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The Wiz (1978)

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

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

L. Frank Baum (novel), William F. Brown (book) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,877 ( 95)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Thelma Carpenter ... Miss One
Lena Horne ... Glinda the Good
Richard Pryor ... The Wiz (Herman Smith)
Stanley Greene Stanley Greene ... Uncle Henry
Clyde J. Barrett Clyde J. Barrett ... Subway Peddler
Derrick Bell Derrick Bell ... The Four Crows
Roderick-Spencer Sibert Roderick-Spencer Sibert ... The Four Crows
Kashka Banjoko Kashka Banjoko ... The Four Crows
Ronald 'Smokey' Stevens Ronald 'Smokey' Stevens ... The Four Crows
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 October 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wiz See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$24,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$21,049,053
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Sidney Lumet's only musical. See more »

Goofs

In the subway, the Tin Man gets electrocuted by 2 wires snaking out of a fuse box. But he begins to react to them before they even touch his head. See more »

Quotes

Dorothy: [Attempting to make the Tinman cry] Quick! Find a really sad saying!
Scarecrow: [Reaches into his hair and pulls out a piece of paper] Uh... showers this morning, clearing by tonight!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Features Mackenna's Gold (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

If You Believe In Yourself (Dorothy)
Written by Charlie Smalls
Performed by Diana Ross
See more »

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User Reviews

 
a favorite childhood movie of mine
26 July 2005 | by mejozaSee all my reviews

...And favorites don't always have rhyme or reason. I can just say that this movie always struck a chord with me. I know that it is dark. I agree that Diana Ross's acting is overwrought with some unknown neurosis. But the music is soulful and the vocal performances make me cry every time. The urban setting (in contrast to the farm that never "clicked" with me) is almost comforting, though not in the parking garage. I agree with the more intellectual reviewers that Lumet's direction could have been better. I'm just a sucker for the gospel-style singing in "the feeling that we have", "believe", and "brand new day". I find this movie much more of an emotional release than the Wizard of Oz.


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