The Wiz

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Wiz Movie Poster Image
Jazzy, family-friendly musical remake of classic film.
  • G
  • 1978
  • 135 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion are all, at times, handicapped by self-imposed fears and insecurities, and they all manage to overcome these burdens and discover their hidden strengths.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dorothy, a shy teacher who's lived her entire life within a few miles of home, finds an amazing new world, Oz, and in the process is inspired to broaden her own horizons in her real life in New York City. Like the original film, this is a movie about learning how to tap into the strengths that may lurk undiscovered inside you.

Violence & Scariness

Some of the bad guys can be pretty creepy and the Wicked Witch is definitely bad news, though the fight scenes, such as they are, are more like ominous dance sequences than actual fisticuffs.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this musical retelling of the classic story, The Wizard of Oz, features an all African-American cast and songs with a contemporary (well, 1970s, anyway) flair. The big numbers are catchy, and though some of the villains seem a bit more creepy and threatening than the original film, it's still good, family fun.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byMomofhandi January 5, 2013

Great old movie to watch with your kids

I loved this movie. My nine year old really liked it and was totally engaged. My 6 almost 7 year old was a little restless toward the end (it's a little ov... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byJoBrofanJa19 March 23, 2013

The "naked" dancing is only part of this great movie... mature much?

First of all, let me mention the "controversial" part of the movie... I absolutely agree with Momofhandi's review. For all the little kids and so... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byTheTrillionaire April 21, 2013

OK for kids 9+

This is a 1978 movie in black version of the wizard of oz which is a 1939 movie.

What's the story?

Dorothy (Diana Ross), a shy schoolteacher from Harlem who's never discovered a world beyond her neighborhood, is transported to the land of Oz. There, her only way out is to follow the Yellow Brick Road and meet THE WIZ, who has the power to get her back home. On her way, she meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion, who aid her on the quest. They, too, are looking to the Wiz to give each of them what they're missing.

Is it any good?

Though the film sometimes feels dated, The Wiz is fun to watch with its almost steampunk-y, New York City-like take on Oz, and the songs are supremely danceable. Its takeaways still resonate after all these years, too, and the cast is unforgettable. How can one resist Michael Jackson as the scarecrow? Nipsey Russell is the Tin Man; Lena Horne is Glinda, and Richard Pryor makes a memorable wizard.

The Wiz is both familiar to anyone who's seen The Wizard of Oz (that's just about everyone) and not, with its revamped look and pop-funk-Broadway style song-and-dance numbers. It's a story that will resonate, but it also goes a bit beyond. The original story is about a girl who just wants to go home; this one's about a girl who grows up and realizes that there's more to the world beyond her front door -- both wonderful lessons.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this film compares to The Wizard of Oz, upon which it's based. The basic storyline is almost the same, but the details are quite different. What are the most interesting changes? Why do you think the filmmakers chose to remake the original?

  • How does this film compare to remakes of other beloved classics? Do you like the idea of making a new version of well-known movies? Do you think some work better than others?

Movie details

For kids who love classics and music

Our editors recommend

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