A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A simple reminder that we can always find our way home, and that with a little help, we can overcome our fears.
Strong themes of perserverance and teamwork when facing challenges and fears and standing up for your friends. The central characters' friendship allows them to act selflessly and courageously. Other themes include integrity, empathy, and gratitude.
Positive Role Models
Dorothy is a fine example of courage under fire, as she embarks on her potentially dangerous quest, aided by new friends. She stands strong against the Wicked Witch and ultimately defeats her. The other characters fight for each other and face their fears to help Dorothy.
Violence & Scariness
The Wicked Witch of the West is quite creepy and menacing, as are her scary henchmonkeys and her abrupt arrivals/departures. Some kids may also be frightened during the twister scene and/or upset by Dorothy's separation from home and family. The trees that attack the friends are mean and vicious.
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Nothing objectionable, although Dorothy does call Ms. Gulch "a wicked witch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the 1939 fantasy The Wizard of Oz contains several scenes that may be scary for very young children, almost all of which involve the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West and her band of creepy flying monkeys. Most parents who've seen the movie before know that the plot includes a disastrous tornado, and an enchanted forest full of red-eyed creatures and talking trees. By today's rating standards, this Hollywood classic is downright tame, but between the twister, the mild peril, and the general menacing, murderous intentions of the witch, some pre-schoolers could be frightened. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Even 70 years after its release, director Victor Fleming's film is quite obviously a masterpiece of early cinema. Not only does it have one of the most iconic female roles and one of the finest examples of the hero's journey, which has influenced every epic quest tale from Star Wars to Harry Potter, but it is also a magical combination of drama, adventure, fantasy, and musical. This is one of the rare movie phenomena that modern-day grandparents can remember seeing as little ones, and that nostalgia can be easily shared with yet another generation of children, who can now watch it in high-definition or Blu Ray. It's a testament to the movie's universal appeal that seven decades later, The Wizard of Oz is still culturally significant -- from Halloween costumes to sing-along-shows to remixes of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
Garland, who was only 16 when Oz was filmed, is inimitably sublime as Dorothy, especially when she sings. Although contemporary moviegoers are used to precocious young "triple threats" marketed by Disney and Nickelodeon, Garland stands out as one of the first. Garland's impressively mature voice soars beyond the rainbow and into the audiences' hearts. Beyond Dorothy, there's the amazing trifecta of theater-trained actors (Lahr, Bolger, Haley) who played her yellow-brick-road companions. Hamilton is deliciously evil as the green-skinned witch, and Burke is memorably comforting as the beautiful good witch Glinda. Everyone should see The Wizard of Oz multiple times in their lives; it's simply a must-see film.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.