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220 user 68 critic

Return to Oz (1985)

Dorothy, saved from a psychiatric experiment by a mysterious girl, is somehow called back to Oz when a vain witch and the Nome King destroy everything that makes the magical land beautiful.

Director:

Walter Murch

Writers:

Walter Murch (screenplay), Gill Dennis (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
2,096 ( 260)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fairuza Balk ... Dorothy
Nicol Williamson ... Dr. Worley / Nome King
Jean Marsh ... Nurse Wilson / Mombi
Piper Laurie ... Aunt Em
Matt Clark ... Uncle Henry
Michael Sundin ... Tik-Tok
Tim Rose ... Tik-Tok
Sean Barrett Sean Barrett ... Tik-Tok (voice)
Mak Wilson ... Billina
Denise Bryer Denise Bryer ... Billina (voice)
Brian Henson ... Jack Pumpkinhead (voice)
Stewart Harvey-Wilson Stewart Harvey-Wilson ... Jack Pumpkinhead (as Stewart Larange)
Lyle Conway ... Gump (voice)
Stephen Norrington ... Gump (as Steve Norrington)
Justin Case ... Scarecrow
Edit

Storyline

Dorothy Gale has recently come home to Kansas from the Land of Oz and is now almost back to perfect health since the incident of the tornado, only she cannot get that wonderful place out of her head. She frequently talks about it and cannot get any sleep at night. Aunt Em worries about her health/well-being. Thinking that she is suffering delusional depression and acute insomnia, she decides to take her to see a special doctor in another town. While he tries to treat her with electro-shock treatment and take those nasty dreams away from her head, she is rescued by a mysterious girl who leads her back to Oz for a new adventure. Written by Nichola McDougall

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An all-new adventure down the yellow brick road. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 June 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Oz See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,844,895, 23 June 1985

Gross USA:

$11,137,801

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,137,801
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

To create the stop-motion puppets of the nomes, Nicol Williamson and Pons Maar were photographed against a background grid. Will Vinton (of "Claymation" fame) then watched the footage frame by frame and manipulated the puppets based on the movements and expressions of the actors. See more »

Goofs

When interrogating the lead wheeler, Tik-Tok claims that been a machine he cannot be sorry or happy; yet at the Nome king's mountain he sheds tears suggesting he is capable of emotion. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Aunt Em: Can't you sleep?
[Dorothy shakes her head]
Aunt Em: It's past 1:00 in the morning, Dorothy.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A bootleg of a longer "Work-In-Progress" version has circulated among fans. The difference between this and the released theatrical cut as follows: -There is no musical score, except during the climactic scene in the Ornament Room. -Aunt Em's role is slightly longer and more sympathetic. When telling Dorothy it's past one in the morning, she gently pretends to "paint Dorothy's face." Later she comments that Uncle Henry's leg is really mended but his spirit is broken. -Uncle Henry and the newspaper clipping of Dr. Worley do not appear at the beginning. Instead we see an alternate scene with a different clipping about Dorothy surviving the tornado. -When Dorothy and Aunt Em arrive at the clinic, they are greeted by Nurse Wilson and Dr. Worley, who mistakenly calls her "Dottie." -Ozma's voice is different, revealing she was dubbed in the finished film. -Ozma and Dorothy run through the house a bit more before being seen by Nurse Wilson. -When Dorothy and Billina first come to Oz, several times a blue screen and sound stage can be seen in the background, as visual effects had not yet been completed. Also Billina, Tik Tok, and The Gump all have different voices, but Jack Pumpkinhead's remains the same. -There are NO visual effects for the scene when the Nome Messenger first alerts the Nome King of Dorothy's return; it is simply a shot of Pons Maar making faces as he reads the line, and Nicol William's offscreen (and unaltered) voice responding. Strangely enough, for the second scene, when the Nome Messenger says she's on her way to the Emerald City, the claymation HAS been finished, but Williamson's voice is still unaltered. -Ozma's ghostly figure in Mombi's house does not appear, so when Mombi says: "There's no one left who even remembers who you are" she is talking to no one. -The scene of our heroes landing on the Nome King's mountain is extended. Jack, unaware that his head's on upside down, continues to comment about how the sky is beneath the land. As Dorothy goes to fix him, Billina remembers how the Nome King seems to hate chickens, and Dorothy wonders what to do with her. This explains why it is that Billina is hiding inside Jack's head in the next scene. -The following scene of the Nome Messenger and the Nome King again features no claymation of any kind, and Williamson's voice is unaltered, which continues in the next scene when the claymation face appears on the outside of the mountain. -When the Wheelers return to Mombi's palace, there is a longer scene of her realizing that Dorothy has gone to the Nome King's mountain, and then of her beating the Wheelers and leading them to her underground tunnel, which we later see her traveling in. -The scene of Dorothy eating the rock cakes is extended, and she pretends to offer some to Jack, but is really feeding Billina inside his head. -When Tik Tok is restored, he greets the Scarecrow "Your Majesty" before telling Dorothy his thinking must have run down. -The most notable extended scene is the celebration in the Emerald City. The victory march is extended and more characters can be seen. Just as Dorothy is about to re-crown the Scarecrow, he comments that being king is too difficult for him, and instead the characters rally Dorothy to be their queen (the Tin Man actually speaks during this scene). Dorothy explains she could never leave her family in Kansas, and comments that Toto always believed her story. Ozma then appears (music plays over this scene which is different from the finished film, and the mirror effect is not completed). -After being reunited with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, the Constable (played by Bruce Boaw) on horse buggy rides by and is happy that Dorothy's been found, but asks about "the other one" (presumably Ozma). Uncle Henry and Aunt Em comment she hasn't been found and so the search will continue upriver. As the buggy drives off is when Dorothy sees Nurse Wilson incarcerated in the back. -There are no credits, so the final shot of Dorothy playing with Toto on the farm goes on for about a minute. See more »

Connections

References Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
An undeservedly maligned fantasy treasure
15 August 2001 | by La GremlinSee all my reviews

To truly understand and appreciate "Return to OZ", you've got to know two things.

First off, this is NOT a follow-up to the classic MGM movie. This can't be emphasized enough. It is actually a synthesis of the first five or so sequels to the BOOK. (This isn't a dig at the movie, mind you. If you don't like it on some level or other, you can't be human. It's just that the movie was based on the book in the respect that the characters in the movie had the same names as the characters in the book.)

Secondly, L. Frank Baum's original, printed-page OZ is, quite possibly, the most messed up imaginary universe ever created. There's a land of beings who throw their own heads at you as weapons. There's a land of sentient vegetables who raise *people* in their gardens (think "Motel Hell" and you've got the idea). To top it all off, it turns out that Dorothy's buddies are really good at killing things; in particular the dear, heartless Tin Man who bloodies up his hatchet with unsettling apathy.

What I'm trying to get at here is that "Return to OZ" is an OZ movie that is much more faithful to the books. Much more "THIS is how long you have to be alive!" than "We represent the Lullaby League". I think it goes without saying that you'd be legally insane to show it to little kids, but fantasy fans, OZ enthusiasts, and fans of cult movies should hunt it down as soon as possible.

By the way, please note that the old-school herky-jerky puppets and claymation monsters in this movie are scary as all get out. Compare this to the awful remake of "the Haunting" with it's stupid cartoonish CGI creatures (and this isn't a dig at computer animation, but since the technique is inheritely realist, it's not scary). There is a lesson here.


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