The Wizard of Oz
By: Elise Skarda
Starring Judy Garland and Jack Haley, this 1939 classic is the most-watched movie in history, according to the Library of Congress. The film features iconic characters such as the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow (seen in first image below).
This black and white film features a Kansas girl named Dorothy (Garland) whose house is blown up, up, up and away by a twister. When the house lands, Dorothy finds herself in Munchkinland, in the Land of Oz (above, right). Here, the colors in the film transition from black and white to vibrant technicolor. From there on in the story, Dorothy must find her way back home and avoid being killed by the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys (below).
Did You Know?
In the book, Dorothy's iconic ruby red slippers aren't ruby red. Guess what color they are.
They're silver! Did you get it right?
Why Does it Matter?
One of the most important underlying themes of the movie is power, and powerlessness. At the time that this movie came out, people were feeling very powerless. One of the most defining moments of the film is when Dorothy finds out that the all-powerful Wizard of Oz actually has no power. This is how many American citizens felt during the 1930s, that they government had no power and couldn't actually help them. Most of the story line of the movie is Dorothy trying to escape her situation for something better, something that almost every American during the Great Depression could relate to.
This uplifting tale about a girl trying to get back home brought a welcome and well-needed distraction to a very unhappy country. Not only did The Wizard of Oz bring happiness and hope to this great country in the '30s, but also in every decade since then.