The Wizard of Oz

September 23, 2013 0 By Fans
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Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.

Release Year: 1939

Rating: 8.2/10 (184,576 voted)

Director: Victor Fleming


In this charming film based on the popular L. Frank Baum stories, Dorothy and her dog Toto are caught in a tornado's path and somehow end up in the land of Oz. Here she meets some memorable friends and foes in her journey to meet the Wizard of Oz who everyone says can help her return home and possibly grant her new friends their goals of a brain, heart and courage.

Writers: ,

Biggest Screen Sensation Since "Snow White"!


Official Website:

Warner Bros. (1998 rerelease)

Release Date:

Filming Locations: Culver City, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $2,777,000


Opening Weekend: $5,354,311

(6 November 1998)

Gross: $19,731,431

(20 September 2013)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


The movie garnered two more achievements when it was reissued in 1949 (first in a limited release in April, then expanded to a wide release in June). The picture made more money on this release than on its original one, and reassessments by film critics were near-universally adoring. Enthused TIME magazine in its May 9, 1949 edition: “The whimsical gaiety, the lighthearted song and dance, the lavish Hollywood sets and costumes are as fresh and beguiling today as they were ten years ago when the picture was first released. Oldsters over ten who have seen it once will want to see it again. Youngsters not old enough to be frightened out of their wits by the Wicked Witch (Margaret Hamilton) will have the thrill of some first-rate make-believe ('We're off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz…').” See more »


Dorothy apparently almost trips on a wire or rope when she walks down from the hill of poppies arm in arm with her companions. You can see her mouth open in surprise as she almost falls forward, but is held up by the other actors. To the right of the actors, some of the poppies on the hill are briefly bent over by the rope or wire as it is dragged over them. See more »



User Review



I have a theory that this movie has probably been seen by more people
than any other movie. The fact that it comes to us as children is
probably the reason why. Other films like 'Gone With the Wind',
'Citizen Kane', 'The Godfather', 'Star Wars', have been seen by a lot
of people but in each case I can imagine people that might not have
seen them. In the case of 'The Wizard of Oz' it's hard to imagine
anyone who might not have seen it at some point in their lives. Almost
everyone you talk to has a memory of their first experience. The reason
this movie remains the most beloved of Hollywood films even after six
decades is because 'The Wizard of Oz' is unique among motion pictures
in that it mirrors our longings and imaginations as children.

The movie, in front of and behind the scenes, has become movie
folklore. We love the legends about the rotating directors, from George
Cukor to King Vidor to Victor Fleming. We know the legend of Buddy
Ebsen who had to drop out due to an allergic reaction to the Tin Man
makeup and Margaret Hamilton whose dress caught fire and nearly had her
face burned off because of the copper-based make-up. We love stories
about the problems on the set between personal feuds, sweltering
costumes, partying munchkins and the costume designer who had to keep
up with Judy Garland's developing bust line. There's even a spurious
legend of a ghost on the set. All of these elements make 'The Wizard of
Oz' a much bigger legend than it already it, but that's okay because
this is the one movie that deserves to be over-hyped. It occupies such
a large part of our memories that we want to make it more than it is,
to just have one more reason to make it more than a movie, we want it
to be a life experience.

That experience is brought to us because we are intimately familiar
with its story elements. The dreams that Dorothy sings about and the
adventure that follows seem to mirror our yearnings as children. She
imagines a bigger place where her problems don't linger and she is free
to explore them. She imagines a place where there isn't any trouble and
people actually listen to what she has to say. She sees the rainbow as
her golden gate to a better place because in her drab Kansas world, the
rainbow is the only source of color that she knows. She dreams of a
bigger place and imagines a world where troubles melt like lemondrops.
We can relate. How many of us as kids sat in our room or in our yards
and played, imagining a place to go and characters to interact with, a
colorful world bigger than our small, confined worlds.

Oz is meant to represent the colorful palette of our imagination but
for Dorothy it is also a place where she does some growing up. The
three friends that she meets along the way, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man
and The Lion are emblematic of the lessons of bravery, love and
devotion and the ability to think for ourselves. The Wicked Witch of
the West certainly represents the real dangers along the way. For
Dorothy there is a matronly figure, Glinda the Good Witch who intends
for Dorothy to discover for herself how to solve her problems, she
knows that Dorothy must grow up along the way. In a way, she seems to
represent the parent that Dorothy doesn't have back in Kansas. Her aunt
and uncle love her but this was a movie made during the depression and
we imagine the climate that they live in, where work means keeping the
farm. No work = no farm = no home.

For 1939, Dorothy was the perfect character for young girls. She echoes
many of the small town country girls who, in the midst of the
depression, packed their suitcases and ran to Hollywood seeking fame
and fortune in the movies. For them this film is a cautionary tale that
they'd be better off if they just stayed home. Judy Garland was perfect
in the role, 17 at the time, but with wide-eyes and a beautiful, open
face she carries that sense of wonderment of a child. Like most of us
as children, her only true companion is a dog named Toto and the most
frightening moment in the film is when she is nearly robbed of her best
friend. When she sings 'Over the Rainbow' we know that it's to escape
an unhappy childhood (she has apparently lost her parents) and for
Garland we identify. She began in show business as a kiddie act with
her sisters and began her long movie career when she was only 13. She
was already a familiar face from 'Love Finds Andy Hardy' and by the
time of 'Oz' she was already under contract to MGM. That she was
familiar to audiences helped her in the role. That familiarity works
well with her ability to project the vulnerability and melancholy that
the character has to have. We have to believe that she will become
frightened and that her life will be in danger because if she doesn't
that we sense that the character can work her way out of the situation
herself and our interest wanes.

If movies are a time capsule than 'The Wizard of Oz' wonderfully
captures a brief moment of happiness in Garland's life. We know of her
problems with studio execs that put her through an exhausting schedule
and used drugs to get her going in the morning then put her to sleep at
night. We know the legends of her mental and physical problems that
dogged her most of her life but 'The Wizard of Oz' sees her at a moment
in her life when it all seemed perfect, just as her star was rising and
before her problems really began. There's poignancy in that, and that's
why I think that the casting of Shirley Temple in the role would have
been a mistake. By 1939, Temple was the biggest star in the world her
presence in the film would have been too much, she would have stood out
and we would only seen Shirley Temple, not Dorothy Gale.

Garland's presence allows the story a certain credibility. I have tried
to imagine that famous dance down the Yellow Brick Road with a 4 foot
child and it just doesn't fit.

If Garland gives the film its center than I think the production
design, awe-inspiring in 1939, is the perfect backdrop. In these early
musicals filmed on a soundstage it isn't hard to spot where the
soundstage ends. Some have seen that as a flaw but I think it adds to
the dreamlike quality of the film. The matte paintings behind the sets
add to the storybook quality. The fact that we're in a dream makes it
okay that the special effects look a little hasty. That was the genius
of the screenplay, that and to establish the Oz characters as
characters that Dorothy meets in Kansas. In our dreams we often see
people and events that have recently occurred in our lives, but this is
the first time I've ever seen it expressed in a movie. In particular is
the notion that Professor Marvel keeps showing up as various characters
in the dream.

What generosity the filmmakers had. What ingenuity to create this
entire world that is colorful and beautiful and scary. What depth of
character they created. What messages they send. This is a movie
constructed with loving care. We're told that those who worked on the
film just thought of this as just another movie, but when I watch the
film I find that hard to believe. Certainly from the screenwriters. I
wonder if they saw how brilliantly they were tapping our frustrations
and our excitement, our dreams, our need and our sense of wonderment. I
wonder if they knew the impact of what they were working on, that the
lovely sentiments that they created would still resonate 60 years
later. I wonder if they knew that their heart's desires weren't that
far from our own.