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The Wiz (1978)

G  |   |  Adventure, Family, Fantasy  |  24 October 1978 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.2/10 from 10,240 users  
Reviews: 148 user | 31 critic

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



(novel), (book), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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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


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


The Wiz! The Stars! The Music! Wow! See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 October 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mago  »

Box Office


$24,000,000 (estimated)


$13,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (uncut) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Joel Schumacher's script for The Wiz was influenced by Werner Erhard's teachings and his Erhard Seminars Training ("est") movement, as both Schumacher and Diana Ross were proponents. The speech delivered by Glinda the Good Witch at the end of the film, and the song "Believe in Yourself", are particularly laden with est-ian concepts. See more »


Halfway through "NO BAD NEWS", there is a wide shot of the dancers that starts to dolly; during the camera movement, the shot starts to shake. See more »


Aunt Em: Oh, here we go again. You get me so worked up that I'm beginning to sound like a Jewish mother.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Version of The Wizard of Oz (1925) See more »


Tornado/Glinda's Theme
Written by Charlie Smalls
Performed by Orchestra with Lena Horne
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

I Love this Movie
25 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Okay...I never knew that other people did not love The Wiz until last year, 2004. I first saw this movie in the theater when it was released as a little girl. My mother, sister and I felt like we had been drawn into an urban fairy tale that we could relate to. As African-Americans, this was the first time we had witnessed a fantastical creation that had characters and images that we could relate too.

The singing, costumes, backdrop of New York city and choreography were magical. In fact, TV One just aired an all day marathon of The Wix on Thanksgiving and we watched the loop the entire day.

The Wiz provides the viewer with a sneak peek into the lives of Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Lion--all with some "SOUL." The cast of lesser characters are even more of a jewel...the crows--well, most of us can relate to the "crabs in a barrel" attitude that has plagues the inner city; Miss One--well she was a glitter bedecked "numbers runner"; the citizens of Emerald City remind me of the urban fashionista crowd...and the dance scene reflect the attitude of the bourgeoisie that you can find in any community of color in the United States; the Poppies--what a hilarious nod to the fact that often times, you don't even see women of color in movies unless they are playing the role of prostitute or drug addict; and the workers in Evilene's Sweat Shop...well, they are like so many of us who suddenly discover that there is someone beautiful waiting to come out of us...we just have to be free enough to be comfortable in our own skin.

OK. You get the picture...I love this movie. And so many others that I know do too. I am thankful that I can now share The Wiz with my own children.

59 of 87 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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