The Wizard of Oz (1939 film)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film directed by Victor Fleming, among several other uncredited directors, and based on the 1900 children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. The film features Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Jack Haley as the Tin Woodman, Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion, Billie Burke as Glinda the Good Witch of the North, Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West, and Frank Morgan as the Wizard.
The film follows Kansas girl Dorothy Gale who lives on her aunt and uncle's depression-era farm while dreaming of a better place. After a destructive tornado hits the farm, Dorothy and her dog Toto are magically transported to the Land of Oz. Dorothy is instructed by the Good Witch of the North to follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, to meet the Wizard of Oz who may know how to return her to Kansas. During her journey she meets a Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, who aid her in her journey to the Emerald City hoping to receive what they each lack themselves (a brain, a heart and courage, respectively).
Initially, The Wizard of Oz was considered a commercial flop in relation to what was then considered its enormous budget, although it made a mild profit and received largely favorable reviews. Its songs became widely popular, however, with Over the Rainbow receiving the Oscar for Best Song of the Year, and the film itself garnering several Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. The film received much more attention after frequent television screenings and has since become one of the most beloved films of all time. It is often ranked among the top ten best movies of all-time in various critics' and popular polls, and has provided as many indelible quotes to American cultural consciousness as any other film in history. Its signature song, "Over the Rainbow," sung by the young Judy Garland, has been voted the greatest movie song of all time by the American Film Institute.