he Wizard of Oz (1939) is everybody's cherished favorite, perennial fantasy film musical from MGM during its golden years. For many seasons, it was featured regularly on network TV as a prime time event (its first two showings were on CBS television on November 3, 1956 and in December, 1959) and then annually for Thanksgiving, Christmas and/or Easter time. It soon became a classic institution, and a rite of passage for everyone, and probably has been seen by more people than any other motion picture over multiple decades. Initially, however, the film was not commercially successful (at $3 million), but it was critically acclaimed.
All of its images (the Yellow Brick Road, the Kansas twister), characters (e.g., Auntie Em, Toto, Dorothy, the Wicked Witch), dialogue (e.g., "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!", "We're not in Kansas anymore," "Follow the Yellow Brick Road," or the film's final line: "There's no place like home"), and music ("Over the Rainbow") have become indelibly remembered, and the classic film has been honored with dozens of books, TV shows (such as HBO's dramatic prison series Oz), references in other films, and even by pop groups (singer Elton John with his Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road album, or Pink Floyd's 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon).
The film's plot is easily condensed: lonely and sad Kansas farmgirl Dorothy dreams of a better place, without torment against her dog Toto from a hateful neighbor spinster, so she plans to run away. During a fierce tornado, she is struck on the head and transported to a land 'beyond the rainbow' where she meets magical characters from her Kansas life transformed within her unconscious dream state. After travels down a Yellow Brick Road to the Land of Oz, and the defeat of the Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy and her friends are rewarded by the Wizard of Oz with their hearts' desires - and Dorothy is enabled to return home to Kansas.