Dorothy is swept away from her Kansas home and into the magical world
of Oz, where she must find the mysterious wizard who can send her back.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Directed by Victor Fleming
Written by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf
Starring Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr,
Jack Haley, Margaret Hamilton, Billie Burke
Based on the novel by L. Frank Baum
Oscar Wins - Best Original Song (Over the Rainbow),
Best Original Score (Herbert Stothart)
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Cinematography,
Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects
The Wizard of Oz is a film that never should've worked, what with rampant production problems and multiple directors getting fired. Yet, it has since become one of the most influential and celebrated cinematic achievements of all time. Very few people have not been touched by this film in one way or another, be it by their parents or their grandparents. It's timeless and remarkably still holds up after 80 years. Judy Garland's performance is still enjoyable and grounded, and the supporting characters are all wondrous, as is the magical fantasy world of Oz.
Garland plays young Dorothy Gale, who finds herself swept up in a tornado that transports her from her modest Kansas homestead to a magical fantasy land called Oz. She accidentally squashes a witch with her house, leading to a confrontation with the witch's sister, the evil Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton). Dorothy is sent by Glinda the Good Witch (Billie Burke) to follow the Yellow Brick Road and seek the help of the Wizard of Oz (Frank Morgan), who can help Dorothy get home. Along the way, she befriends the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Tin Man (Jack Haley), and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr). It's the friendships and the whimsy that have kept this film alive for so many years, and the message of home being wherever you feel your happiest has remained as important as ever.
The Wizard of Oz has been in our hearts for nearly a century, and it has deserved every bit of praise it's ever received. It's full of iconic moments and lines, and the catchy songs stick in your head for days on end. Trust me, I know. It started the career of Judy Garland and gave children everywhere a fantasy adventure built around messages of friendship, family, heroism, and plain old-fashioned happiness. What's not to love about it?