IMDb > The Wiz (1978)
The Wiz
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

The Wiz (1978) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 31 | slideshow) Videos (see all 2)
The Wiz -- An African American adaption of "The Wizard of Oz" that tries to capture the essence of the inner-city experience.

Overview

User Rating:
5.1/10   9,275 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Contact:
View company contact information for The Wiz on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 October 1978 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
From the book that's an American tradition...from the smash-hit Broadway show...the entertainment of the year! See more »
Plot:
An adaption of "The Wizard of Oz" that tries to capture the essence of the African American experience. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 7 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Sleaze on down the road... See more (141 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Diana Ross ... Dorothy

Michael Jackson ... Scarecrow

Nipsey Russell ... Tinman

Ted Ross ... Lion / Fleetwood Coupe de Ville

Mabel King ... Evillene

Theresa Merritt ... Aunt Em
Thelma Carpenter ... Miss One

Lena Horne ... Glinda the Good

Richard Pryor ... The Wiz (Herman Smith)
Stanley Greene ... Uncle Henry
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
Tony Brealord ... Gold Footman (as Tony Brealond)
Joe Lynn ... Gold Footman

Clinton Jackson ... Green Footman
Charles Rodriguez ... Green Footman
Carlton Johnson ... Head Winkie
Ted Williams ... Munchkin #1
Mabel Robinson ... Munchkin #2 / The Wiz Singers Adult Choir
Damon Pearce ... Munchkin #3
Donna Patrice Ingram ... Munchkin #4
Harry Madsen ... Cheetah, Head of the Flying Monkeys
Glory Van Scott ... Rolls Royce Lady
Vicki Baltimore ... Green Lady
Carlos Cleveland ... Aunt Em's Party

Mariann Aalda ... Aunt Em's Party
Aaron Boddie ... Aunt Em's Party
Gay Faulkner ... Guest at Aunt Emma's Party
Ted Butler ... Aunt Em's Party
T.B. Skinner ... Aunt Em's Party
Jamie Perry ... Aunt Em's Party

Daphne McWilliams ... Aunt Em's Party
H. Douglas Berring ... Aunt Em's Party (as Douglas Berring)
James Shaw ... Aunt Em's Party

Johnny Brown ... Aunt Em's Party
Gyle Waddy ... Aunt Em's Party
Dorothi Fox ... Aunt Em's Party (as Dorothy Fox)
Frances Salisbury ... Aunt Em's Party
Beatrice Dunmore ... Aunt Em's Party
Traci Core ... Aunt Em's Party
Donald King ... Aunt Em's Party
Claude Brooks ... Aunt Em's Party
Billie Allen ... Aunt Em's Party

Willie C. Carpenter ... Aunt Em's Party (as Willie Carpenter)
Denice Dejon ... Aunt Em's Party
Kevin Stockton ... Aunt Em's Party
Alvin Alexis ... Aunt Em's Party
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Adrienne Albert ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Alfa K. Anderson ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Joshie Armstead ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Patti Austin ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir / The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Clare Janice Bathe ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Claude Brooke ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Eric Butler ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)

Tom Bähler ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Vivian Cherry ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir / The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Kacey Cisyk ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Steve Clayton ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Kay Coleman ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Charles Collins ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Jenny Cooke ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
T.J. Cooke ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)

Ron Dante ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Billy Davis ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)

Darrell Davis ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Jules S. Davis ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Sharon Davis ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Christopher Dean ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
William Eaton ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Melvin W. Edmondson ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Camille Farrell ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Mike Farrell ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Steve Feldman ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)

Roberta Flack ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Bobby Floyd ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir / The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Frank Floyd ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir / The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Antonia French ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Arthur French ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)

Nancy Gilliam ... Vocalist (uncredited)

Robin Givens ... Guest at Aunt Emma's Party (uncredited)
Bryon Gray ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Diva Gray ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Mike Gray ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Milt Grayson ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Gordon Grody ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Lani Groves ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Gwen Guthrie ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir / The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Susan Hamilton ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Julio Herrara ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Jake Holmes ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)

Cissy Houston ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Rhetta Hughes ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Petra Johnson ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Martina Jones ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)

Quincy Jones ... Emerald City Gold Pianist (uncredited)
Kenny Karen ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Jerry Keller ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Christine Langner ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir / The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
David Lasley ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Yvonne Lewis ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Mary Lombardi ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir / The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Kim Magloire ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir / The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Tommy Malcolm ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Bill Marine ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Barbara Massey ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Ullanda McCullough ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir / The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Debbie McDuffie ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Chuck McGruder ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
June McGruder ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Helen Miles ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Leslie Miller ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Melanie Moore ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Janice Papalos ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)

Janice Pendarvis ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Leon Pendarvis ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Dennis Perren ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Randy Peyton ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Curtis Price ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (uncredited)
Neil Raber ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Gerrard Randall ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
David Reed ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Claudia Ricks ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Ermundo Russell ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Annette Sanders ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Zachary Sanders ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Ray Simpson ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Raymond Simpson ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Tamy Smith ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Renel Stafford ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Fred Stark ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Susan Stephenson ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Maeretha Stewart ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Grady Tate ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Jean Thomas ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Mariama Thomas ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Mia Thomas ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Duke Thorbs ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)

Alfonzo Thornton ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)

Luther Vandross ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Bill Walker ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Dawn Walker ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Joey Ward ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Brenda White ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Beurice Whitehead ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Kenny Williams ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)

Mollena Williams ... The Wiz Singers Children's Choir (voice) (uncredited)
Janet Wright ... The Wiz Singers Adult Choir (voice) (uncredited)

Directed by
Sidney Lumet 
 
Writing credits
L. Frank Baum (novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz")

William F. Brown (book of the musical "The Wiz")

Joel Schumacher (screenplay)

Produced by
Rob Cohen .... producer
Kenneth Harper .... executive producer (as Ken Harper)
Burtt Harris .... associate producer
Berry Gordy .... executive producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Charlie Smalls 
 
Cinematography by
Oswald Morris 
 
Film Editing by
Dede Allen 
 
Production Design by
Tony Walton 
 
Art Direction by
Philip Rosenberg 
 
Set Decoration by
Robert Drumheller 
Edward Stewart 
Justin Scoppa Jr. (uncredited)
 
Costume Design by
Tony Walton 
 
Makeup Department
Scott Cunningham .... makeup artist
William A. Farley .... hair stylist (as William Farley)
Carl Fullerton .... makeup artist
Robert Laden .... makeup supervisor
Ted Long .... hair stylist
Michael R. Thomas .... makeup artist
Allen Weisinger .... makeup artist
Stan Winston .... special makeup designer
 
Production Management
Kenneth Utt .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Burtt Harris .... first assistant director
Alan Hopkins .... second assistant director
Lewis Gould .... dga trainee (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Connie Brink .... property master
Glen Engels .... construction grip
Edward Garzero .... chief scenic artist
John Jay Moore .... assistant art director
Eugene Powell .... chief scenic artist
Carlos Quiles .... carpenter
Robert Shepherd .... sets and props
Eoin Sprott .... fantasy props
Richard Tautkus .... fantasy props
Walter Way .... construction chief
John Alvin .... poster artist (uncredited)
Jacques Godbout .... carpenter (uncredited)
Robert Hart .... construction coordinator (uncredited)
John Kasarda .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Lawrence Miller .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Dave Weinman .... lead man (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Stan Bochner .... sound editor
Guy Costa .... special sound consultant
Jack Fitzstephens .... supervising sound editor
Marc Laub .... sound editor (as Mark M. Laub)
Hal Levinsohn .... sound editor
Al Nahmias .... sound editor
Ronald Roose .... sound editor
James Sabat .... sound mixer (as James T. Sabat)
Dick Vorisek .... sound re-recording supervisor
Louis Cerborino .... sound editor (uncredited)
Ollie Cotton .... assistant sound engineer (uncredited)
Kevin Lee .... assistant sound editor (uncredited)
Dennis C. Salcedo .... optical sound recordist (uncredited)
Skip Saylor .... recording engineer: horns on "Ease on Down the Road" #1 (uncredited)
William S. Scharf .... assistant sound editor (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Al Griswold .... special effects
 
Visual Effects by
Dennis Glouner .... matte photographer
Bill Taylor .... matte photographer
Albert Whitlock .... special visual effects
Syd Dutton .... assistant matte painter (uncredited)
Henry Schoessler .... matte crew (uncredited)
Mark Whitlock .... matte camera loader (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Everett Creach .... stunt coordinator
Steve James .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
James A. Contner .... camera operator (as J.A. Contner)
Kenneth Goss .... key grip
Norman Leigh .... gaffer
Hank Muller .... first assistant camera
Jack Priestley .... photographer: second unit
Gary Muller .... co-first assistant camera (uncredited)
Lance Shepherd .... electrician (uncredited)
Tom Volpe .... grip (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Dona Granata .... assistant costume designer
Gloria Gresham .... costume coordinator
Anna Hill Johnstone .... costume coordinator
Barbara Matera .... principal costume execution
George Newman .... wardrober
Marilyn Putnam .... wardrober
 
Editorial Department
Angelo Corrao .... assistant film editor
Marlayna Franklin .... assistant film editor
Hal Levinsohn .... assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Mendel Balitz .... orchestrator
Chris Boardman .... orchestrator
Tom Bähler .... choir arranger (as Tom Bahler)
Ralph Ferraro .... orchestrator
Jack Fitzstephens .... supervising music editor
Bob Florence .... orchestrator
Bob Freedman .... orchestrator
Richard Hazard .... orchestrator (as Dick Hazard)
Quincy Jones .... associate conductor
Quincy Jones .... music arranger
Quincy Jones .... music supervisor
Quincy Jones .... orchestrator
Greig McRitchie .... orchestrator
Peter T. Myers .... orchestrator (as Pete Meyers)
Frank Owens .... associate conductor
Frank Owens .... music arranger: dance arrangements
Wayne Robinson .... orchestrator
Charlie Smalls .... music and lyrics by
Bruce Swedien .... music recording engineer
Robert N. Tucker Jr. .... conductor
Patti Austin .... choral coordinator (uncredited)
John Beal .... musician: bass (uncredited)
David Foster .... musician: keyboards (uncredited)
Steve Gadd .... musician: drums (uncredited)
Dave Grusin .... pre-record musician: keyboards (uncredited)
Jerry Hey .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Dick Hyman .... musician: keyboards (uncredited)
Anthony Jackson .... musician: bass (uncredited)
Grady Tate .... musician: drums (uncredited)
Toots Thielemans .... musician: harmonica (uncredited)
Jeffrey Wolf .... assistant music editor (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Raymond Hartwick .... transportation chief (as Ray Hartwick)
 
Other crew
Grace Blake .... production office coordinator
Robert F. Colesberry .... assistant production coordinator (as Robert Colesberry)
Peter Foy .... flying rigs
Sam Goldrich .... auditor
Kenneth Harper .... stage producer: New York (as Ken Harper)
Carlton Johnson .... assistant choreographer
Louis Johnson .... choreographer
Mabel Robinson .... assistant choreographer
Lynne Twentyman .... script supervisor (as Lynn T. Ward)
Aaron J. Baron .... technical coordinator (uncredited)
Saul Cooper .... unit publicist (uncredited)
P. Larry Dahlstrom .... technical engineer (uncredited)
Bernie Grundman .... original mastering (uncredited)
Peter Maiorino .... technician (uncredited)
Mitchell Plotkin .... technician (uncredited)
Tom Razzano .... location manager (uncredited)
Lynda Van Damm .... assistant production accountant (uncredited)
George Walker .... technician (uncredited)
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
134 min | Finland:136 min (uncut version) | Finland:118 min (cut version) | UK:128 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Dolby (35 mm prints) | 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Finland:S (heavily cut) (1980) | Finland:K-12 (uncut) (1979) | Netherlands:AL | Netherlands:6 (new rating) | Peru:PT | Singapore:PG | Sweden:11 | UK:U | USA:G | West Germany:6

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Simultaneously with the release of the film, Congoleum, the flooring company that designed the look of the Yellow Brick Road for the film, also marketed the same design (also called Yellow Brick Road) for home use.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: During the dance scene after Evillene meets her demise, the sweat stains under Dorothy's arms appear and disappear.See more »
Quotes:
Scarecrow:I'll think about you all the time, Dorothy!
Tinman:And I'll miss you... every day. Even if I had to go back to that junk pile... even as teeny's seat cushion... I wouldn't mind... because I have known... real love.
[cries]
Dorothy:Aww... don't rust yourself now.
[wipes away the tears]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "Jeopardy!: Episode #26.129" (2010)See more »
Soundtrack:
What Would I Do If I Could Feel?See more »

FAQ

Who is the choreographer?
See more »
84 out of 137 people found the following review useful.
Sleaze on down the road..., 17 September 2004
Author: Merwyn Grote (majikstl@aol.com) from St. Louis, Missouri

THE WIZ is a bad movie. It is a very bad movie. It is an extremely very bad movie.

To watch it is to be infuriated by just how much potential it has and how far it falls from even vaguely achieving success. A black, urban version of "The Wizard of Oz" is an intriguing idea. The musical score is okay and at least three of the songs are better than average. The budget was obviously substantial and a lot of effort was put into transforming New York City into Munchkinland, the Emerald City and points in between. But rather than being in awe of the spectacle, one is more likely to stare in disbelief and ask "What were they thinking?"

Sidney Lumet, a fine director noted for making small, dark and often depressing dramas (12 ANGRY MEN, FAIL-SAFE, THE PAWNBROKER, etc.), seems ill-prepared to make a big budget musical based on a series of children's books -- and, unfortunately, he proves it. I don't think he makes a single intelligent directorial decision in this entire film: the lighting is gloomy, camera placement consistently ineffective and the editing clumsy. His choice of soft, grainy imagery over crisp, clear pictures makes the atmosphere oppressive. The set design, art direction and costuming, while impressive, still look numbingly cheap and tawdry. Scenes filmed on location at New York landmarks look like they take place on cramped soundstages. The film is just plain ugly to watch.

Worse, Lumet seems to have directed the actors to perform in a soap opera style that is embarrassingly overwrought: the prevailing mood is of whining self-pity. Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell and Ted Ross get in a few good moments as The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodsman and The Cowardly Lion, but there is not a single honest moment to be found in the performance by Diana Ross. To accommodate Ross, six-year-old Dorothy from the book (played as 13 by 16-year-old Judy Garland in THE WIZARD OF OZ), now is a 24-year-old Harlem kindergarten teacher. At 34-years-old, Ross looks more like she is pushing 50, yet displays the emotional maturity of a three-year-old.

Ross' miscasting is legendary, but her inappropriateness for the role pales in comparison to her actual performance. In rewriting the story for Ross, Joel Schumacher's screenplay changes Dorothy from being a winsome, wide-eyed child to an emotionally unstable adult. In Ross' dubious hands the character seems both mentally and emotionally retarded, yet she somehow manages to avoid making the character in any way sympathetic. Strident, always on the verge of hysterics, it is, simply put, one of the all time worst screen performances.

Richard Pryor fares little better. Instead of the lovable charlatan played by Frank Morgan in the 1939 version of the story, the Wizard is now a cowering little fraud, devoid of wit or charm. Why hire Pryor, known for his bravado and cocky attitude, then make him play against type? The filmmakers decided that this Wizard did not just have to be exposed as an illusion, but had to be humiliated and degraded as well. The scenes where Dorothy confronts and belittles The Wiz illustrate the mean-spirited cruelty that permeates the entire film.

The most curious aspect of THE WIZ is trying to decipher just who it was intended for. Obviously, the material was meant to appeal to children, thus it's strangely inappropriate "G" rating; yet the mystical, magical land of good and evil from earlier versions is transformed into a foreboding world of terror and despair. Oz seems to be an extended slum, populated by the homeless, vandals, hookers, bookies, druggies, various street people and gangs; while the Emerald City is a superficial place for shallow, pretentious phonies. While the tone of the film is juvenile -- almost infantile -- it all takes place in a seedy adult world that is almost prurient.

THE WIZ doesn't just avoid childlike innocence, it seems to hold it in contempt. Garland's Oz was basically a beautiful place where evil could be conquered with intellect, compassion, courage and the security of family and friends. The Oz that Ross treks through is basically an evil place; the message she learns is that the world stinks, so stop your whining and get used to it. The "there's no place like home" moral remains intact, but that has little meaning if the alternative -- Oz -- is seen as corrupt and evil.

In THE WIZARD OF OZ, Dorothy's Oz is a dream world version of her own life; the Witch, the Wizard and her traveling companions all have human counterparts. This makes the 1939 film a personal story. In THE WIZ, there is no apparent correlation between Oz and Dorothy's seemingly isolated home life, the people of Oz and Dorothy's family have no counterparts. Garland's Dorothy escapes to Oz, but realizes the best part of Oz is already part of her. Ross' Dorothy fears Oz and ultimately escapes from it. The inner dream world of Oz becomes an alien world of media-generated stereotypes. THE WIZARD OF OZ is a fantasy; THE WIZ is a horror story.

Obviously reworking the basic story to accommodate an all-black cast wasn't done just to utilize a different style of music. As such, the film becomes a showcase for a panorama of African-American stereotypes, many of them negative. But rather than debunking racist clichés, the film embraces them. Sleep inducing poppy fields are replaced with opium dens, witches become sweatshop slave drivers, flying monkeys are gang members, Munchkins are graffiti vandals and so on and so forth. As adult satire, such imagery is understandable, if lame, but the film forgets this is still a story specifically aimed at children. Just as the film was rewritten from the play to accommodate the adult Ross, the material is altered from L. Frank Baum's books to make it adult, but not mature. It seems to be the film's conviction that to tell the story from a black perspective it must embrace a grim urban reality, basically saying that childlike innocence cannot exist because urban living, especially for a black audience, has destroyed such a concept. A sad commentary for a children's fantasy and an even sadder assumption about African-American life.

The irony of THE WIZ is that it is ill-conceived, cheaply melodramatic and relies on trite stereotypes; in other words, it has no brain, no heart and no courage. And ultimately it found no home, being a box office flop. And what could have been a breakthrough landmark in cinema ends up being a sad relic of political incorrectness.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (141 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Wiz (1978)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Why aren't the Silver Slippers in The Smithsonian? florlite
Strange.... ajajaj315
Does this bother anyone else? lilcharmer
Should have used some white actors/actresses! sealug
Weird ending VValkyrie
Don't nobody bring me no bad news=best villain song ever! EmilyTheDramaQueen
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
The Wizard of Oz The Sorcerer's Apprentice Return to Oz The Producers King Kong
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Adventure section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.