The Wizard of Oz 1939

Critics score:
99 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Frank S. Nugent, New York Times: A delightful piece of wonder-working which had the youngsters' eyes shining and brought a quietly amused gleam to the wiser ones of the oldsters. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: It looks fantastic, sounds great, and the 3-D effects (reportedly labored over for 16 months by a thousand technicians) are both subtle and respectfully applied. Read more

Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader: I don't find the film light or joyful in the least -- an air of primal menace hangs about it, which may be why I love it. Read more

Paul Tatara, It scared the hell out of me when I used to watch it between my fingers when I was a kid, and (though it might say too much about my own emotional development) I still get the heebie-jeebies from a lot of it. Read more

Keith Staskiewicz, Entertainment Weekly: In truth, any opportunity to see the film on the big screen is welcome. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Remains the weirdest, scariest, kookiest, most haunting and indelible kid-flick-that's- really-for-adults ever made in Hollywood. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: Any reason to show your children "The Wizard of Oz" on a big screen seems like a good one. Read more

Newsweek: Magnificent sets and costumes, vivid Technicolor, and every resource of trick photography -- including a realistically contrived cyclone -- bolster the competent cast that strikes a happy medium between humor and make-believe. Read more

Kate Cameron, New York Daily News: Judy Garland is perfectly cast as Dorothy. She is as clever a little actress as she is a singer and her special style of vocalizing is ideally adapted to the music of the picture. Read more

Michael Sragow, Orange County Register: The greatest American movie fantasy. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: One of only a handful of films that nearly everyone is familiar with. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Its underlying story penetrates straight to the deepest insecurities of childhood, stirs them and then reassures them. Read more

Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle: This wonderful romp of a movie looks magical on the big screen: colors are a picnic for the eyes, details loom so clearly you can practically touch them and there's a sense of the larger-than-life with a film that's already larger than life. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Knowing that it was made without a single computer, and entirely by human ingenuity, makes it all the more worthy of marveling at, 75 years and an added dimension later. Read more

Todd Gilchrist, TheWrap: "The Wizard of Oz" celebrates its 75th anniversary looking younger and more vital than ever, simultaneously advertising good old-fashioned storytelling and the most advanced technology available. Read more

Whittaker Chambers, TIME Magazine: Lavish in sets, adult in humor, it is a Broadway spectacle translated into make-believe. Read more

Trevor Johnston, Time Out: Oz simply lays bare primal emotions, exposes our childhood anxieties about abandonment and powerlessness and brings to light the tension between the repressive comforts of home and the liberating terrors of the unknown marking all our adult lives. Read more

Otis Ferguson, The New Republic: The story of course has some lovely and wild ideas, but the picture doesn't know what to do with them, except to be painfully literal and elaborate about everything. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: The blend of old-fashioned, classic storytelling with cutting-edge technology is undeniably enthralling. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: A work of almost staggering iconographic, mythological, creative and simple emotional meaning, at least for American audiences, this is one vintage film that fully lives up to its classic status. Read more

John C. Flinn Sr., Variety: There's an audience for Oz wherever there's a projection machine and a screen. Read more

Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice: Even swollen to IMAX size, the movie is sharper than you've ever seen it, and the vaudevillian brilliance of the choreography (and Ray Bolger's straw-boned tumbling) is entirely undiminished. Read more

Stephanie Merry, Washington Post: The result is quite stunning and a lot less gimmicky than it could have been. Read more