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The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Trailer
2:20 | Trailer
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 to Kansas and help her friends as well.

Directors:

Victor Fleming, George Cukor (uncredited) | 4 more credits »

Writers:

Noel Langley (screenplay), Florence Ryerson (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
525 ( 42)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Judy Garland ... Dorothy
Frank Morgan ... Professor Marvel / The Wizard of Oz / The Gatekeeper / The Carriage Driver / The Guard
Ray Bolger ... 'Hunk' / The Scarecrow
Bert Lahr ... 'Zeke' / The Cowardly Lion
Jack Haley ... 'Hickory' / The Tin Man
Billie Burke ... Glinda
Margaret Hamilton ... Miss Gulch / The Wicked Witch of the West
Charley Grapewin ... Uncle Henry
Pat Walshe Pat Walshe ... Nikko
Clara Blandick ... Auntie Em
Terry ... Toto (as Toto)
The Singer Midgets ... The Munchkins (as The Munchkins)
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Storyline

When a tornado rips through Kansas, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to the magical land of Oz. They follow the Yellow Brick Road toward the Emerald City to meet the Wizard, and en route they meet a Scarecrow that needs a brain, a Tin Man missing a heart, and a Cowardly Lion who wants courage. The wizard asks the group to bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West to earn his help. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Mighty Miracle Show That Is the Talk of America! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some scary moments | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "steam" that shoots out of the Tin Woodsman's hat is actually talcum powder. This is obvious since it falls rather than just disappearing. See more »

Goofs

After escaping from Miss Gulch's basket, Toto returns to Dorothy's room in her Kansas house by jumping through the rectangular opening where there should be a window pane. Soon after, the twister blows out the window (that wasn't there when Toto came back) and knocks Dorothy unconscious. 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

As in some other M-G-M musicals of the '30's and '40's, the heading "Musical Program" appears at the top of the card listing all the music credits (arranger, composer, lyricist, conductor, choreographer, and so on). See more »

Alternate Versions

The opening credits were very slightly changed for the 1949 theatrical re-release - watch for the revised MPAA logo, as well as the IATSE logo. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 20 Most Paused Movie Moments (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

We're Off To See The Wizard
(1939) (uncredited)
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Music by Harold Arlen
Sung by Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, and the off-screen voice of Buddy Ebsen as the Tin Man
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User Reviews

A Wiz of a film, if ever a Wiz there was
11 August 2003 | by DonFLSee all my reviews

The NBC Peacock began unfolding its wings. "The following program is brought to you in living color--with portions in black & white--on NBC." That exclusive intro began my exposure to color television at Grandma's in 1968. When Dorothy stepped out into Technicolor, I'll bet my eyes just popped.

This is the Movie of All Time, folks--a status achieved during its long run as a huge annual TV event during that classic era whose programs now show up on TV Land network. In the 1970s, Peter Marshall once read the answer on Hollywood Squares as to the program seen more times by more people than anything else ever shown on television. It was "Oz." Likewise, no movie has the hold on popular culture that this one does. What lion character ever since (i.e., Snagglepuss) hasn't been an impersonation of Bert Lahr going, "Put 'em up, put 'em uuuuup!"

Few musicals offer an equal combination of lovable music and engaging story. Perhaps "The Sound of Music." Hard to think of many Hollywood musicals where the story gets as serious as it does here when the Witch informs Dorothy that, "The last to go will see the first three go before her...and her mangy little dog too!" Yikes! In contrast, even the best of other Hollywood musicals seem to serve up fluffy, forgettable story lines that are mere backdrop to the song numbers that typically put the plot on hold.

I can't say that "Oz" doesn't have technical flaws or story element inconsistencies. It's just that the astonishing production values all around so overwhelm the shortcomings. The tornado sequence is a 1939 special effects tour de force--incredible. And the Nutcracker-quality musical score offers songs tastefully interwoven with the action. Certain numbers like "Merry Old Land of Oz," I never get tired off, though I like each of the songs.

Oz should be viewed in the lightness of spirit that it deserves. I mean look, we have Frank Morgan as the Emerald City gatekeeper, then seconds later as the cabbie with the Horse of a Different Color, then the Wizard's palace guard, and then the voice of fire-and-smoke Wizard of Oz who bellows, "Step forward, Tin Man!" What other film could put an actor go through 4 quick-changes within 10 minutes to such an endearing result? "Oz" is as magic as those sparkling ruby shoes.

The early Technicolor process utilized triple nitrate negative strips--separately recording each primary color in light. This was done due to the lack of a suitable "color film" in 1939. That would quickly change--but films from years following suffered from hues that faded with the years, even original negatives. Because "Oz" was actually filmed on a black-and-white base film, the negatives never faded. So now we have home videos/DVDs of breathtaking color quality. Now, the tinted filters in the cameras that separated the colors onto the negative strips meant that intense illumination was required, rendering the filming experience miserably hot for the actors involved, especially Lahr. But they all hold up amazingly well.

"Oz" has a valuable message. As the pop group America once said, "No, Oz never did give nothin' to the Tin Man....that he didn't, didn't already have." If we have truly search, we can find within us--or create through trial, like the Lion's courage--what we think we most lack. The Wizard (like the Lord) helps those who find help within themselves.

I feel sorry for the Almira Gulches who can't treasure this film experience. They need to visit the Emerald City to get their own ticking Testimonials and find their hearts.

Didn't bring your broomsticks with you? Well, I'm afraid you'll have to walk.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 August 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wizard of Oz See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,777,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,354,311, 8 November 1998

Gross USA:

$24,790,250

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$26,142,032
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Black and White (Kansas sequences) (1949 re-release)| Black and White (Kansas sequences) (1955 re-release)| Color (35mm)| Color (YouTube)| Black and White (Sepiatone) (YouTube)| Black and White (Sepiatone)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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