Who is the Wizard of Oz?

Kathy Hawkins

The Wizard of Oz is one of the most popular and best loved films of all time. It was made in 1939, and is based on a book by L. Frank Baum, called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It is a musical that tells the story of a young girl from Kansas who enters a magical fantasy world called Oz, where she meets a group of friends and experiences a variety of exciting adventures.

The Wizard of Oz movie is based on a book by L. Frank Baum.
The Wizard of Oz movie is based on a book by L. Frank Baum.

The main character in The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy Gale, is played by the legendary actress Judy Garland. The film was one of her earliest roles; studio executives contemplated replacing her with Shirley Temple. The Wizard of Oz's other main stars are Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Jack Haley as the Tin Man, and Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion.

When Dorothy lands in Oz after a cyclone sweeps her away from Kansas, her house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her. Dorothy then puts on the witch's ruby slippers, and begins a journey to go see the Wizard of Oz, who she has heard will help her find her way back home. Along the way, while walking on the Yellow Brick Road, she meets the Scarecrow, who needs a brain, the Tin Man, who needs a heart, and the Cowardly Lion, who needs courage. They all decide to join Dorothy on her trip to see the Wizard of Oz, hopeful that he will be able to give them what they need.

Along the way, they run into trouble from the Wicked Witch of the West, who wants her sister's ruby slippers. However, the witch is ultimately killed when water spills on her and melts her. When Dorothy and the others eventually find the Wizard of Oz, they discover he is actually an ordinary man with no special powers, controlling an intimidating display from behind a curtain. He reveals that each of them had what they needed all along; Dorothy only needs to click her heels together three times and she will return home to Kansas. When Dorothy follows the Wizard of Oz's orders, she wakes up at home in her bed.

The Wizard of Oz was made more than sixty years ago, but it is a timeless children's classic film, and has been widely released on DVD. It is also a major popular cultural reference point — the 1970s musical, The Wiz, was based on the Wizard of Oz, and the popular book and musical, Wicked, is based on the life of the Wicked Witch of the West.

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Discussion Comments


who in the wizard of oz needed a heart?


You've got the scarecrow and tin man actors mixed up.

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