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The Wiz (1978) [VHS]

4.4 out of 5 stars 987 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Mabel King
  • Directors: Sidney Lumet
  • Writers: Joel Schumacher, L. Frank Baum, William F. Brown
  • Producers: Berry Gordy, Burtt Harris, Kenneth Harper, Rob Cohen
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Rated:
    General Audience
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • VHS Release Date: March 1, 1992
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (987 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1558801235
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,798 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


Though it may be thought of as sacrilegious to remake a classic such as The Wizard of Oz, this 1978 film directed by Sidney Lumet (The Pawnbroker, Serpico) is a vibrant and entertaining retelling of the modern fable, featuring an all black cast in the familiar story of a rural small-town girl whose dreams transport her to a magical world where the battle between good and evil gives the real world a sense of perspective. Rendered in the style of a musical (based on a successful Broadway run), the film benefits from using new contemporary music from stars Diana Ross (Mahogany, Lady Sings the Blues) as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the shy Scarecrow, with music arranged by Quincy Jones. This visually and musically exciting film is less a remake than a reinvention that stands and dances very well on its own. --Robert Lane

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andrew P. Catton on February 13, 2008
Format: DVD
This, the 30th Anniversary release of THE WIZ, is a far improved print from the earlier DVD release. The colors of each scene are bright and crisp, and the graininess has been cleaned a great deal. Included with this edition is a soundtrack CD featuring SOME of the songs from the film. Those expecting the entire soundtrack may be disappointed to see that they only get a small percentage of the original songs.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I know I've already reviewed the old DVD, but I would like to have a good read for the Anniversary (even though I'm late for it).
If you've read my old review, you'll notice that I like this movie, even though I agree there could have been some improvements.

"The Wiz" movie was released into cinemas on October 24 1978, so now the film IS over 30 years old.

This New DVD, with a great new cover AND SHINY Slipcase - better than the one I designed in a letter to Universal mentioned in the old review - is both a great gift, and a slight disappointment:

GREAT: As said before the Picture and Sound have been Restored, so that you can see the shots and hear soundtrack more clearly - until now I never even noticed Dorothy/Diana removing her ear-rings upon deciding to kill Evilene! - and the colours certainly do appear CLEANER. You'd be surprised at how much better this new picture is compared to before!

DISAPPOINTMENT: I was hoping to see a slightly wider and longer version of the picture, but close comparison and attention have shown that the image is slightly zoomed in - look at the edges (sides and top/bottom) in the wide shot of Dorothy in her Emerald City Motel room for example, and you'll notice a bit missing. And when we see Dorothy and Toto being transported across the screen from New York to Oz, that is the one time it looks more-or-less the same as the old DVD (despite better detail and cleaner picture).
And as Diana finishes singing "I wish I was . . . " in 'Soon As I Get Home', I noticed how her lips mouth 'home'; Unfortunately, it seems she didn't say 'home' and that moment remains unspoken even in restoration.
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Format: DVD
If you are a fan of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Disco Music and Broadway Musicals, then this is a must-see film.

Based on the 1975 Broadway show and filmed entirely on location in New York City back in 1977, the film was released in 1978 to mixed reviews. Even though it was not a box-office smash, this film has become somewhat of a cult-classic over the years to millions.

The Quincy Jones-produced score still sounds as fresh today as it did 30 years ago, and the visual effects were way ahead of their time when this film was made.

The film's "Emerald City Sequence" musical number, which featured most of the main cast and hundreds of dancers, was shot in the plaza between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Like so many films that were shot over the years on or near the now "Ground Zero" site in Lower Manhattan, prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, this film may bring back memories of that fateful day. But at the same time it should also be a reminder of how much more at peace the world seemed to be all those years ago.

I have always enjoyed watching this film over the years, but like so many films that we have come to love, that were filmed on that site prior to 9/11, it is sad that even our culture in movies has been tarnished by the events of 9/11 as well.
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Format: DVD
OK, OK...I will admit that I trashed this movie over in the VHS section, but understand my only copy was one that I taped from a television showing and it had been badly butchered (edited) by the network to fit the time slot. So my most recent memory of The Wiz has been this terrible copy of this 1978 musical.
I recently decided to give it another chance to win me over. I purchased the DVD version, and I must admit this new, crisp, complete film with its remastered soundtrack, is a much more watchable and entertaining experience.
We all know the story, Dorothy goes to Oz via whirling snowstorm, meets up with band of misfits who through their harrowing experiences together learn they can all be better than they had ever imagined. And that life can be good no matter where you live.
In the past, the cropped version diminished the entire focus of the story, and made it feel dark, and claustrofobic but now
the Widescreen format greatly enhances the scope of the movie, giving it a more important feel. The color is so much brighter than before that I couldn't believe all the details I had missed that are now clearly visable. The scene where the Munchkins come alive off the Grafitti wall, is really very cool.
There are entire scenes I had forgotten about that are now included, like the one where Dorothy and others are in the OZ motel room talking about having to kill Evilene. I had not seen that one since 1978, and had forgotten it entirely.
I still have problems with some of the performances, and I still believe that it was poorly edited, but all in all I was very impressed with the brand new feel of this movie and if you have not seen it in the DVD format, do so, you will be suprised at the difference. I am now looking forward to seeing it again and again.
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