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The Wizard of Oz Film Review

Updated on August 1, 2017

Dorothy, the tin man, scarecrow and cowardly lion


Main Cast

The actor
The character
Judy Garland
Dorothy Gayle
Jack Haley
Ray Boiger
Frank Morgan
Professor Marvel/The Wizard/Cabbie/Doorman/Guard
Bert Lahr
Zeke/The Cowardly Lion
Margaret Hamilton
Almira Gulth/Wicked Witch of the East
Billie Burke
Glinda/Good Witch of the North

The Wizard of Oz Plot.

Released: 1939

Running time: 98 minutes approx

Genre: Family, Adventure, Fantasy

Director: Victor Fleming

Budget: $2,800,000 (estimated)

Nominations: 13

When it comes to a genre of film, musicals are my favourite. I love all the old musical films. And although many of them tend to be on television over the Christmas season, I still find myself watching them each year. One such film in my collection is The Wizard of Oz.

Film Synopsis

At the very beginning of the film, it is shot in sepia. Dorothy Gayle lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry on a farm in Kansas. She also has a little dog called Toto. One day Em and Henry has a visit from Amira Gulch, a neighbour of theirs. She threatens to take Toto away for biting her. When Dorothy hears this, she becomes frightened and decides to run away. As she starts on her journey, she meets Professor Marvel. But he persuades her to go home by pretending to read her fortune. On her way back home, a tornado strikes Kansas. As Dorothy enters her house, we see it lifted up into the air by the tornado and get whisked away. Her family, meanwhile, are safely hidden away in the underground shelter.

I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore!

The house crash lands in Munckin Land. Dorothy awakes after being knocked unconscious, and the magic begins. She opens the front door. As she slowly opens the door and peeks she suddenly realises she's not in Kansas anymore. But what is more delightful to see is when she opens the door, the visual effects change from sepia to technicolour. She walks out into Munchkin Land into a spectacle of bright colour. Considering this is 1939 we're talking about, I find this pretty amazing.

As Dorothy and Toto walk into this strange but beautiful magical land, we get to meet a lot of weird and wonderful people. Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, is popping up throughout the film to help Dorothy. The Munchkins themselves who live in Munchkin Land are a definite highlight of the film. Watching these little people sing and dance and making Dorothy welcome in their land is the bit I love the most. Their singing and dancing is joyful and delightful to watch. Of course, with any fantasy film, you get good and bad. And we get to meet The Wicked Witch of the West, the sister of the witch Dorothy accidentally killed.

The film takes us through Dorothy's journey through the magical world of Munchkin Land and her route to the Emerald City. On her journey she meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. With each of them wanting different things, Dorothy to return home to Kansas, we see the trials and tribulations she has along the way.

Dorothy, the cowardly lion & the scarecrow.


My Thoughts

This is one of them classic films that has gone down in history, and is still watched and loved by children and adults today. The transition from the sepia effect at the start of the film to technicolour when she opens that door is amazing. The different colours is beautiful. The acting from Judy Garland is really good. Although she was only a young girl at the time, I find she played the part well. Toto was played by Terry who appeared in a total of 16 films all together. In the film Toto did all his own stunts and is a much loved little character in the film.

The making of The Wizard of Oz must have been such a huge operation at the time, when you consider the amount of Munchkins they had in the film. And the set itself is worth taking into consideration. The Emerald City and Munchkin Land is well made and looks great on screen. This must have looked wonderful when it was on in the cinema. I like that there are plenty of songs in the movie to sing along to. This is a fun and enjoyable film to watch. I'm sure little children would find the wicked witch a bit scary, but I find this adds to the beauty of the storyline, and adds drama to the film.

This is the perfect escapism movie, and for a little while, can enter a magical land where trees talk, things come to life, and our world is full of bright colours. Like Dorothy, we can close our eyes and hope for a better land somewhere over the rainbow.

The Wizard of Oz Movie Trailer

DVD Extras

The DVD copy I have is digitally remastered for Superior Picture Quality and True Stereo Sound. There are also a number of DVD extras on my copy which people may find interesting.

  1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz making of a movie classic.
  2. Os History
  3. Oz Afterlife
  4. Behind the scenes
  5. Out-takes/deleted scenes
  6. Audio Supplements
  7. Interactive menus
  8. Scene Access
  9. Trailers

The songs in the film

Sung By
Over The Rainbow
Judy Garland
Come Out Come Out, Wherever You Are
Glinda & The Munchkins
It Really Was No Miracle
Judy Garland & The Munchkins
We Thank You Very Sweetly
The Munchkins
Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead!
The Munchkins
As Mayor of the Munchkin City
The Munchkins
As Coroner I Must Aver
The Munchkin Coroner
The Lullaby League
3 of the Munchkin girls
The Lollipop Guild
3 of the Munchkin boys
We Welcome You to Munchkin Land
The Munchkins
You're Off to See the Wizard
The Munchkins
If I Only Had a Brain
The Scarecrow
We're Off to See the Wizard
Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man & the Cowardly Lion
If I Only Had a Heart
The Tin Man
The Merry Old Land of Oz
Dorothy, the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion & Scarecrow & the carriage driver at the Emerald City
If I Were King of the Forest
The Cowardly Lion


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    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 2 months ago from Redcar

      An excellent and informative review. This movie is my wife Eileen's favourite movie of all time. We watch it at least 3 or 4 times a year and it is just as enjoyable each time.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 3 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Just love this movie and I don't think I will ever tire of listening to Judy Garland.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      That is another favorite old time film watched many times by me. Love all the characters in it.

    • Claire-louise profile image

      Claire Raymond 9 months ago from UK

      It's really shameful but I have never seen this film! I definitely have to now though!

    • Cal-gal profile image

      Meredith Davies 9 months ago

      The Wizard of Oz has always been one of my favorites. I can't even begin to think of the number of times I have seen it. I remember being so scared as a kid of those flying monkeys.

      Even today I still can do a pretty good evil witch impersonation. "Poppies, poppies will put them to sleep!"

      What a production it was.

      Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 10 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Fantastic review by a absolutely true classic film.

      No way could I improve on this work.

      Great hub and great graphics and writing.

      Please keep in touch.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 11 months ago

      The Wicked Queen in Snow White was attractive until she made herself old and ugly. In modern times having a beautiful wicked witch, or other nasty woman, is common. It does change the dynamic of a movie though.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 11 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Yes Robert, I heard they'd cut the Jitterbug song from the film too, although I didn't know the reason. I didn't realise that Gone With The Wind was released the same year. As for casting an attractive wicked witch, I'm glad they didn't really. Glinda the good witch is, of course, pretty. This is apt I think. Wicked witches have never been seen as pretty have they?

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 11 months ago

      I enjoyed reading this article. I've heard it said had it come out another year it would have won the Oscar for best picture. Unfortunately Gone With the Wind came out the same year. There was another song "Jitterbug" which was cut because they feared it would date the film. The movie has a comment alluding to it. I saw the scene once. It seemed it was better they left that song out. The film also had the death pun, "You liquidated her", long before the Bond movies made such puns popular. They initially wanted to cast an attractive wicked witch but decided against it. Any thoughts on this?

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 12 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This is one of my favorite movies. I remember seeing it as a child and was lost in the magical tale. I wish they still made movies like this. Great review. Loved it!