What Made ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939) A Classic?

By on January 13, 2014

“The Wizard of Oz,” starring actress Judy Garland, is a timeless classic that holds a long-standing record for being the most watched movie of all time. This book turned movie has been the inspiration for stage productions, Broadway shows, and books and movies of the lives of the characters both before and after their fictional lives onscreen. Below are the qualities that have made this 1939 movie relevant over the years.

There’s No Place Like Home

Regardless of where life takes you, there is no place in the world quite like home. Even when you factor in the good, the bad, and the elements that you are indifferent about—returning to the home you grew up in, the town you grew up in, or returning home after a trip—there is an indescribable feeling of connection, familiarity, and comfort. Even when you appreciate the new place you have moved to, or the place you have traveled to, there is nothing that compares to returning home. In fact you may appreciate home more with a bit of distance.

Perception And Power

Along their journey, Dorothy, Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow put all of their hope and dreams into the hands of the great and powerful Wizard of Oz. On their way, and throughout their unique adventure down the yellow-brick road, they come to find that they possess the power they need to achieve their own dreams—if they simply face their own fears and change their perception of themselves. At one time or another everyone has felt the self-doubt or insecurities portrayed by the characters in this magical tale, and has cultivated the strength they need in trying times.

What Made 'The Wizard of Oz' (1939) A Classic?

A Parable For All Ages

While many films are geared toward either children or adults, the “The Wizard of Oz” is a film that has something for every one of all ages and backgrounds. While parables are most often written only with children in mind, this well-written script is magical enough for children, yet conveys enough depth and moral lessons that adults can enjoy and relate to the film as well.

The Soundtrack

Not only is “The Wizard of Oz” a timeless classic, but so is the soundtrack. The smash hit “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” has been subsequently remade in several genres over the past seventy years. Other songs in the movie such as “We’re Off to See the Wizard” and “If I Only Had a Brain” are both catchy, and instantly recognizable when heard outside of the movie.

The Attention To Detail

While cinematography and special effects were vastly different in 1939, there was clearly a significant amount of time and attention to detail put in to creating the Land of Oz. The costumes, makeup, and sets were detailed, colorful, and quite advanced for their day and age—making this movie a delight to watch several decades later.

While there are many classic films that still capture the attention of audiences around the world, the “The Wizard of Oz” stands in a class of its own. The lessons, cinematography, subtleties, and even the quest for home have made this a hit for audiences ever since its release. It is a movie that can be watched over and over again without getting old, and can be watched with family and friends of all ages.

Ross Boulder, a confirmed movie fanatic, writes regularly on film history, film criticism, acting, movie trivia and other related topics. Those who love to sing off to see the wizard should consider going for a The Wizard of Oz theme for a costume party.

Image credit goes to Museum of Cinema.

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