Ever since its premiere in 1939, The Wizard of Oz has been a critically acclaimed motion picture. It was groundbreaking then and it remains a remarkable achievement in filmmaking to this day.
One of the first reviews of the film appeared on August 18, 1939, in the New York Times, and was written by Frank S. Nugent, American journalist, screenwriter, and film reviewer. He referred to The Wizard of Oz as a “delightful piece of wonder-working which had the youngsters’ eyes shining and brought a quietly amused gleam to the wiser ones of the oldsters.” He went on to write, “Not since Disney’s Snow White has anything quite so fantastic succeeded half so well.”
All these decades later, The Wizard of Oz is still highly praised by critics. In fact, on the film’s Rotten Tomatoes page (Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films, and its name is derived from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes at poor stage performances), The Wizard of Oz has a 100% rating, which is based on 75 reviews by film critics from around the world. The description that appears at the top of the Rotten Tomatoes page for The Wizard of Oz sums it up best: “An absolute masterpiece whose groundbreaking visuals and deft storytelling are still every bit as resonant. A must-see film for young and old.”
Here’s another review worth sharing. This one by famed film critic Roger Ebert appeared in the December 22, 1996 issue of the Chicago Sun-Times: “The Wizard of Oz has a wonderful surface of comedy and music, special effects, and excitement, but we still watch it six decades later because its underlying story penetrates straight to the deepest insecurities of childhood, stirs them, and then reassures them. As adults, we love it because it reminds us of a journey we have taken. That is why any adult in control of a child is sooner or later going to suggest a viewing of The Wizard of Oz.”
If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing The Wizard of Oz, you’ve probably echoed the sentiments of the countless film reviewers who, for over the past 70-plus years, have heaped words of praise on this most celebrated movie.