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The Wizard of Oz Details


The third and definitive film adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's fantasy, this musical adventure is a genuine family classic that made Judy Garland a star for her heartfelt performance as Dorothy Gale, an orphaned young girl unhappy with her drab black-and-white existence on her aunt and uncle's dusty Kansas farm. Dorothy yearns to travel "over the rainbow" to a different world, and she gets her wish when a tornado whisks her and her little dog, Toto, to the Technicolorful land of Oz. Having offended the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton), Dorothy is protected from the old crone's wrath by the ruby slippers that she wears. At the suggestion of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke), Dorothy heads down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, where dwells the all-powerful Wizard of Oz, who might be able to help the girl return to Kansas. En route, she befriends a Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), a Tin Man (Jack Haley), and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr). The Scarecrow would like to have some brains, the Tin Man craves a heart, and the Lion wants to attain courage; hoping that the Wizard will help them too, they join Dorothy on her odyssey to the Emerald City. Garland was MGM's second choice for Dorothy after Shirley Temple dropped out of the project; and Bolger was to have played the Tin Man but talked co-star Buddy Ebsen into switching roles. When Ebsen proved allergic to the chemicals used in his silver makeup, he was replaced by Haley. Gale Sondergaard was originally to have played the Wicked Witch of the West in a glamorous fashion, until the decision was made to opt for belligerent ugliness, and the Wizard was written for W.C. Fields, who reportedly turned it down because MGM couldn't meet his price. Although Victor Fleming, who also directed Victor Fleming, was given sole directorial credit, several directors were involved in the shooting, included King Vidor, who shot the opening and closing black-and-white sequences. Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg's now-classic Oscar-winning song "Over the Rainbow" was nearly chopped from the picture after the first preview because it "slowed down the action." The Wizard of Oz was too expensive to post a large profit upon initial release; however, after a disappointing reissue in 1955, it was sold to network television, where its annual showings made it a classic. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:August 25, 1939


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Harold Arlen Best Song 1939 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Douglas Shearer Best Special Effects 1939 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Herbert Stothart Best Original Score 1939 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Judy Garland Special Award 1939 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Cedric Gibbons Best Art Direction 1939 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Arnold A. Gillespie Best Special Effects 1939 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Harold Hal Rosson Best Color Cinematography 1939 Nominee


Judy Garland
as Dorothy Gale
Frank Morgan
as The Wizard of Oz
Ray Bolger
as The Scarecrow
Bert Lahr
as The Cowardly Lion
Jack Haley
as The Tin Woodsman
Billie Burke
as Glinda, the Good Witch
Margaret Hamilton
as The Wicked Witch of the West
Charles Grapewin
as Uncle Henry
Clara Blandick
as Auntie Em
Charles Irwin
as Ozmite
Adriana Caselotti
as Juliet
Pinto Colvig
as Munchkin
Bert Lahr
as Zeke
Lee Murray
as Winged Monkey
Harry Earles
as Guild Singer
Tyler Brooke
as Ozmite
Walter Miller
as Bespectacled Munchkin
Daisy Earles
as Munchkin Villager
Margaret Hamilton
as Miss Gulch
Ray Bolger
as Hunk
Mitchell Lewis
as Head Winkie
Billy Bletcher
as Mayor/Lollypop Guild
Abe Dinovitch
as Munchkin
Abe Dinovitch
as Apple Tree
Bobby Watson
as Ozmite
Frank Morgan
as Prof. Marvel
Harry Monty
as Winged Monkey/Munchkin
Oliver Smith
as Ozmite
Lillian Porter
as Munchkin (uncredited)
Buddy Ebsen
as Tin Woodman on "We're Off to See the Wizard"
Jack Haley
as Hickory
Jerry Maren
as Guild Leader
Clarence Swensen
as Munchkin
Billy Curtis
as City Father
Harlan Briggs
as Uncle Henry's Double


Victor Fleming
Mervyn LeRoy
Noel Langley
Florence Ryerson
Edgar Allan Woolf
Harold Hal Rosson
Harold Arlen
Composer (Music Score)
Herbert Stothart
Composer (Music Score)
George Bassman
Composer (Music Score)
George Stoll
Composer (Music Score)
Blanche Sewell
Cedric Gibbons
Art Director
Edwin B. Willis
Set Designer
Costume Designer
Arnold A. Gillespie
Special Effects
Bobby Connolly
Jack Dawn
Howard Smit