MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 153 this week

The Wiz (1978)

G  |   |  Adventure, Family, Fantasy  |  24 October 1978 (USA)
5.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.2/10 from 9,781 users  
Reviews: 144 user | 28 critic

An adaption of "The Wizard of Oz" that tries to capture the essence of the African American experience.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (book), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

IMDb Picks: April

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in April.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 03 Jul 2013
 
a list of 36 titles
created 07 Nov 2013
 
a list of 25 titles
created 17 Dec 2013
 
a list of 21 titles
created 5 months ago
 
a list of 40 titles
created 2 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "The Wiz" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Wiz (1978)

The Wiz (1978) on IMDb 5.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Wiz.

User Polls

Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Lion / Fleetwood Coupe de Ville
...
...
Thelma Carpenter ...
...
...
Stanley Greene ...
Clyde J. Barrett ...
Subway Peddler
Derrick Bell ...
The Four Crows
Roderick-Spencer Sibert ...
The Four Crows
Kashka Banjoko ...
The Four Crows
Ronald 'Smokey' Stevens ...
The Four Crows
Edit

Storyline

Dorothy, a twenty-four-year-old kindergarten teacher born, raised, and still working in Harlem, is celebrating Thanksgiving with her extended family, but she doesn't seem to be thankful for much in life. She lives a self-imposed sheltered life; she is shy and unfulfilled. Things change for her when she is caught in a snowstorm while chasing after her dog, Toto. They are transported to the mysterious Land of Oz, where she is informed that the only possible way to find her way back home is through the assistance of the powerful wizard in the Emerald City. As she goes searching for him, she befriends some creatures who are facing problems in life just like her. In their quest to find and get help from the wizard, they also face Evillene, the equally evil sister of Evermean, the wicked witch whom Dorothy inadvertently killed when she arrived in Oz, and who may be their biggest obstacle in achieving their goals. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Motown remake of "The Wizard of Oz"! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 October 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mago  »

Box Office

Budget:

$24,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$13,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The CBS Television Network's eyeball logo, slightly modified with an O and a Z in the middle of the walking microphone and camera, was used in the Emerald City dancing scenes. See more »

Goofs

When the Tin Man is finishing his dance to "Slide Some Oil to Me," he is near mirrors, alone, with his hat off. When the Tin Man starts to sing "Ease On Down the Road," he is away from the mirrors, with the Scarecrow and Dorothy with hat on in the next shot. See more »

Quotes

Tinman: [after Dorothy cannot find his heart in his chest] Nobody home in Soulville.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Fitzstephens, Jack ... Music Editor & Guru See more »

Connections

Version of The Land of Oz (1910) See more »

Soundtracks

Poppy Girls Theme
(uncredited)
Written by Quincy Jones and Anthony Jackson
Performed by Orchestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Wickedly Misbegotten Mess Manages a Few Bright Spots But Not Enough 30 Years Later
21 March 2008 | by (San Francisco, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

It's a bit confounding as to why this legendary 1978 fiasco would warrant a 30th Anniversary Edition DVD, even though in hindsight, this elaborately conceived film is not quite as bad as I recall. That's not to say it's a neglected masterpiece. Not by a long shot. Directed by the estimable Sidney Lumet ("Long Day's Journey Into Night", "Network", last year's "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead"), the epic-length film is a regrettable misfire on several counts with its chief liability being a rickety story structure due to an early-career foible of a screenplay by current schlock-master Joel Schumacher ("Batman Forever", "The Phantom of the Opera"). The 1975 Broadway musical version was a zesty, all-black update of Frank Baum's original story that became a long-running hit. Schumacher eschewed the book of the stage version in order to customize the role of Dorothy, written as a pre-pubescent Kansas farm girl, for a then 34-year old Diana Ross, still riding high off "Lady Sings the Blues" and "Mahogany". Consequently, in the film version, Dorothy has inexplicably become a 24-year old Harlem schoolteacher with a severe case of social anxiety disorder.

Because the original 1939 film version of "The Wizard of Oz" is so familiar, there is virtually no sense of surprise in the way of plot. The challenge becomes watching a dowdy, skeletal-looking Ross react to her surreal surroundings in such an excessively naïve manner as to make Dorothy appear in need of a special education program. That leaves her three road companions to pick up the slack, and for the most part, they do. One can now feel melancholic over Michael Jackson's youthfully energetic turn as the Scarecrow since it is the only time his abundant talents have been captured on the big screen. He does his trademark spins and jumps in an exuberant duet with Ross on the show's most famous number, "Ease on Down the Road", probably the film's best moment. Comedian Nipsey Russell makes a likeably philosophical Tin Man, but it's Ted Ross who truly shines as Fleetwood the Lion in a performance that compares favorably to Bert Lahr's cowardly original. A rather hyper Richard Pryor makes a barely-there appearance in the title role. The women fare even less well. Theresa Merritt has just a few scenes upfront as kindly Aunt Emma, Mabel King does her blustery best to make an impression as Evillene the Wicked Witch in just a couple of scenes, and the legendary Lena Horne is simply wasted as Glinda the Good in static repose as she belts out her one number, "If You Believe in Yourself".

The film picks up considerable energy during the production number set to Luther Vandross' "Everybody Rejoice/Brand New Day", but Lumet just doesn't know when to stop it. Like Martin Scorsese (1977's "New York, New York") and John Huston (1982's "Annie"), Lumet is a director out of his depth within the necessary fleetness of the musical genre, and the film's pacing lags over its excessive running time of 133 minutes. The one element that remains impressive over the years is Tony Walton's creative costumes and elaborate production design turning New York City into a surreal series of carnival rides. Most ironically, the World Trade Center is made over into Emerald City and the Twin Towers plaza becomes the setting for an Earth, Wind & Fire-style disco ensemble. For what is marketed as a special edition package, the 2008 DVD is surprisingly bereft of meaningful extras – a brief making-of featurette made at the time of production, the original theatrical trailer and a CD with eight of the movie's songs. The movie is a misbegotten mess with just a few forgotten jewels.


19 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Don't nobody bring me no bad news=best villain song ever! EmilyTheDramaQueen
Why aren't the Silver Slippers in The Smithsonian? florlite
Who would you cast in a remake? teenymaureeny
Disturbing IrockGswift
DO NOT DO A REMAKE! penny-119
Should have used some white actors/actresses! sealug
Discuss The Wiz (1978) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?