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The Wizard of Oz (1939)

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Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home in Kansas and help her friends as well.

Directors:

, (uncredited) | 3 more credits »

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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877 ( 48)
Top Rated Movies #232 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

Gaiety! Glory! Glamour! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 August 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mago de Oz  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

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

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Over 35 years after the release of this film, Margaret Hamilton revealed her approach to the character of the Wicked Witch in an interview with Fred Rogers for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968). Hamilton saw the Witch as a person who relished everything she did, but who ultimately was a sad, lonely figure - a woman who lived in constant frustration, as she never got what she wanted (this is, in fact, the basis of the novel and musical "Wicked," in which the Wicked Witch of the West is portrayed as an unfortunate protagonist). In the same interview, Hamilton also famously donned the original Witch costume to explain that the witches were only make-believe, and that children shouldn't be afraid of them. See more »

Goofs

Glinda tells Dorothy never to remove her ruby slippers off her feet but apparently the slippers remain stuck to Dorothy's feet after the Witch of the West claims they can't come off while Dorothy lives. See more »

Quotes

[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.
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Crazy Credits

Clara Blandick, who plays Aunt Em, Pat Walshe, who plays Nikko, and Toto are not listed at all in the opening credits, only in the closing ones. See more »

Connections

Referenced in My Fellow Americans (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

If I Only Had a Heart
(1939) (uncredited)
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Music by Harold Arlen
Sung by Jack Haley and the off-screen voice of Adriana Caselotti
Danced by Jack Haley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A true cinematic milestone
7 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Where to begin? MGM's elaborate adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1900 fantasy classic THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ not only became an institution among itself (and practically defined the concept of modern popular culture), but is reported to be the most viewed film ever made. A sharp screenplay effectively condenses the novel's text into a workable film, and director Victor Fleming (along with countless other behind-the-scenes technicians) craft a visually stimulating fantasy world that surpasses the expectations of even the most imaginative viewers. Brimming with stunning visual effects (the film's fierce tornado is an FX feat that has yet to be surpassed by CGI), witty dialogue, and eye-popping Technicolor, THE WIZARD OF OZ truly lives up to it's reputation as a once-in-a-lifetime film where every element comes together flawlessly.

The cast could not be improved upon. The quivery-voiced, solemn-faced Judy Garland will always be Dorothy, the little lost farm girl on the road to Oz, clutching her beloved Toto (impressively portrayed himself by the female canine performer Terry, the terrier). It seems inconceivable that MGM had originally wished to cast Shirley Temple in the role, as Temple's doe-eyed, cutesy-voiced shtick would have been a catastrophic ill-fit for the tone of this picture. Conversely, Garland is perhaps the screen's quintessential woman/child; always seemingly just one step away from reaching full emotional maturity. It is her sadness that transfixes viewers to the screen, the exact same quality that made the film's most memorable Harold Arlen/E. Y. Harburg number "Over the Rainbow" into one of the most exquisite marriages between artist and song ever to be recorded.

The remainder of the cast is similarly exceptional, many of whom perform perfectly even under the most debilitating make-up and costumes. Frank Morgan is marvelously versatile in no less than five roles, the insanely energetic Bert Lahr mugs brilliantly, the handsome Jack Haley swoons sweetly, Billie Burke lends the film an ornate ethereality, and Ray Bolger's gravity-defying physical presence nearly steals the entire picture on several occasions. Perhaps most notable is former schoolteacher Margaret Hamilton's transformation into the wickedest of wicked witches, which certainly remains among the vilest and most terrifying portrayals of full-throttle evil ever to be seen. No matter how it is analyzed, scrutinized, or satirized, the 1939 production of THE WIZARD OF OZ is a top-notch example of how to turn a great story into a fabulous, milestone of a film.


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