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The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Passed  |   |  Adventure, Family, Fantasy  |  25 August 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 269,978 users   Metascore: 100/100
Reviews: 526 user | 210 critic | 4 from Metacritic.com

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.


, (uncredited) , 3 more credits »


(screenplay), (screenplay), 18 more credits »
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Top Rated Movies #198 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Pat Walshe ...
Clara Blandick ...
Toto (as Toto)
The Singer Midgets ...
The Munchkins (as The Munchkins)


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. Written by Dale Roloff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The book that 80 million read! The play that 941 cities saw! Now the greatest Technicolor show-world miracle since "Snow White". (Newspaper ad, 1939). See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 August 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mago de Oz  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,777,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,354,311 (USA) (6 November 1998)


$22,202,612 (USA) (11 October 2013)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System: The Voice of Action)| (2005 re-issue)


(Kansas sequences) (1949 re-release)| (Kansas sequences) (1955 re-release)| (Sepiatone)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film, while run on network television, used to be packaged as a special event and, as such, was initially introduced by on-camera hosts (including Red Skelton, Dick Van Dyke and Danny Kaye). This practice ended after CBS' first contract with the film ended in 1967. From 1968 on the film was aired host-less, save the 1970 broadcast which was the first to air following the death of star Judy Garland. Gregory Peck gave a short tribute to her before the film aired that year on NBC. Ironically, when the film went into the Turner vault and began airing on Turner Classic Movies, it returned to hosted introductions, usually by TCM's Robert Osborne. The same is true for recent airings on the Cartoon Network--it is one of the few live-action films to be shown on that channel--but whenever it is shown on Turner Network Television or the CW network, it is not hosted. See more »


When Glinda kisses Dorothy goodbye, she hits her crown with her wand. See more »


[first lines]
Dorothy: She isn't coming yet, Toto. Did she hurt you? She tried to, didn't she? Come on. We'll go tell Uncle Henry and Auntie Em.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits say "Photographed in Technicolor", not "Color Sequences by Technicolor", thus making it seem as if the entire film were made in color. It is not known if this was deliberately done to enhance the surprise when the picture turns into full three-strip Technicolor, but it is quite possible. Posters at the time also advertised the film as being in Technicolor, but made no mention of sepia tint or black-and-white. The advertisement for the film's first telecast, however, did say "in color and black-and-white" (the Kansas sequences were shown on TV in black-and-white, not sepia, until the 1990 telecast, when they were restored). See more »


Referenced in Zombie Farm (2007) See more »


Over the Rainbow
(1939) (uncredited)
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Music by Harold Arlen
Sung by Judy Garland
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

a milestone
12 November 2004 | by (Dongshih, Taiwan) – See all my reviews

People talk about The Wizard of Oz as a backdrop to their lives; and how true that is. I just saw it again, DVD, for the first time in--gosh!--20 years. There was a little art house in Lansing Michigan USA that ran it back then, on the popular premise that there's nothing like TWoO on "the big screen." That's the last time I'd seen it, 'til today.

I guess the part that "gets" me about the movie is how the writers made it pretty plain that the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion really already had what they thought they were missing; that their respective problems were in misapprehending their own complete natures. That's a powerful statement for many of us. I found myself most touched in scenes where the Scarecrow was showing wisdom, the Tin Man feeling deeply ("...when I think of Dorothy in that awful place..."), and the Lion...well, maybe accomplishing this effect was harder in his case...what *is* true courage?

Anyway, if you're reading this here, you must be a movie weenie, and you've no doubt already seen the movie, so I'm not going to recite the usual "go see this movie" mantra.

I was just very touching to see this movie again, at this phase in my life.

I will mention a few more things about how I now see this movie as a "growed up" (I'm almost 50): It's interesting how you can see the production values of the time; the lot sets and special effects and so forth. This movie is a powerful example of how a good story overcomes limited means in other areas.

People who look back with disdain on the low-tech chintz of old movies can see in TWoO the magic ingredient; narrative solidity. And I'm not a pollyanna about this: I'm sure the underlying reality behind its making is rife with horror stories of expert disagreement, rewrites, discarding, jerryrigging, and the rest of it. But in the end, something like narrative love won out; and that's the important thing.

Oh: And having Harold Arlen write the music was good luck indeed. And orchestrations which cleverly appropriated very tasty new ideas in composition (polymodalism, non-standard phrasings, etc.) didn't hurt, either!

Geez, this movie is such a little universe....I'd better stop here.

137 of 177 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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