It’s to music what the bagel is to food – a Jewish staple that has transcended its origins and become a worldwide hit. Bob Dylan sang it. Elvis, too. And that’s only the beginning when it comes to Hava Nagila. Follow the infectious party song on its fascinating journey from the shtetls of Eastern Europe to the cul-de-sacs of America in this hilarious and surprisingly deep film. Featuring interviews with Harry Belafonte, Connie Francis, Glen Campbell, Leonard Nimoy, Regina Spektor and more, HAVA NAGILA (THE MOVIE) takes viewers from Ukraine and Israel to the Catskills, Greenwich Village and Hollywood, using the song as a springboard to explore Jewish history and identity and to spotlight the cross-cultural connections that can only be achieved through music.









Film information

Genre: , , ,
Starring: , , , , , , ,
Release date: Mar 1, 2013
MPAA rating: Unrated
Official website:
Runtime: 75 min
Movie Reviews:
  • 75
    Movie Nation - by Roger Moore
    Roberta Grossman’s cute documentary gives weight to the tune, tracing its lineage to a town – Sadagora, in the Ukraine – and the 19th century. It bubbled to life as a “Nigun,” a wordless hymn or prayer, more hummed than sung. more

  • 70
    The New York Times - by Rachel Saltz
    The interviews are mostly good and instructive, but the well-chosen historical footage is better. ...

  • 50
    New York Post - by Farran Smith Nehme
    By the movie’s end, the party guests may be ready to dance the hora — or they may find themselves sitting this one out. “Hava” will have its revenge, however: It’s still stuck in my head. more

  • 20
    Village Voice - by Michael Atkinson
    Patronizing from toe to chin, the film opts continually for self-congratulation and cheesy aphorism, and could've-should've been comfortable slotted into a half hour of airtime on TJC. more

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User Comments & Reviews

  1. Amrita

    The short and sweet documentary “Hava Nagila (The Movie)” is a lively portrait of what is arguably the most ubiquitous Jewish song or, as one observer wryly puts it, “the kudzu of Jewish music.”

    Thumbs Up!