5.4/10
12,892
156 user 37 critic

The Wiz (1978)

Trailer
3:31 | Trailer
An adaptation of "The Wizard of Oz" that tries to capture the essence of the African-American experience.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

L. Frank Baum (novel), William F. Brown (book) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Jackson 5ive (1971–1973)
Animation | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The animated musical adventures of the Jackson brothers.

Stars: Joel Cooper, Donald Fullilove, Mike Martinez
Captain Eo Grand Opening (TV Movie 1986)
Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Stars: Patrick Duffy, Justine Bateman, Dale Bozzio
Michael Jackson's Halloween (TV Short 2017)
Animation | Short | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Vincent (Lucas Till) and Victoria (Kiersey Clemons), meet "accidentally" on Halloween night and find themselves, along with Ichabod the dog, at a mysterious hotel located at 777 Jackson ... See full summary »

Directors: Mark A.Z. Dippé, Kyung Ho Lee
Stars: Diedrich Bader, Christine Baranski, Melendy Britt
The Wiz Live! (TV Movie 2015)
Adventure | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A live production of the 1975 Broadway musical, "The Wiz," which put a modern spin on the classic "Wizard of Oz" tale with a cast of African-American actors.

Directors: Matthew Diamond, Kenny Leon
Stars: Common, Amber Riley, Uzo Aduba
Adventure | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Teenager Jesse becomes reunited with Willy two years after the whale's jump to freedom as the teenager tries to rescue the killer whale and other orcas from an oil spill.

Director: Dwight H. Little
Stars: Jason James Richter, Michael Madsen, Francis Capra
Free Willy (1993)
Adventure | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

When a boy learns that a beloved killer whale is to be killed by the aquarium owners, the boy risks everything to free the whale.

Director: Simon Wincer
Stars: Jason James Richter, Lori Petty, Michael Madsen
Adventure | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, and 4 more credits »
Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger
Annie (1982)
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A young orphan girl's adventures in finding a family that will take her.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney, Carol Burnett
Adventure | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Kermit and his newfound friends trek across America to find success in Hollywood, but a frog legs merchant is after Kermit.

Director: James Frawley
Stars: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson
Sister Act (1992)
Comedy | Crime | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

When a worldly singer witnesses a mob crime, the police hide her as a nun in a traditional convent where she has trouble fitting in.

Director: Emile Ardolino
Stars: Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Kathy Najimy
Oliver! (1968)
Drama | Family | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

After being sold to a mortician, young orphan Oliver Twist runs away and meets a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Mark Lester, Ron Moody, Shani Wallis
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Diana Ross ... Dorothy
Michael Jackson ... Scarecrow
Nipsey Russell ... Tinman
Ted Ross ... Lion / Fleetwood Coupe de Ville
Mabel King ... Evillene
Theresa Merritt ... Aunt Em
Thelma Carpenter Thelma Carpenter ... Miss One
Lena Horne ... Glinda the Good
Richard Pryor ... The Wiz (Herman Smith)
Stanley Greene Stanley Greene ... Uncle Henry
Clyde J. Barrett Clyde J. Barrett ... Subway Peddler
Derrick Bell Derrick Bell ... The Four Crows
Roderick-Spencer Sibert Roderick-Spencer Sibert ... The Four Crows
Kashka Banjoko Kashka Banjoko ... The Four Crows
Ronald 'Smokey' Stevens Ronald 'Smokey' Stevens ... The Four Crows
Edit

Storyline

Dorothy, a twenty-four-year-old kindergarten teacher, born; raised; and still working in Harlem, is celebrating Thanksgiving with her extended family, but she doesn't seem to be thankful for much in life. She lives a self-imposed sheltered life; she is shy and unfulfilled. Things change for her when she is caught in a snowstorm while chasing after her dog, Toto. They are transported to the mysterious Land of Oz, where she is informed that the only possible way to find her way back home is through the assistance of the powerful wizard in Emerald City. As she goes searching for him, she befriends some creatures who are facing problems in life just as she is. In their quest to find and get help from the wizard, they also face Evillene, the equally evil sister of Evermean, the wicked witch, whom Dorothy inadvertently killed when she arrived in Oz, and who may be their biggest obstacle in achieving their goals. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Wiz! The Stars! The Music! Wow! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 October 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wiz See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$24,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$21,049,053

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,049,053
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The first song that Michael Jackson sings, "You Can't Win," was originally written for the stage version for the Winkies to sing to Dorothy about the futility of escaping from Evillene. The song was cut from the stage version of the musical during previews, but was included in the film as the Scarecrow's song. See more »

Goofs

During the dance scene after Evillene meets her demise, the sweat stains under Dorothy's arms appear and disappear. See more »

Quotes

Scarecrow: [after Tinman's crying] He rusted himself cryin'.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Fitzstephens, Jack ... Music Editor & Guru See more »

Connections

Featured in The 82nd Annual Academy Awards (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Can I Go On Not Knowing?
Written by Quincy Jones, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson
Performed by Diana Ross (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The art of adaptation...
29 January 1999 | by MorlockSee all my reviews

Normally, I feel that it is a travesty to remake an older, classic film (sequels excepted). Profits aside, what is the motive? What is there to add? "The Wiz," however, is one of the few exceptions to my belief. Whereas "The Wizard of Oz" is more of a child's film, the intended audience for "The Wiz" is a few steps above that. Like its predecessor, "The Wiz" is both visually stunning and musically engaging. It compliments the seriousness of its themes and situations--both of which it has in more abundance than its predecessor--with a copious amount of humor. Seldom have I witnessed a more creative work of adaptation than that which is presented by "The Wiz," which is, of course, adapted from L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." A few others that spring to mind are "Logan's Run" and "The War of the Worlds." I mention these not because they were simply a good translation of book to film, but because they maintained the book's overall story (plot, theme, characters, etc.) while retailoring the environment and/or situation. "The Wiz" focuses on the "black situation." It redresses all of the elements from its source material to meet the needs of its revamped, modern, social subject matter. From the Scarecrow, who represents a pitiable, underachieving product of his environment; to the poppies, which represent drug addiction; to the denizens of Oz, who are ready to follow the latest trend just to be "in;" the story presents its audience with a generalized glimpse at the breakdown of "black" culture and society. Though "The Wiz" does not convey the same childlike wonder, magic, and fantasy that both the original film and the novel do, it translates those elements into more of an industrialized, mechanical, inner city playground. Unfortunately, albeit appropriately, the Oz we witness is through an older Dorothy's eyes. Interestingly, due to her advanced age, the circumstances that befall her must be harsher in order to invoke the necessary change of heart. Unlike the setting in "The Wizard of Oz," which exists in our dreams, "somewhere over the rainbow," the setting in "The Wiz" occupies our nightmares. The contrast between Judy Garland's Oz and her native Kansas is many times greater than that between Diana Ross' Oz and her native New York. The incentive to return home is greater for Diana--even though the colorful lure of a fantasy land is not present--since her Oz may be merely a preview of things to come (back home), if she does not start to make a difference. One of the few things for which I did not care was all-too-recognizable, yet modified New York as Oz. Though the entire film's art direction was brilliant, I found New York to be too distracting and too contemporary to be an adequate Oz. Another subject of distaste for me was the "end of slavery" segment after Evillene's liquidation. The song and dance were nice and full of energy, but the symbolism was too literal and seemed out of place with regards to the rest of the film. I could have also enjoyed a bit more denouement and perhaps even an epilogue about Dorothy's reunion with her family. Three interesting notes: 1) The landscape of Oz in "The Wiz" actually does change after Dorothy intervenes to make a difference; this does not happen in "The Wizard of Oz." 2) While Judy's visit to Oz seems to be concussion-induced, Diana actually appears to visit that fabled land, which is closer to the book. 3) "The Wiz" contains all four witches presented in the book; "The Wizard of Oz" only contains three. Though it seems rather dated today, "The Wiz" is still a fun movie to view, and it contains a number of known (Motown) celebrities.


56 of 88 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 156 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed