The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939)
This 1939 musical fantasy epic film is the most well-known and commercially successful adaptation of the 1900 novel, The Wonderdful World of Oz by L. Frank Baum. The film starred a young Judy Garland as Dorothy, Terry the Dog as Toto, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Jack Haley as Tin Man, Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion, Billie Burke as Glinda, Frank Morgan as the Wizard, Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West and Clara Blandick as Auntie Em. Produced for over $2.7 million, The Wizard of Oz was MGM’s most expensive production (at the time). The Wizard of Oz did not recoup MGM’s initial investment, it took numerous re-releases for the film to become the American classic and earn the esteem it holds today. The Wizard of Oz won an Oscar for Best Original Song (Over the Rainbow). The Library of Congress named the film the most viewed motion picture on television syndication. In 1989, it was included in the inaugural year for the National Film Registry.