Oh, we're off to see the wizard! The Wonderful Wizard of Oz!
The 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
film adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
starring Judy Garland
The film changed the silver shoes to ruby slippers (depending on this source, this was either to show off the new color technology of the time, or because silver shoes didn't show up well), merged the two good witches, cut out several incidents, including all of Dorothy's (admittedly anticlimactic) return to the Emerald City after killing the Witch and the journey from the Emerald City to Glinda's palace, and added the All Just a Dream
ending—the studio heads
thought the audience was too sophisticated to accept a "real" fantasyland.note
This movie has proven so popular that it has had several stage adaptations
written and produced over the years. Professional productions have included a touring ice show in the 1990s
, an All-Star Cast
concert staging in New York City in 1995, another
N.Y.C. production that ran seasonally at Madison Square Garden later in the decade, and a 2011 London production produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber
that added several new songs by Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
. The 2011 Tom and Jerry Direct-to-Video
movie Tom and Jerry and The Wizard of Oz
is a Twice Told Tale
has made two films that effectively serve as (unofficial) bookends to this one. 1985's Return to Oz
is a semi-sequel that's substantially Darker and Edgier
, but also more faithful to the original Oz novels. 2013's Oz: The Great and Powerful
is a spiritual prequel to this film, an origin story following the Wizard (played by James Franco) as he first arrives in Oz.
The Stock Parody Off to See the Wizard
is almost invariably derived from this version of the story.
While this version is by far
the most well known, it is not the first film adaptation. There were several silent adaptations, oldest surviving of which is from 1910.
That, curiously enough, was based on a 1902 stage musical. Although most of the music for the show has been lost, the producers of the 1939 version were aware of it, and that may have had an influence on their work.
The Wizard of Oz provides examples of:
- Ascended Extra: The Witch wasn't truly an "extra" in the original book, but she only appeared in one chapter; her role is expanded greatly in this version.
- Adaptational Badass: While the Witch could cast a few magical spells in the original novel, she's a far more powerful sorceress in this version; she was not able to do such things as throw fireballs or fly on a broomstick in the novel. Also, in the book she had nothing to do with the poppy field with pollen that lulled Dorothy and the Lion into a slumber; in this version, she created it.
- Also Glinda (albiet by combing her with other characters), who in this version sends a snowstorm to rescue Dorothy from the Poppy spell. She also intentionally sends the Ruby Slippers to Dorothy to protect her from the Wicked Witch, and is even able to send her away simply by telling her off. In the original book, Glinda only appears in one of the last chapters.
- Adaptational Curves: Thanks to Dawson Casting, the supposedly eight year old Dorothy has developed breasts.
- Adaptation Distillation: The movie cuts out Dorothy's trip into Quadling Country and Glinda just appears in the Emerald City.
- Adaptation Induced Plothole: An infamous example. There were two Good Witches in the book, of which Glinda was the second. The first one, the unnamed Good Witch of the North, met Dorothy when she first arrived in Oz and gave her the slippers, but Glinda (the Good Witch of the South, who didn't meet Dorothy until the end) was the only one who knew that their magic could help Dorothy get back to Kansas. The movie combines them into one character, leading many viewers to wonder why Glinda didn't just tell her how to get back home at the start of the movie.
- The only possible explanation for her behavior being that's simply how the magic of the Ruby Slippers works. Her explanation to Dorothy in the end kind of hints at this, but it's also worded like an Ice-Cream Koan leading straight into a Broken Aesop: "happiness is found only in your own back yard" isn't the answer to "how do I stop Miss Gulch trying to kill my dog".
- Lampshaded by the Scarecrow. "Then why didn't you tell her before?"
- Glinda's answer: "Because she had to find out for herself."
- Another issue in the movie's implication that Oz was All Just a Dream, confirmed by Word of God, is the issue of what happened to Miss Gulch. If Oz was real, of course, she turned into the Witch of the East and had a house fall on her. Some fans do justify interpreting Oz as being real since that is the case in the original book series. MGM also had plans to produce a sequel involving the flying monkeys reviving the Witch of the West (which was later developed into a animated series), so Word of God was going to be retconned anyway.
- Adaptational Villainy: In Baum's book, the flying monkeys are a neutral party who only follow the Wicked Witch because they are temporarily forced to serve her through her possession of a magic golden cap and later help Dorothy for the same reason. Here, they're exclusively the Witch's minions. That said, they're still not sorry to see her go.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: The Wicked Witch of the West. The Wizard also enjoys using this to intimidate people:
- "You billowing bale of bovine fodder!"
- "You clinking clanking clattering collection of caligenous junk!"
- Glinda the Good.
- Adult Fear: When Aunt Em is looking for Dorothy during the tornado. Listen to her voice when she calls out for her one last time before having to retreat into the storm shelter. She sounds absolutely distraught.
- Uncle Henry alludes to another instance: your eight-year-old niece sustains a concussion/fairly serious head injury and doesn't seem to wake for at least sixty minutes. Add to that the fact that he and Auntie Em probably only discovered her after leaving the storm cellar. Who knows, really, how long they were down there?
- Also: Said eight-year-old niece runs away to who-knows-where because a sadistic neighbor threatens to euthanize her dog. Plus, sadistic neighbor has the local sheriff in her back pocket.
- Age Lift: Dorothy is around eight years old in the book but is aged up and played by the 17-year-old Judy Garland. Several sources have said that Dorothy is intended to be twelve in the film.
- All Just a Dream: Unlike in the original books. The reason why it was changed for the film was because MGM felt that 1930's audiences were too sophisticated to accept Oz as a straight ahead fantasy, so they made it as a lengthy, elaborate dream, instead. Though some could argue Dorothy's slippers made everybody else think it was a dream of Dorothy's.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: The scene where everyone panics on the farm and rushes to Dorothy's aid when she falls in the pig pen. Most these days see it as unintentional hilarity but those who've raised pigs on a farm would know the notorious risk of pigs killing and trying to eat small children.
- An Aesop: After Glinda asks Dorothy what she's learned, Dorothy gives one.
If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, l won't look any further than my own backyard, because if it isn't there I never really lost it to begin with.
[and after Dorothy returns to Kansas] There's no place like home!
- And I Must Scream: Dorothy saves the Tin Man from this fate.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: The Wicked Witch of the East is one of the most famous examples.
- And Your Little Dog Too: The Trope Namer.
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Dorothy hitting the Cowardly Lion. Apparently it hurt so much that he thought his nose was bleeding.
- The Artifact: In the scene where the Wicked Witch sends her army of flying monkeys to steal the ruby slippers, she has a somewhat baffling line where she says, "I've sent a little insect on ahead to take the fight out of them!" Some viewers assumed that the insect was what picked up the Tin Woodman and dropped him, but her line actually referred to the scrapped "Jitterbug" sequence. The producers apparently forgot to cut out all references to the nonexistent scene/character (or just hoped that the audience wouldn't notice — or would retcon it into something else).
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Shamelessly: "Only bad witches are ugly." Of course you could say it's a case of a persons "inside matching their outside", which is likely why Glinda felt the need to ask Dorothy's intentions when she mistook her for a witch.
- Believing Their Own Lies:
- The Scarecrow says he doesn't have a brain, but he's actually pretty clever.
- The Tin Woodsman says he doesn't have a heart, but he's the most empathic, and sobs a lot, too.
- Berserk Button: Dorothy gets a bit touchy whenever others try to harm Toto. For example, after she slaps the Cowardly Lion when he goes for Toto:
Dorothy: Shame on you!
Cowardly Lion: What did you do that for? I didn't bite him!
Dorothy: No, but you tried to!
- Big Good: Glinda the Good Witch.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: So, that hourglass was super spooky, but why didn't the Wicked Witch just kill Dorothy and take the shoes? The Witch may have given a handwaved justification:
Witch: "... as long as you're alive. But that's not what concerns me. It's how to do it. These things must be done delicately or you hurt the spell."
- Bootstrapped Theme: The music (Glinda's Leitmotif) heard during the MGM logo opening this movie also played during the MGM/UA Home Video logo used from 1995-1999.
- Boss Arena Idiocy: Why exactly does the wicked witch allow buckets of water within a mile of her castle, let alone right on a handy shelf? Granted, there's all those torches, but is she really the type to worry about fire safety?
- But You Were There, and You, and You: Trope Namer. The film's ending is also possibly the most famous example of this trope. Five different people Dorothy knows in Kansas—the three farmhands, Miss Gulch, and Professor Marvel—pop up in her dream of Oz as different people.
- Canon Foreigner: The five people who Dorothy knows who appear in her dream - Hunk, Zeke, Hickory, Miss Gulch, and Professor Marvel - were created exclusively for the film, likely to use the "dream counterpart angle" as a plot device.
- Cartoon Bug-Sprayer: The Cowardly Lion arms himself against the Wicked Witch with one of these.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Tin Man lugs his axe around for three-quarters of the film until he's finally able to use it to smash open the door in the Witch's castle.
- The Chessmaster: To modern audiences, who are a tad more cynical, it's often suggested that Glinda was simply manipulating Dorothy, turning her into an accidental assassin that could kill the Witches and remove the Wizard; thus leaving Glinda poised to seize control of Oz in the aftermath.
- While this is an unfair assessment of Glinda, it's actually an accurate way of describing the Wizard of Oz himself when he sent Dorothy and the others on a quest after the Witch's broom.
- If you interpret the movie as a Coming-of-Age Story for Dorothy, then maybe Glinda does, indeed, qualify for the Trope, but with more benign motives.
- Clingy MacGuffin: The ruby slippers won't come off Dorothy's feet, and shock the Witch when she tries to remove them. In the original book, however, Dorothy could and did frequently remove the silver shoes.
- Cool Horse: The Horse of a Different Color that pulls the Handsome Cab in the Emerald City; astute viewers will note that it changes to a different, equally unusual color each time the camera pans away and then back to it. (However, being an actual horse, it doesn't fit the Horse of a Different Color trope.)
- Comically Missing the Point: Invoked as Uncle Henry's Obfuscating Stupidity in this gem of a sequence:
Miss Gulch: Mr. Gale!
Uncle Henry: Howdy, Miss Gulch!
Gulch: I want to see you and your wife right about Dorothy.
Henry: Dorothy? Well, what has Dorothy done?
Gulch: What's she done? I'm all but lame from the bite on my leg!
Henry: You mean she bit you?
Gulch: No, her dog!
Henry: Oh, she bit her dog, eh?
(Henry swings the gate closed onto Miss Gulch's behind.)
- Miss Gulch had referred to the bite on her leg less than a minute before, so Uncle Henry couldn't really have misunderstood. Also, Uncle Henry actively closed the gate.
- The Coroner: The Munchkin Coroner's part in the song (where he confirms the Witch of the East's death) was rather brief, but one of the most memorable parts. (It's currently the quote for the Trope page.)
- Crazy-Prepared: Oddly enough, the beauty salon at the Emerald City had facilities for both the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodsman.
- Composite Character: In the original version, Dorothy was given her mission upon arriving by the Witch of the North, and didn't meet Glinda until the conclusion. In this version, Glinda combines the roles of both the benevolent witches. Glinda also takes on the role of the Snow Queen (a character from one of Baum's stage plays) by rescuing Dorothy from the poppy fields by sending a snowstorm (in the original book, the Scarecrow and Tin-Man carry Dorothy out and a few helpful mice simply pull the Lion).
- Crosscast Role: Toto was played by a female Cairn terrier, named Terry.
- Curtain Camouflage
- Cute Clumsy Man: The Scarecrow is afflicted with the weakest legs you ever saw. Several times throughout the film he trips and has to pick himself back up again, and is practically half-dragged along whenever all four of them skip on the Yellow Brick Road. Justified in that he's made of straw.
- Cut Song: "The Jitterbug" and the sad reprise of "Over the Rainbow", though both are usually performed in stage adaptations of the movie. Averted with the main "Over the Rainbow" song itself, which the filmmakers almost cut out of concern that it would slow down the plot.
- Darker and Edgier: While it doesn't seem like this to the average viewer, some parts are considerably darker than the book. When writing the book, Baum explicitly said that he wanted to make a story with all the wonder of a classic fairy tale but none of the horror and tragedy. By contrast, the movie features Toto getting sentenced to death, as well as Dorothy and her friends nearly getting killed by the Witch and her minions several times. Instead of the book's comical Witch, the movie's Witch is a genuinely scary villain with obvious sadistic tendencies. And instead of being neutral creatures answering to the Witch's three wishes, the movie's flying monkeys are eerily silent monstrosities who serve the Witch as mindless slaves.
- Then again, there are moments when the movie is Lighter and Softer than the book. The book explicitly had Dorothy's companions kill the creatures sent by the Wicked Witch and the origin of the Tin Woodsman is considerably horrific.
- The biggest change in this regard is that, in the book, the Good Witch of the North put a charm on Dorothy that prevented anyone in Oz from hurting her, so throughout the entire story she's never actually in any physical danger. The movie limits it to a brief kiss on Dorothy's forehead.
- Dark Reprise: A Cut Song (see above) of "Over The Rainbow". It had to be recorded live on set as Judy would have had to act in addition to singing it. Reportedly the performance reduced the entire cast and crew to tears.
- Death's Hourglass: The Wicked Witch uses this to freak Dorothy out.
- Debut Queue: Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion in succession. This is one of the most iconic and well-remembered examples of the trope.
- Deliberately Monochrome:
- Deus ex Machina: The heroes are cornered, surrounded by all the guards of the Wicked Witch of the West. The Witch herself, gloating in victory, lights the Scarecrow on fire and Dorothy tosses a bucket of water to put him out, some of it splashing the Witch. Lo and behold, water turns out to be the Witch's weakness and she suddenly begins melting for no explainable reason. And all those guards that were surrounding the heroes don't go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge but instead are all cheering that she's dead. Makes one wonder why they didn't splash some water on her themselves if they hated her so much, or why the Witch kept such a lethal substance lying around in the castle. The melting was taken from the book, with the movie giving Dorothy a plausible reason to throw the bucket of water.
- Disneyfication: The books contain a surprising amount of casual and sometimes decidedly un-PC violence: in the first one alone — besides the wholesale witchicide — the Scarecrow twists the necks of crows sent to attack them, the Tin Woodsman chops the heads off vicious wolves, and the Cowardly Lion swats the head off a giant spider with his paw. And, of course, the Tin Woodsman became tin by gradually having all his bits cut off and replaced — up to and including his head.
- Additionally in the book Dorothy intentionally throws the bucket of water on the Wicked Witch after she's mean to the Cowardly Lion (she doesn't know it'll make her melt of course). The film changes this to Dorothy trying to put out a fire on the Scarecrow's arms and the water accidentally splashing on the Witch.
- Don't Go in the Woods: Or rather, Don't Continue On To The Witch's Castle. "I'd turn back if I were you!"
- Dramatic Curtain Toss: "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
- Dream Land: Dorothy's adventure may have only been a dream. The tornado winds knock Dorothy out, and everything spins in a delirium about her. The tornado picking up the house is clearly part of the dream, as she sees various impossible scenes out the window, such as an elderly neighbor knitting in her rocker, a pair of men rowing in a rowboat, culminating in Miss Gulch riding her bicycle changing into the Wicked Witch of the East.note
- An argument against it being a dream is that in Dorothy's return trip home via the Ruby Slippers, the house is again seen falling to the ground. The slippers might have transported Dorothy and the house back to the Kansas farm, leaving her in bed with having taken a bump on her head. Various sources say that the falling house is the last of a cut sequence as part of Dorothy's delirious return, where she remembers various scenes of Oz in reverse order, all cut out except the falling house.
- Dungeon Master: Glinda made Dorothy trek through Oz on her quest to get home, only to tell Dorothy that she already knew the ruby shoes could get her home. Of course she never abandoned her, she simply knew the only way Dorothy could learn to work the shoes was through first-hand experience.
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: The sequins on Glinda's dress.
- Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: The slippers being changed from silver to ruby.
- Evil Counterpart: The Wicked Witch to Glinda.
- Evil Is Hammy: The Witch of the West.
- Evil Laugh: One of the most iconic examples. Margaret Hamilton sure could cackle.
- Evil Wears Black: The witch's dress and hat.
- Exact Words: In this version, the Wizard doesn't actually demand that Dorothy and her companions act as assassins (as he does in the novel) he merely demands they bring her broomstick. The majesty and formality of the Wizard virtually requires him to request the broomstick, rather than outright request her killing, just as the majesty and formality requires the Wizard to refer to her as "The Witch of the West", omiting "Wicked". Of course, they quickly realize that his intent is for them to kill her, as they'd never get it any other way.
- Falling Chandelier of Doom
- Famous Last Words: Okay, everyone say it together: "You cursed brat! Look what you've done! I'm melting! melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness..."
- The Film of the Book
- Fireballs: "Here, Scarecrow! Wanna play ball?"
- Five-Man Band: Dorothy and her friends form one.
- Follow the Leader: The film was greenlit after the enormous success of Disney's fairy-tale musical Snow White.
- Forced to Watch: What the Wicked Witch attempts at the climax. "The last one to go will see the first three go before her, and her mangy little dog too."
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: When Dorothy is trapped in the Witch's castle, she sees an image of Aunt Em looking around for her in the Witch's crystal ball. Dorothy futily tries to call out to her, but Aunt Em's image is replaced by the Wicked Witch who mocks Dorothy and then turns to cackle directly at the audience as if to say "I'm coming for you next!"
- Giant Poofy Sleeves: Glinda's dress.
- Girlish Pigtails; Dorothy wears these until her makeover at the Emerald City.
- Grass Is Greener
- Hand Wave: Attempted. When asked why she never told Dorothy about the shoes' abilities, Glinda replies, "you wouldn't have believed me."
- Happy Place: The entire Land of Oz is this for Dorothy, a place where there isn't any trouble (for the first two acts, at least) and bathed in color.
- Homage: Ray Bolger was a major fan of Fred Stone, who originally played the Scarecrow in the 1902 musical. His loose-limbed dancing and walk were copied from Stone's characterization. (Stone played the Scarecrow so well that he appeared on stage so motionless for the first act that the audience thought it was a prop, not an actual actor!)
- Hostage for MacGuffin: Subverted in that the Wicked Witch demands the ruby slippers in return for Toto, but the slippers are stuck to Dorothy's feet and won't come off. Although Dorothy agrees to hand over the slippers, the Witch gets a nasty shock when she tries to remove them.
- Huge Holographic Head: One of the guises assumed by the Wizard.
- Iconic Outfit: Dorothy is mostly remembered as wearing a blue-and-white checkered dress and the ruby slippers with brunette hair braided in pigtails.
- Implausible Deniability: The Wizard is caught as just a man, but tries a last ditch save with the line "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Dorothy and Friends are really bright and very sweet characters to contrast the Wicked Witch of the West.
- Inelegant Blubbering: Mostly by the Cowardly Lion.
- Innocent Bigot: Dorothy, in regards to witches. Glinda sets the record straight to her in record time during their first meeting, and Dorothy apologizes to Glinda upon finding out that she was a witch, too (specifically, the Witch of the North).
- It Was with You All Along
- It's the Journey That Counts: The Trope Codifier. Glinda states Dorothy had to learn for herself she had the power.
- "I Want" Song: "Over the Rainbow", perhaps one of the best examples of an "I Want" song. Also, "If I Only Had a Brain/a Heart/the Nerve".
- Kick the Dog: The Wicked Witch gets a good number of these:
- Threatening Dorothy's dog Toto in the Trope Namer for And Your Little Dog Too.
- Ordering her mooks to drown Toto anyway after Dorothy had already agreed to do what the Witch asked.
- Trapping Dorothy in a room with an evil hourglass, making Aunt Em appear in her crystal ball, and then sadistically mocking her once she's completely broken down.
- The above-mentioned Forced to Watch attempt at the climax.
- Kill It with Water: The Wicked Witch of the West.
- Large Ham: They all have their moments, but The Wicked Witch Of The West takes the cake. That woman was having fun.
- Letting Her Hair Down: When Dorothy gets her makeover in the Emerald City, her hair is let down out of its pigtails (though still partially tied up).
- The style is a modified "lioness", and was popular off and on through the 1970s.
- Lighter and Softer: In some regards, though a few elements are also noticeably darker than in the book. In particular, Dorothy and her companions come off as a bit more innocent here, whereas the book featured them occasionally having to use violence to overcome the odds against them (the book has them outright killing the animals that the Witch sends against them, and it includes a scene where the Cowardly Lion proves his courage by killing a monster in its sleep). The Tin Man's grisly origin, where he got his metal body after a magic spell cursed him to hack off his limbs, is also never brought up in the movie.
- Little People Are Surreal: Munchkins sure are odd.
- MacGuffin: The ruby slippers.
- The Makeover: In "The Merry Old Land of Oz".
- The Man Behind the Curtain: Trope Namer.
- Miles Gloriosus: The Lion starts out this way when Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man first meet him. It doesn't last long.
- Missing Trailer Scene:
- The 1940 trailer includes footage from costume tests.
- The trailers from 1949, 1955, and 1970 briefly show a Cut Song celebrating Dorothy's defeat of the Wicked Witch of the West.
- Mood Whiplash: The movie cuts right from "Over the Rainbow" to Miss Gulch riding in on her bicycle, complete with that music.
- After first blowing the audience's mind by going from sepia to technicolor and giving one cheerful Ear Worm after another, everything comes crashing down when the Wicked Witch of the West appears in a flash of fire.
- The Musical
- Mythology Gag: The two men in the rowboat are a reference to the "Hurrah For Baffin's Bay" number from the original 1902 musical. The cow is a reference to Imogene, who replaced Toto on stage as well.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The villain is named The Wicked Witch of the West.
- No Song for the Wicked: Averted in the 2011 musical with "Red Shoes Blues".
- Noblewoman's Laugh: A rare wholesome example from Glinda when confronting the Wicked Witch of the West with this line: "Ohoho, rubbish! You have no power here. Begone! Before someone drops a house on you too!"
- Burke sells that line, and Hamilton's reaction is priceless. She ducks and looks up, clearly half convinced Glinda could make another house drop. And she probably could, too.
- Noo Yawk: The Cowardly Lion gots a lot of Brooklyn in dis film, 'coz he's got noive.
- Notable Original Music: Practically all of the songs count, but "Over the Rainbow" is the most famous; it not only won the Oscar for Best Song, but also became Judy Garland's Signature Song and has even become a Bootstrapped Theme for MGM itself.
- Not Now, Kiddo: Dorothy gets this from Auntie Em and Uncle Henry when she is trying to tell them about what Miss Gulch did to Toto.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Uncle Henry. Just looking at him you can tell he's just playing dumb to avoid trouble from Miss Gulch, like the way he asks if Dorothy was the one who bit her right before slamming the gate on her butt.
- Offstage Villainy
- Oh, Crap: The Wicked Witch before melting.
- Pan and Scan: Inverted. The movie was filmed in 4:3, but the theatrical re-releases from 1955 and 1999 presented the movie with the top and bottom missing for widescreen projection. The IMAX 3D re-release restores the movie to its original 4:3 aspect ratio.
- Paper Tiger: When the Cowardly Lion first appears he acts in an aggressive manner, charging the group and challenging them to a fight. When he tries to attack Toto, Dorothy smacks him on the nose and he starts crying. Granted, the Cowardly Lion also turns out to be a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass later on.
- Parental Bonus: Many lines, especially the Wizard's.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Glinda's super frilly dress.
- Pink Means Feminine: Glinda's dress, wings, and crown-like hat.
- Plucky Girl: Dorothy is a bit more subdued, but the pluck is still there.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: The movie. It can, at times, be difficult to find someone who knows that there are two good witches, let alone the rest of the stuff cut from the book.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: The orchestral music that plays in the background when Dorothy's friends are in the Wicked Witch's castle and arrive to rescue Dorothy is Night on Bald Mountain (the Rimsky-Korsakoff-streamlined version) by Modest Mussorgsky.
- Punch Clock Villain: The Wicked Witch's guards, judging by how they react to the heroes killing her.
- Rays from Heaven: These are used very blatantly during "Over the Rainbow" — a shot of them through the thick clouds temporarily breaks the footage of Dorothy singing. They emphasise the sky theme and show the height of her hopes.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: The Cowardly Lion's costume looks like something whipped up from old plush and yak fur. It was actually made from a real lion, complete with paws and tail.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The evil owls and vultures in the Haunted Forest.
- Real Is Brown: For the first part of the film the coloring is a sepia-toned brown, right up until Dorothy steps out into Munchkin Land. Even after all these years, the effect can be quite shocking upon a first viewing.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Auntie Em does a pretty good job with Miss Gulch at the end of the first reel.
- Remaster: In 1989, the Kansas portions of the movie had the sepia color scheme restored. Audiences for the theatrical re-releases and TV broadcasts from the previous 40 years had only seen them in plain black and white.
- After this movie entered Warner Bros. ' possession, along with the rest of the pre-1986 MGM library, WB developed a tendency to commission new restorations every few years, as Technology Marches On and fans become able to watch the movie at home in progressively higher resolutions.
- Retraux: This review, written in 2013 but made to look like it was written at the time the 1981 CED from MGM/CBS Home Video had just been released.
- Royal Decree: The Wizard gives one at the end, telling the people to follow Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Man in his stead.
- Sanity Slippage: The Wicked Witch of the West undergoes one in the second half. Granted, she was always insane as far as the picture was concerned, but up until she figured out that the ruby slippers had been charmed to Dorothy's feet by magic and won't come off as long as she lives, her main goal was to get them back and to get revenge on Dorothy for killing the Witch of the East. Afterwards, she becomes more and more obsessed with destroying Dorothy and her friends with extreme prejudice; the last few times she antagonized the others, it was for helping Dorothy and, later, for trespassing in her territory.
- Sarcasm Mode: The Wicked Witch of the West has her moment in a line that only appears in the script:
Witch: And as for you, my little Dorothy, I wish you luck with the Wizard of Oz, and a happy journey back to Kansas!
- Self-Guarding Phlebotinum: When the Wicked Witch of the West tries to take the Ruby Slippers from Dorothy's feet, they generate an electric shock field that prevents their removal.
- Shaggy Dog Story: Dorothy had no reason to go on her whole adventure to find the Wizard and kill the Wicked Witch of the West. The only thing she needed to get home was right on her feet the entire time. As comedian Dennis Miller noted: "So Glinda appears at the end and says, 'You had the power to go home all along!' I always wanted Dorothy to look at her and say, 'Yeah, bitch? And you had the power to tell me that two hours ago!"
- Skip of Innocence
- Snake Oil Salesman: Professor Marvel was one, and sort of a Loveable Rogue type, using his "skills" to trick Dorothy into going home by making her think her aunt was ill when he found out she ran away.
- Stage Magician: The Wizard of Oz as everyone knows by now, was not a wizard at all, but a stage magician flung by a tornado into a Magical Land, where through clever use of stage magic he was able to convince the denizens he was a powerful wizard.
- Standard Snippet: During the escape sequence at the Witch's castle, between the breaking of the door and the Witch's arrival with the hourglass, the soundtrack uses some of Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain. Also, when Dorothy is running home after her encounter with Miss Gulch, the music is a sped-up version of Schumann's Happy Farmer. (If Dorothy is taking piano lessons, that's probably one of her pieces; also, at the moment she is a rather UN-happy farmer!)
- Sugar Bowl
- True Blue Femininity: Dorothy wears a blue and white dress while traveling through Oz.
- Unexplained Accent: Hunk, Hickory, and Zeke live in rural Kansas but sound like they're from New York.
- Urban Legends
- For a long time, people thought that a crowned crane in the scene where Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man resume their journey was a guy hanging himself. You can blame the bad image quality.
- And of course the Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon soundtrack synching legend. Vigorously denied by the band, who have pointed out that the audio technology, necessary to make the film soundtrack and rock album synch this precisely with each other, didn't exist in 1973.
- The 1981 comedy flop Under The Rainbow was based on Urban Legends of hijinks which went on behind-the-scenes among the many little people hired to play Munchkins in the film.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: In this version of the story the Land of Oz is portrayed as a Sugar Bowl, but the Wicked Witch of the West remains just as mean (if not meaner) than her literary counterpart. As kid-friendly as this movie is, it's not uncommon to meet serious film buffs who consider the Wicked Witch one of the scariest cinematic characters of all time.
- We Do the Impossible: The Wizard's reputation, entirely undeserved. Arguably, Dorothy gains this reputation through her adventures.
- Weaksauce Weakness: You-know-who is brought down by a simple cup of water.
- Welcoming Song: After the Munchkins have finished singing about how happy they are that Dorothy has killed the Witch, they sing "We Welcome You to Munchkin Land".
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite kicking off the events of the plot, Miss Gulch's plan to have Toto put down is never even mentioned again when Dorothy gets back to Kansas. It's possible that the tornado simply gave Miss Gulch more important things to worry about, but this is never stated; another theory is that when we saw Miss Gulch swept up in the tornado (before she became the Wicked Witch,) that actually happened and she died in the aftermath.
- If you subscribe to the theory that the events in Oz actually did happen, then she's definitely dead.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The Scarecrow says he isn't afraid of anything - except a lighted match. (Of course, being made of straw, you really can't blame him.)
- In the Haunted Forest, when asked if he's afraid of spooks, the Tin Woodman claims he doesn't believe in them; the Lion is more honest — after the Tin Woodman is lifted aloft and dropped by something invisible.
- Wicked Witch: To be fair, the movie (and the books) are early examples that good witches can exist too; as opposed to Always Chaotic Evil.
- You Look Familiar: Frank Morgan plays four different roles in Oz—the doorman at the gate, the coachman who drives the Horse of a Different Color, the guard outside the Wizard's chamber, and the Wizard himself.
- You Have No Chance to Survive: The Wicked Witch of the West, when pointing at Death's Hourglass to Dorothy: "This is how long you'll live. And it isn't long, my pretty! It isn't long!"
- You Imagined It: Maybe, maybe not?
- Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: