The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed primarily by Victor Fleming from a script mostly by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf, with uncredited contributions by others.
The Wizard of Oz was based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, who died twenty years before the film was released. It features Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr and Frank Morgan, with Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charles Grapewin, Clara Blandick and the Singer Midgets as the Munchkins. Notable for its use of special effects, Technicolor, fantasy storytelling and unusual characters, The Wizard of Oz has become, over the years, one of the best-known of all films. It has several genuinely terrifying scenes, even though others were cut from the released picture.
Although it received largely positive reviews, won three Academy Awards, and was nominated for Best Picture of the Year, The Wizard of Oz was initially a box office failure. The film was MGM's most expensive production up to that time, but its initial release failed to recoup the studio's investment. Subsequent re-releases made up for that, however. "Over the Rainbow" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the film itself received several Academy Award nominations.
Telecasts of The Wizard of Oz began in 1956, re-introducing the film to the public and eventually becoming an annual tradition, making it one of the most famous films ever made. The Library of Congress named The Wizard of Oz the most-watched motion picture in history, and it is often ranked among the top ten best movies of all-time in various critics' and popular polls, providing many memorable quotes of both modern American and world popular culture.