150 user 32 critic

The Wiz (1978)

An adaptation 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 »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Thelma Carpenter ...
Miss One
Stanley Greene ...
Uncle Henry
Clyde J. Barrett ...
Subway Peddler
Derrick Bell ...
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 Emerald City. As she goes searching for him, she befriends some creatures who are facing problems in life just as she is. 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


From the book that's an American tradition...from the smash-hit Broadway show...the entertainment of the year! 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)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


| (uncut) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sidney Lumet was chosen to direct primarily because of his reputation for finishing his pictures on time and within budget. The movie became the most expensive ever shot in New York City at the time 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 »


The Wiz: Dorothy...
The Wiz: Can you do something for me?
Dorothy: They've had what they've been searching for in them all along. I don't what's in you. You'll have to find that out for yourself. But I do know one thing: you'll never find it in the safety of this room. I tried that all my life. It doesn't work. There's a whole world out there. And you'll have to begin by letting people see who you really are.
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Crazy Credits

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


Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News
Written by Charlie Smalls
Performed by Mabel King and the Winkees
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User Reviews

A terrible adaptation.
27 April 2007 | by See all my reviews

The original Broadway production of "The Wiz" was charming and spirited, but this awful movie is an exercise in bloat. For one thing, Diana Ross is horribly miscast as Dorothy, a role played on the stage by teenagers. She's supposed to be 24 in this film but looks every one of her 34 years, and transforming Dorothy from an innocent girl into a neurotic, whiny schoolteacher just to accommodate the too-old Ross was a terrible idea. It's the worst sort of vanity casting.

The musical numbers are too long and way, way over-art-directed, and the choreography is completely pedestrian. The only person who shines in the whole film is the young Michael Jackson, looking cute and normal in his pre-op incarnation. Other than this, the film is a definite misfire, which is unfortunate because the score is good and, of course, the story is very durable.

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