancing!"
* GriefSong: "Chavaleh".
** Although, if you actually listen to the lyrics, the whole ''play'' is a sort of grief-song. Even "To Life", one of the boisterous upbeat songs, has the lyrics:
-->''May all your futures be pleasant ones,\\
Not like our present ones...\\
It takes a wedding to make us say,\\
"Let's live another day..."''
* HailToTheThief: During the opening song "Tradition", a villager asks the rabbi if there is a blessing for the tsar. "Of course! 'May God bless and keep the tsar... far away from us!'"
* HangoverSensitivity: Tevye, after the drinking song.
* HappilyArrangedMarriage: Tevye and Golde conclude that they do love each other even though their marriage was arranged and they had to learn to love each other. Tevye finds it difficult to allow his daughters to forgo an arranged marriage because it ultimately worked for him.
* HomosocialHeterosexuality: The traditional ArrangedMarriage custom is portrayed as an emotional and social affair between the groom and the father, the bride hardly being relevant to the process. And thus the plot is setting up for a [[ChildMarriageVeto massive backfire]].
* HumanLadder: Not part of the story itself, but this [[TotemPoleTrench technique is often used to portray the abnormally tall ghost of Fruma-Sarah. (Especially in modern high school productions, where technical equipment budgets tend to be limited.)]]
* HumbleGoal: Ironically, the true motivation behind "If I Were a Rich Man." After describing all the nice things he and his wife could have and how important he'd seem to the rest of the village, Tevye quietly notes that being rich would free him to study Torah, pray in the synagogue, and discus the holy books with learned men... things that a working man's life leaves him little time for.
-->'''Tevye''': And that would be the sweetest thing of all.
* HypocriticalHumor: A good deal of Yente's dialogue. Also invoked by Fyedke, who lists a few of his (somewhat boastful) good points, then tacks on, "and very modest."
* IfIWereARichMan: TropeNamer
* [[IHaveNoSon I Have No Daughter]]: [[spoiler:Tevye to Chava]] when she declares her intent to marry a non-Jew.
* InconvenientItch: One character invokes this to another:
--> "May he get an itch he cannot scratch!"
* IncrediblyLongNote: Fyedka's "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... zaaaa, vaaaaa, sha zdarovia" in "To Life." It is not uncommon for betting to be going on backstage about when the actor will pass out. (Answer: not before he gets his applause, dammit!)
* InformedJudaism: Obviously [[AvertedTrope averted]], to the point that mentioning "Fiddler on the Roof" is often used as shorthand to inform us that a character is Jewish.
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: An inverted example. Motel brags after getting his sewing machine that he'll no longer make any hand-made clothes. (At the time the movie was made and a century later, people are paying big bucks for hand-made clothes.)
* IWantSong: "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" for the three eldest girls (Tzeitel, Hodel, and Chava); "If I Were A Rich Man" for Tevye
* JewishComplaining: Tevye has many things to complain about, and even uses it to save face in the last act.
* JewsLoveToArgue:
** Invoked in the opening when Tevye happily informs the viewer that amongst the Jews in the village everyone gets along. Then he casually goes over to a pair bartering over a horse and instigates a loud, angry argument, that appears to involve all of the Jewish characters in the market.
--->'''Group 1 at Group 2:''' HORSE!\\
'''Group 2 at Group 1:''' MULE!\\
'''Group 1 at Group 2:''' HORSE!\\
'''Group 2 at Group 1:''' MULE!
** In the film, Tevye starts a huge argument between two groups arguing about whether Neighbor 1 sold Neighbor 2 a 6-year-old or 12-year-old horse. The whole village seems to get in on it.
** Tevye and some of the other men of the village when Perchik is first introduced.
** Tevye is actually very pleased when Motel snaps and yells in his face, as it proves he has become man enough to argue back.
* JewishMother: Golde fits the type to the letter, constantly nagging her husband, fretting about the housework, and trying to get each of her daughters married off to a NiceJewishBoy.
* JustFollowingOrders: The Constable's justification for allowing "a little unofficial demonstration" of anti-semitism. He also faces removal from his post if he doesn't carry out the pogrom. He knows someone would do it, and he would rather it be him instead of someone far worse.
* KissingCousins: Distant cousins in this case. Motel is implied to be related to Tzeitel through her great grandmother's uncle.
* LargeHam: Fruma-Sarah is specifically written to be played this way. Tevye also has his moments.
* LivingProp: It is ''incredibly'' easy to forget that Tevye has two little daughters as well as his three teenage ones.
* LongLastLook: The cast sings "Anatevka" as they prepare to leave their village.
* LyricalDissonance: "To Life," a riotous showstopping dance number all about how life sucks most of the time, except when we can find an excuse to celebrate and get drunk. Plus, the tone is quite at odds with how it's celebrating a contrived, loveless marriage arrangement just after Tzeitel has agreed to marry her true love.
* MarriageBeforeRomance: The marriage of Tevye and Golde was arranged and they have been together for years, having already raised their eldest children to adulthood, but it isn't until one of their daughters wants to marry for love that they start thinking about romance with one another. Their duet "Do You Love Me?" lampshades, describes and plays out the trope.
* MarryForLove: Tevye's daughters want to do this.
* MoneySong: "If I Were A Rich Man"
* MoodWhiplash: Frequently, there are moments of celebration, family drama, oppression and comedy. A brutal example occurs during [[spoiler: Motel and Tzeitel's]] wedding: the joyous celebration is violently broken up by the Constable and his men at the beginning of a pogrom.
** Plus, the Constable telling everyone they have to leave comes directly after we've been shown the ugliest side of their religion with Tevye disowning his daughter for marrying outside the faith.
%%* MotherRussiaMakesYouStrong
* NeverBareheaded: The characters are all Orthodox Jews, so this trope is naturally in play.
* NiceJewishBoy: Motel. Though in perhaps a bit of an aversion, [[JewishMother Golde]] would prefer her daughter to marry a rich older man like Lazar Wolf.
* OhCrap: Tevye gets one when he realises he has to tell his wife about their daughter's change in marriage plans.
-->'''Tevye''': Golde! What am I going to tell Golde?!
* OldManMarryingAChild: It's a plot point that it's not uncommon for this to happen due to ArrangedMarriage, as mocked in the song "Matchmaker, Matchmaker." [[spoiler:Tzeitel]] gets betrothed to a man who is actually older than her own father [[spoiler:but fortunately for her, Tevye changes his mind and lets her marry for love]].
* OneDialogueTwoConversations: Are Tevye and Lazar talking about a milk cow, or about Tzeitel?
* OpeningChorus: ''"Traditiooooooon!"''
* OpinionChangingDream: Invoked by Tevye to persuade his wife to let Tzeitel marry Motel.
* TheOutsideWorld: Russians are mostly the outside world to the Jews. Even if when Lazar Wolf buys for everyone to celebrate his wedding Russians are perfectly happy to [[VodkaDrunkenski get joyfully smashed]] alongside Jews.
* ParentalMarriageVeto: Tevye refuses to let his daughter marry outside the faith. When she insists, he disowns her.
* PlayingGertrude: 36-year-old Topol to Rosalind Harris (who would later play Golde to his Tevye onstage).
* PragmaticAdaptation: If the story's main theme is tradition vs. upheaval, the way the musical approaches that theme inverts the approach taken by its source material. Sholem Aleykhem's original stories, written for exclusively Jewish audiences around the turn of the (20th) century, stressed the importance of upholding tradition despite surrounding social change. The musical, which was intended for a more general audience, takes the position that change--both good and bad--is inevitable. (Which was pretty much the theme of TheSixties, if you think about it.)
* ThePresentsWereNeverFromSanta: Golde changes her mind about Tzeitel marrying Motel instead of Lazar Wolf by Tevye's prophetic dream from her great-grandmother... which Tevye entirely made up. The dream never happened.
* ProperLady: Tzeitel. It's assumed Hodel would have become this had she not fallen in love with Perchik. She originally had a crush on the rabbi's son.
* PunchClockVillain: The Constable, and if "To Life" is any hint, possibly the rest of the Russian villagers. Except for the fact that there is a very obviously implied tension when the Russian Villagers join the dancing. It recedes, jumps up when Tevye bumps into one, and recedes again, but is always there.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis:
** "Now I have piece of advice for you: This. Is still. My land. Get. Off. My. Land."
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: A light version in "If I Were A Rich Man," where Tevye asks God if it would really destroy his entire plan for the world to give Tevye some money.
** A more poignant one later when Tzeitel's wedding reception is interrupted by the Pogrom: Tevye can be seen silently asking God "Why? Why? '''WHY?'''"
* RefugeInAudacity: Possibly the only reason why Tevye can make the "dream" about Fruma Sarah into a plausible excuse for marrying Tzeitel off to Motel. Even more clever and devious: Fruma Sarah's objection is the motivation; Grandma Tzeitel's is the excuse.
* RuleOfThree: Three girls, three marriages [[spoiler:that undo their father's expectations.]] They have ''more'' girls than that, of course, but only three have plot-important roles; the others are not yet of marriageable age. And in the stories, Tevye has seven daughters.
* RussianGuySuffersMost: Or, if you're already in Russia, Jewish Guy does.
* SecretRelationship: [[spoiler:Chava and Fyedka]] keep their relationship from Tevye until it's too late.
%%* ShrinkingViolet: Chava.
* SlapSlapKiss: Hodel and Perchik bicker, and then get married.
* SlidingScaleOfAdaptationModification: The film adaptation is a Type 4 (Near Identical Adaptation); it cuts out a few musical numbers, but is otherwise identical to the original musical.
* SmallReferencePools: In Hollywood, mentioning this play is a good way to establish that a character is a Jewish person [[InformedJudaism even if the character hasn't actually mentioned having Jewish heritage]].
* SmiteMeOhMightySmiter
-->'''Perchik''': Money is the curse of the world.\\
'''Tevye''': ''[shouting to the Heavens]'' May God Smite me with it! AND MAY I ''NEVER'' RECOVER!
* StealthInsult:
** "Is there a proper blessing for the tsar?" "Yes. 'May God bless and keep the tsar... far away from us!'"
** Yente comes to one of the fathers telling him she has a match for his son, the shoemaker's daughter. The father protests, since the shoemaker's daughter is almost blind. Yente explains this IS why it is such a perfect match, as a blind girl should have no worries about whether her husband is ugly.
** In "To Life," the chorus gives one to Tevye and Lazar Wolf: "We know that when good fortune favors two such men, it stands to reason we deserve it too."
* StoutStrength: Tevye is often portrayed as going a bit soft about the belly with middle age. He's also shown hauling his loaded milk cart around after his horse injures its leg.
* TalkingInBed: Sets the stage for Tevye telling Golde his "dream" about Fruma-Sarah.
* ThatRussianSquatDance: Shows up at a couple of points in "To Life", which features it among a wide array of Russian dance moves.
* ThatWasntARequest: When Perchik and Hodel tell Tevye (Hodel's father) of their engagement and he blusters that he won't allow it:
-->'''Hodel''': You don't understand, Papa.\\
'''Tevye''': I understand, I understand, because I said yes to Motel and Tzeitel you feel you also have the right, but my answer is still no.\\
'''Perchik''': No, Reb Tevye. You don't understand. We're not asking for your permission.
* TitleDrop: "You might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof."
* TroubledSympatheticBigot: Tevye is constantly struggling with his belief in tradition versus his three daughters' yearning for liberation. He manages to accept the first two of them (who want to choose their own husbands, but within their own ethnic group), but draws the line with the third (who falls in love with a Christian). With this daughter, Tevye is shown to be on the edge of committing HonorRelatedAbuse: but he never carries it out, making him a failed patriarch but [[AvertedTrope keeping him]] from [[MoralEventHorizon becoming a failed human being]][[note]]He fully disowns her in the original stories, see ValuesDissonance on the YMMV page[[/note]].
%%* TwoActStructure
* VodkaDrunkenski: In "To Life", Tevye and Lazar Wolf join their Russian compatriots in getting royally smashed to celebrate [[spoiler: Tzeitel's engagement]].
* WeddingSmashers: The UsefulNotes/{{Cossacks}} interrupt [[spoiler:Motel and Tzeitel's]] wedding with "a little unofficial demonstration."
%%* YiddishAsASecondLanguage