This is the Award winning, film version of the stage musical, based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem.
"Life without tradition would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof," announces Tevye (Topol) at the outset of this wonderful adaptation of the stage musical. It is this battle to preserve his beloved Jewish traditions that befuddles Tevye, as he faces a changing world and the daunting prospect of marrying off his strong-willed daughters with no dowry to offer as inducement.
Tevye, husband of Golde (Norma Crane), and father of five daughters, is a poor Jewish milkman residing in the small Russian town of Anatevka in 1916 where everyone is like a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant tune without breaking his neck. What keeps them from falling off the roof is "Tradition". Tevye is a firm believer that the traditions that have always been followed since he can remember are good ones and that there is no reason to change them; although we see him break some of these traditions to adapt to small changes in the world around him.
Three of Tevye's five daughters, Tzeitel (Rosalind Harris), Hadel (Michelle Marsh), and Chava (Neva Small) are of marrying age and, as the father and head of the family, it is Tevye's right to approve the selection of their husbands. This would not be so complicated if he just wanted to marry them off. The complication is that he loves them with all his heart and he wants them to be happy. This becomes a test of love versus tradition when one after the other, in a progressively rebellious manner, each daughter expresses an interest in a man that Tevye cannot imagine as husband material. As each daughter more firmly asserts her right to make decisions against his will, Tevye must learn to accept their decisions or be forced to reject his daughters.