Story

Dorothy (Judy Garland) is a young girl who lives with her aunt and uncle on a farm in Kansas. A nasty neighbour, Miss Gulch (Margaret Hamilton), threatens to have Dorothy’s dog Toto killed because he bit her. This upsets Dorothy so much that she decides to run away with Toto. On her way she meets Professor Marvel (Frank Morgan), who convinces her to return home to her aunt, who is very worried about her. As Dorothy gets near home, a tornado approaches. Dorothy just manages to get indoors but is knocked out by flying debris.

Dorothy is taken up to the sky inside her home and arrives at the magical land of Oz. There she meets Glinda the good witch (Billie Burke). Glinda tells Dorothy to travel to Emerald City to find the Wizard of Oz, who will help her find the way home. Glinda gives Dorothy a pair of magic ruby slippers to protect her from the Wicked Witch of the West. Dorothy sets off down the yellow brick road to find the Wizard. Along the way she meets a scarecrow who doesn’t have a brain, a tin man who doesn’t have a heart and a lion who doesn’t have any courage. The four of them go to find the Wizard, but along the way they discover that they already have what they’re looking for.

Themes

Separation from family

Violence

This movie has some violence. For example:

  • The Wicked Witch of the West threatens to kill Dorothy.
  • The Wicked Witch throws fire at the scarecrow who is made of straw.
  • The Wicked Witch tries to poison Dorothy and her friends by filling a field with poppies. This makes Dorothy, Toto and the lion fall asleep.
  • The Wicked Witch’s army of lying monkeys attacks Dorothy and carries her to the Witch’s castle, where she is imprisoned.
  • The Wicked Witch again threatens to kill Dorothy and leaves her with an hourglass that shows how much time Dorothy has left.
  • Toto escapes, and the monkeys throw spears at him.
  • There is a battle between the monkeys and the scarecrow, tin man and lion.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight years. For example:

  • Dorothy has to avoid falling trees and flying debris in the tornado.
  • Dorothy’s house is caught up in the tornado and flies up into the sky. Dorothy is very scared and screaming.
  • The Munchkins are singing midgets who look odd and have very high-pitched voices.
  • The Wicked Witch of the West is very scary. She is green, ugly and very mean. She cackles and threatens to kill Dorothy.
  • The trees in the forest have faces and talk.
  • The forest is dark and creepy with screeching owls. Dorothy is afraid of meeting wild animals.
  • The lion is quite scary at first.
  • Dorothy is scared and cries when she’s locked in the castle.
  • At first, the Wizard of Oz appears as a scary face projected on a wall behind flames. He has a loud booming voice.
  • Dorothy throws water on the scarecrow. The water also lands on the Wicked Witch and melts her. She dissolves into a puddle. 

From 8-13

This movie should be OK for this age group. 

Over 13

This movie should be OK for this age group. 

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern 

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

This movie has some mild name-calling. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Wizard of Oz is a musical adventure that will appeal to older children. Some of the content is quite scary and likely to frighten young children.

The main messages from this movie are to face your fears, overcome challenges and understand that what you seek is often already inside you.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include courage, friendship, loyalty, selflessness and self-development.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as how the Wicked Witch is mean and cruel and consequently has no friends. Her flying monkeys are glad when she dies.