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The Wizard of Oz (1939)

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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 in Kansas and help her friends as well.

Directors:

, (uncredited) | 3 more credits »

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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741 ( 28)
Top Rated Movies #232 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Pat Walshe ...
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Toto (as Toto)
The Singer Midgets ...
The Munchkins (as The Munchkins)
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Storyline

In this charming film based on the popular L. Frank Baum stories, Dorothy and her dog Toto are caught in a tornado's path and somehow end up in the land of Oz. Here she meets some memorable friends and foes in her journey to meet the Wizard of Oz who everyone says can help her return home and possibly grant her new friends their goals of a brain, heart and courage. Written by Dale Roloff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

We're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful [Wizard of Oz]! (UK release) See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some scary moments | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 August 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mago de Oz  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,354,311, 8 November 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$22,202,612, 13 October 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

(Kansas sequences) (1949 re-release)| (Kansas sequences) (1955 re-release)| (Sepiatone)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Voted #10 in Channel 4's (UK) "Greatest Family Films." See more »

Goofs

When the Witch captures Dorothy in her castle, there is a brief moment where you can see that part of her neck is white, not green. 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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits say "Photographed in Technicolor", not "Color Sequences by Technicolor", thus making it seem as if the entire film were made in color. It is not known if this was deliberately done to enhance the surprise when the picture turns into full three-strip Technicolor, but it is quite possible. Posters at the time also advertised the film as being in Technicolor, but made no mention of sepia tint or black-and-white. The advertisement for the film's first telecast, however, did say "in color and black-and-white" (the Kansas sequences were shown on TV in black-and-white, not sepia, until the 1990 telecast, when they were restored). See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.104 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Scherzo in E-Minor, Op. 16, No. 2
(1829) (uncredited)
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played by The MGM Symphony Orchestra conducted by Herbert Stothart
Heard as background music during the scene in which Toto escapes from the Witch's castle and runs to fetch Dorothy's three friends
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A true cinematic milestone
7 May 2006 | by See all my reviews

Where to begin? MGM's elaborate adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1900 fantasy classic THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ not only became an institution among itself (and practically defined the concept of modern popular culture), but is reported to be the most viewed film ever made. A sharp screenplay effectively condenses the novel's text into a workable film, and director Victor Fleming (along with countless other behind-the-scenes technicians) craft a visually stimulating fantasy world that surpasses the expectations of even the most imaginative viewers. Brimming with stunning visual effects (the film's fierce tornado is an FX feat that has yet to be surpassed by CGI), witty dialogue, and eye-popping Technicolor, THE WIZARD OF OZ truly lives up to it's reputation as a once-in-a-lifetime film where every element comes together flawlessly.

The cast could not be improved upon. The quivery-voiced, solemn-faced Judy Garland will always be Dorothy, the little lost farm girl on the road to Oz, clutching her beloved Toto (impressively portrayed himself by the female canine performer Terry, the terrier). It seems inconceivable that MGM had originally wished to cast Shirley Temple in the role, as Temple's doe-eyed, cutesy-voiced shtick would have been a catastrophic ill-fit for the tone of this picture. Conversely, Garland is perhaps the screen's quintessential woman/child; always seemingly just one step away from reaching full emotional maturity. It is her sadness that transfixes viewers to the screen, the exact same quality that made the film's most memorable Harold Arlen/E. Y. Harburg number "Over the Rainbow" into one of the most exquisite marriages between artist and song ever to be recorded.

The remainder of the cast is similarly exceptional, many of whom perform perfectly even under the most debilitating make-up and costumes. Frank Morgan is marvelously versatile in no less than five roles, the insanely energetic Bert Lahr mugs brilliantly, the handsome Jack Haley swoons sweetly, Billie Burke lends the film an ornate ethereality, and Ray Bolger's gravity-defying physical presence nearly steals the entire picture on several occasions. Perhaps most notable is former schoolteacher Margaret Hamilton's transformation into the wickedest of wicked witches, which certainly remains among the vilest and most terrifying portrayals of full-throttle evil ever to be seen. No matter how it is analyzed, scrutinized, or satirized, the 1939 production of THE WIZARD OF OZ is a top-notch example of how to turn a great story into a fabulous, milestone of a film.


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