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Hava Nagila


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Editorial Reviews

Hava Nagila is instantly recognizable and musical shorthand for anything Jewish. But as audiences will discover in HAVA NAGILA (THE MOVIE), the song is much more than a tale of Jewish kitsch and bad bar mitzvah fashions. In its own believe-it-or-not way, it encapsulates the Jewish journey over the past 150 years. Featuring interviews with Harry Belafonte, Connie Francis, Glen Campbell, Leonard Nimoy, Regina Spektor and more,- the film follows the song from Eastern Europe to Palestine and all the way to America.

Product Details

  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Video Group
  • DVD Release Date: November 5, 2013
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00DT55OPE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,304 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Modemjunkie on November 10, 2013
This wonderful movie is a delightful tour through a century and a half of the history of Hava Nagila, At times sentimental and kitchy, so was the music itself. That part of the hilarious fun. Hearing Harry Belafonte sing and talk about Hava is a delight. Hearing Bob Dylan sing it may not be painful but is a true hoot. Hearing Hava in so many forms is amazing.

Throughout my life, Hava Nagila has been the one melody that could get everyone on their feet dancing, whether they knew how or not. No wedding, no Bar Mitzvah, no simcha, is complete until your hear and dance to this storied song.''

In addition to capturing all of that, this movie reveals competing versions of how Hava came to be. Learn the secrets of Hava. Nagila.
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I had the chance to see this highly entertaining 75-minute documentary at the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival in 2012 and I could hardly wait for the DVD release, hoping there would be neat “bonus features”. And there are – about 30 minutes worth.

EVERYONE – Jewish or not – knows the song but very few know: How old it is? Who wrote it? Who had the biggest hit recording? (Hint. The singer was Italian, not Jewish with the runner-up being African-American) and WHY is it so popular? Director Roberta Grossman gives you all the answers, and more, in this tightly edited film , produced by Marta Kaufman (a co-creator of the TV hit “Friends”). The narration is by Rusty Schwimmer.
A few more interesting tidbits you’ll learn (but I won’t be a spoiler here – just a hint – is how Leonard Nimoy created the infamous hand signal for his character, Spock, on “Star Trek”, and which of the following “pop artists” – Bob Dylan, Dick Dale, Lena Horne - recorded the song?

The bonuses on the DVD (another reason to see the film, even if you saw it at a festival) include outtakes, extended interviews, the playing of the earliest known recording of the song (1922) and both the theatrical trailer and the wonderful 10-minute “sample reel” that Goldman created for the Kickstarter campaign to finish the film. It was seen by over 1 million people (and the long – I mean LONG – list of donors in the final credits- shows the result) and got the film released.

The next time I hear the song at a Bar Mitzvah or a wedding, I’ll now be able to ask those around me “Did you know that….?)

Mazel Tov to Grossman and her team. I can’t wait to see what she does next!
I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
“Anything Phonographic”
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul Marbury on December 23, 2013
As a born and bred gentile, Hava Nagila: The Movie is a seriously funny history lesson. From the eloquence of Harry Belafonte and Leonard Nimoy to the insights from Jewish scholars and musicians, to the humor from all the attempts to 'explain' and interpret Hava, this is a great ride start to finish. A perfect addition to anyone's library.
I was on the film crew at the former synagogue in Sadagora, Ukraine, when, just before packing up to leave, and, after years of fruitless searching by the director for descendents of the original Rabbi where Hava was likely to have originated, a bus pulled up, disgorging a group of British school kids on a tour of Jewish history in Europe. The leader of the group was not only the descendent, but the namesake of that original Rabbi of that ruin of a Synagogue in that obscure corner of Ukraine. I'm a believer in coincidence, but that came close to converting me to the divine.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marla on November 10, 2013
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This was so fabulous! Great script. Very entertaining. More importantly provided insight and perspective on reform Judaism that many a boomer grew up with in the U.S.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stacey Foiles on November 11, 2013
Humorous both subtle and broad. I loved it. I think everyone over the age of six should sit down and watch this movie with their grand parents
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Weber on December 24, 2013
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This movie documented the history of Hava Nagila in a light but enlightening way. I learned many things I had never known about the song. Knowing a couple people who were interviewed also made it even better for me, not that it wasn't extremely well made to begin with. I highly recommend this movie to all!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Zipper on January 16, 2014
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This is a really good documentary exploring a Jewish song I've known almost since childbirth ... and as it turns out I really knew nothing about it at all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Samuel David Schestenger on February 3, 2014
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Is very interesting the concept of this documentary
Is taking, in my opinion, a small concept, and become great, for the dimension in the analisis
Is wonderful to take a concept, and exhausted, and this is the case
Also important, is how this is touching the life of many people
The deepness of the concept is not a problem to do a very serious movie, with hilarious situation
Just great
Thank you
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