The Wizard of Oz

Critics Consensus

An absolute masterpiece whose groundbreaking visuals and deft storytelling are still every bit as resonant, The Wizard of Oz is a must-see film for young and old.



Total Count: 115


Audience Score

User Ratings: 875,845
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Movie Info

L. Frank Baum's classic tale comes to magisterial Technicolor life! The Wizard of Oz stars legendary Judy Garland as Dorothy, an innocent farm girl whisked out of her mundane earthbound existence into a land of pure imagination. Dorothy's journey in Oz will take her through emerald forests, yellow brick roads, and creepy castles, all with the help of some unusual but earnest song-happy friends.

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Judy Garland
as Dorothy Gale
Ray Bolger
as Scarecrow/Hunk
Jack Haley
as Tin Woodman/Hickory
Bert Lahr
as Cowardly Lion/Zeke
Margaret Hamilton
as Wicked Witch/Miss Gulch
Billie Burke
as Glinda the Good Witch
Charley Grapewin
as Uncle Henry
Clara Blandick
as Auntie Em
Lee Murray
as Winged Monkey
George Ministeri
as Coach Driver
Harry Monty
as Winged Monkey/Munchkin
Harlan Briggs
as Uncle Henry's Double
Jerry Maren
as Guild Leader
Yvonne Moray
as League Dancer
Billy Bletcher
as Mayor/Lollypop Guild
Pinto Colvig
as Munchkin
Billy Curtis
as City Father
Major Doyle
as Munchkin (uncredited)
Daisy Earles
as Munchkin Villager
Harry Earles
as Guild Singer
Buddy Ebsen
as Tin Woodman on "We're Off to See the Wizard"
Lois January
as Cat Owner
Mitchell Lewis
as Head Winkie
Walter Miller
as Bespectacled Munchkin
Frank Packard
as Munchkin (uncredited)
Lillian Porter
as Munchkin (uncredited)
Jimmy Rosen
as Munchkin (uncredited)
as Toto
Carol Tevis
as Munchkin
Gus Wayne
as Munchkin
Abe Dinovitch
as Munchkin
Meinhardt Raabe
as Munchkin Coroner
Karl Slover
as Munchkin
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News & Interviews for The Wizard of Oz

Critic Reviews for The Wizard of Oz

All Critics (115) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (113) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for The Wizard of Oz

  • Feb 27, 2016
    Beautiful, memorable and overall a fun journey! The Wizard of Oz in my opinion is the best family film and is a magically fun time!
    Mr N Super Reviewer
  • Nov 09, 2015
    A classic of cinema, with a broadway musical brought to the big screen in colour. Full of memorable songs and unforgettable scenes. The new 3D presentation brings the black & white scenes to life, whilst some of the colour scenes, particularly the wider shots, are too soft, but mostly it's excellent.
    Ross C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 15, 2014
    One of the rare classics that has actually managed to achieve the coveted status of being impervious to criticism . . . although, I get the sense that anyone who wants to nitpick the film or even openly hate it is only doing so to draw attention to themselves. Its pure magic from start to finish. I could watch it a thousand times and still be filled with pure, unadulterated joy each time.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 13, 2013
    We're off to see the wizard, the adequately entertaining, but somewhat dated and narratively thin 'Wizard of Oz'!" Yeah, they might be giving this film a bit more credit than it deserves just for being old, as well as innovative for its time, even when it comes to tone, because, let me tell you, when I was a kid, even I got kind of freaked out by the flying monkeys, and in 1939, I bet that they left the grown men stuttering like the Cowardly Lion for the next couple Judy Garland films, though that may have just been Garland's legs after she got good and grown up. It's good that she had that going for her after this film, because she was cuter at 16, and if you think that that's kind of weird to say, this film is so old that I think that it came out at a time when 16-year-olds were already married, with children, and a place in the Senate of the Roman Empire or something. No, this film can't possibly be that terribly old, because I had always figured that the '60s was the best time to get the type of dope which just had to have gone into this film, or at least into the minds of this film's viewers back in 1939. Man, this trippy flick has always been mighty popular, and I'm betting Victor Fleming was glad of that, because if I'm going to make time to knock something the same year I did "Gone with the Wind", I better get paid back well. Man, forget Fleming, this film and "Gone with the Wind" bled Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer dry, so if they didn't succeed, Fleming would have his life to worry about more than his money (He made this film and "Gone with the Wind" in one year, so it's not like he had all that much time to spend on having a life). Well, lucky for MGM, 1939 was anything but the year they saw flop, because this film and its fellow Fleming flick were quite the hit, though that's not to say that this film comes close to the level of "Gone with the Wind", being held back by a number of factors. A late 1930s family fluff piece, this film has, of course, dated quite a bit over the years, though it couldn't have been entirely cleansed of cheesiness at the time of its release, and it's certainly not cleansed of corniness now, as its lighter moments get to be too fluffy for their own good, sometimes to a slightly annoying extent, and when it comes to the deeper areas of this film's substance, it's also dated, with no subtlety and only so much weight. Sure, I wouldn't have expected too much from this film back in '39, so I'm certainly not asking for all that much depth to this classic fluff flick, but it's all so very superficial, and all too often to a cheesy extent which challenges your investment about as much as dating within pacing sensibilities. At just over 100 minutes, the film is both rather short on a general level, as well as longer than it probably should be, and you are reminded of this by a certain unevenness in pacing, whose more hurried moments slam-bang exposition, and whose less swift areas get to be a bit carried away in repetitious padding. Really, pacing inconsistency isn't a terribly big problem, or at least the slow spells are not nearly as frequent as the hurried spells, but it still stands, messing with the momentum of the film's focus until you end up with plotting that kind of takes longer than it probably should to tell a story so simple. Again, pacing issues aren't considerable, and while cheesiness is, it's a bit easier to forgive, considering the fact that this fluff piece was done quite a while back, so as far as consequential shortcomings are concerned, not much is wrong with this film, which is still kind of underwhelming, largely thanks to natural shortcomings, because as much fun as this tale may be, there's nothing much to it. This classic fluff piece really is not much more than a classic fluff piece, and that's fine and all, as it makes for some pretty entertaining classic cinema, but at the end of the day, without its historical significance and fair deal of still-memorable strength, there wouldn't be too much to remember within this somewhat cheesy, uneven and limited piece of fantasy fare. That being said, even without taking its historical significance into consideration, this film is an enjoyable one, whose shortcomings are undeniable, but challenged enough by aspects which were groundbreaking at the time and are still impressive now, with musical aspects being particularly strong against the test of time. By no means was Herbert Stothart's score especially groundbreaking at the time, or especially outstanding, but to this day it is undeniably quite strong, with a classical tastefulness and color which flavor up entertainment value, especially when bonded with sharp lyrics by Harold Arlen and lively vocals in order to produce one delightful musical number after a while. Whether when it's complimenting tone with tasteful score work or flavoring up the fun factor with justly legendary songs, the musical aspects cannot be taken away from this film, bringing life to its world every bit as much as Cedric Gibbons', George Gibson's, Wade B. Rubottom's and Elmer Sheeley's art direction, which certainly raises a standard, for although some of the film's designs have become dated, whether they be production designs by Malcolm Brown, William A. Horning and Jack Martin Smith, or costume designs by Adrian, the components into the making of this film's distinct world still hold up as colorfully intricate and eminently memorable, especially when their beauty is really fleshed out by Harold Rosson's cinematography. Needless to say, Rosson's efforts have become quite dated over the years, but you have appreciate them for their uniqueness for the time, and for their still being quite impressive on the whole, with a handsomely grainy bronze tone to the first act that often resembles some kind of a tastefully done old photography, while the Technicolor-charged body of the film bounces the rich depths of color in a striking way that is still eye-catching to this day. Technically and stylistically, the film hasn't made it through the test of time spotless, but the visuals which do a lot to drive this fluff piece remain nothing short of remarkable, and you just cannot see this film without them, partially because the film doesn't have too much going for it when it comes to substance. The film may be stylistically strong, but it has only so much to offer when it comes to story weight, and even then, this timeless tale is by no means terribly unengaging, because it's so distinctly unique, as well as colorful at its core, particularly when it comes to presenting exceptionally memorable characters, brought to life by colorful performances, many of which have become rather dated as kind of hammy, but not so much so that you can't see the charm within most every member of this cast, especially show-stealingly delightful secondary leads Ray Bolger, Jack Haley and, last but not at all least, Bert Lahr. A young Judy Garland is fine and all, but Bolger's, Haley's and Lahr's color do more than you'd expect in bringing this fun flick to life, and yet, the performance that really drives the entertainment value of this fluff piece is a certain offscreen one by Victor Fleming, whose boastful atmosphere does thin subtlety no favors, but also adds much to the kick of tonal heights in storytelling, while keeping consistent in thorough entertainment value. No matter what the nostalgic critics may say, you shouldn't expect much from this film, and sure enough, the final product doesn't offer all that much reward value, but it does offer much entertainment value, anchored by heartfelt storytelling, flavored up by a colorful style, and ultimately abundant enough to make a very fun, if flawed fluff classic. When it's time to go the way of Elton John and bid goodbye to the Yellow Brick Road, underwhelmingness stands supported by cheesy dating, pacing unevenness and, worst of all, a thinness in subject matter weight which is considerable enough for the final product to fall quite a ways short of truly rewarding, and yet, through a delightful soundtrack, exceptional art direction, lively cinematography and an at least colorful story concept, brought to life about as much as it can by charismatic performances - particularly from Ray Bolger, Jack Haley and Bert Lahr - and upbeat directorial storytelling, Victor Fleming's "The Wizard of Oz" is left to stand as an improvable, but fun fluff piece of cinema's golden age. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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