As the estimated number of movies in existence in the 21st century is about 500,000, the one I like most is The Wizard of Oz. Released in August of 1939, The Wizard of Oz was directed by Victor Fleming, who is also well known for his directing of Gone with the Wind. With a colossal budget of 2.78 million dollars, the original cast included Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, Margaret Hamilton as the wicked witch of the west, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Jack Haley as the tin man, Bert Lahr as the Cowardly lion, and Frank Morgan as the Wizard.
Another reason the Wizard of Oz is what I believe to be one of the best movies of all time is the fact that it is an allegory of the Populist Movement in The United States. Each character, setting, and entity represents a different aspect of what was going on in the United States during the mid to late 1800s. The main character in the story, Dorothy Gale, represents the ordinary naﶥ American people during the populist movement. Scarecrow is symbolic of the American Farmers who were often uneducated and the tin man represents the industrial workers. Tin man needs oil to be life-like and during the populist movement, the industrial workers needed money to live and since their main motive was gain as much wealth as possible, they often became heartless. Represented as the cowardly lion, William Jennings Bryan was a congressman during the populist movement who was often portrayed as cowardly because he wouldnt support the war in Spain and ran for president but was never elected. This is portrayed when the Lion is wanting to get to Emerald city, or to Washington, D.C. The main characters are traveling to the Emerald city, or The Capital of The United States, following the yellow brick road, which symbolizes the gold standard.
I think Judy Garland does a great job as depicting the role as Dorothy. In the beginning of the movie when Dorothy first puts on the slippers and the wicked witch of the west is confronting her about killing her sister and stealing the ruby slippers, Dorothy is unaware and naﶥ of what she has done. During the populist movement, the American people were very naﶥ of the corrupt government. Burt Lahr, as the Lion, shows how he attempts to be courageous but fails and we see how cowardly he really is, much like William Jennings Bryan. As the Scarecrow, Ray Bolger shows how the American farmers had ambition but no education to fulfill their desires. The tin man character, played by Jack Haley, shows the industrial workers making excuses for their heartless behavior and greed.
I believe that Victor Flemings reason for directing The Wizard of Oz was to accurately portray symbolism for the Populist movement. Each character and object in the movie we can directly relate to an event, problem, or person during the 1800s. Entertainment is also a purpose. With the catchy songs and newly established Technicolor, people all over the United States were awaiting the release of the movie.
Overall, the perception of The Wizard of Oz from the audience and the critics was very positive. Being one of the first movies filmed in Technicolor, the audience was very amused by all the new colors. When the movie was first aired on TV in 1939, over a million viewers watched, making the movie an American classic. I think one of my favorite parts about the movie is the soundtrack. When the twister comes and the scene outside of Dorothys window is happening, the music sets the mood. You can also learn from the movie that sometimes, the things you want most are right in front of you. You just have to believe in yourself. For years to come and even still existing today, The Wizard of Oz remains an American classic and my favorite movies.