Hava Nagila: The Movie

Watch Hava Nagila: The Movie

  • NR
  • 2013
  • 1 hr 15 min
  • 6.4  (275)
  • 59

Hava Nagila: The Movie is a delightful and charming documentary from 2012 that explores the surprising cultural history and enduring popularity of the Jewish folk song, "Hava Nagila". Directed by Roberta Grossman and featuring interviews with a wide range of musicians, comedians, historians, and everyday people whose lives have been touched by this infectious tune, the film is a joyous celebration of Jewish culture and the power of music to bring people together across generations and across the globe.

At its core, "Hava Nagila" is a simple and timeless melody that has been adapted and transformed countless times over the past century. Originally a wordless chant sung by Hasidic Jews in Eastern Europe, the song gradually evolved into a lively dance tune with catchy lyrics that celebrate life and community. Over the years, "Hava Nagila" has been embraced by Jews and non-Jews alike, becoming a staple of Jewish weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other celebrations, as well as a ubiquitous and instantly recognizable part of popular culture around the world.

The film's opening scenes introduce us to some of the many ways that "Hava Nagila" has been used and reinterpreted over the years, from a 1950s Hollywood musical to a karaoke favorite to a protest song in the civil rights movement. But the heart of the film is its exploration of how the song has been passed down from generation to generation, connecting Jews from different backgrounds and cultures in a shared musical tradition.

One of the film's most compelling threads follows the story of Connie Kurtz, a lesbian activist and Holocaust survivor who uses "Hava Nagila" as a way to connect with her Jewish roots and to express her own sense of joy and freedom. Kurtz's passionate embrace of the song speaks to its enduring appeal as a symbol of resilience and hope, even in the face of unimaginable tragedy and loss.

Another highlight of the film is its exploration of the song's surprising history as a global phenomenon, with versions of "Hava Nagila" recorded by artists as diverse as Harry Belafonte, Connie Francis, and Bob Dylan. The film includes interviews with many of these musicians, as well as with Jewish musicologists and historians who trace the song's origins and evolution across continents and cultures.

Throughout the film, the energy and joy of "Hava Nagila" is palpable, as we see people of all ages and backgrounds dancing and singing along to the tune. Whether it's at a Bar Mitzvah in Brooklyn, a street fair in Tokyo, or a family gathering in Jerusalem, the song seems to have a magical power to bring people together and lift their spirits.

Ultimately, "Hava Nagila: The Movie" is a celebration of Jewish culture and the enduring power of music to connect people across time and space. Featuring archival footage, interviews, and performances from around the world, the film is a lively and inspiring tribute to one of the most beloved songs in Jewish tradition (and beyond). Whether you're Jewish or not, the infectious spirit of "Hava Nagila" is sure to leave you smiling and tapping your feet long after the credits roll.

Hava Nagila: The Movie is a 2013 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 15 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4 and a MetaScore of 59.

Hava Nagila: The Movie
Where to Watch Hava Nagila: The Movie
Hava Nagila: The Movie is available to watch free on Vudu Free. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Hava Nagila: The Movie for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 15 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.4  (275)
  • Metascore