Australian Council on Children and the Media

Wizard of Oz, The

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Not recommended under 5, PG to 8 (Violence, Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Wizard of Oz, The
  • a review of Wizard of Oz, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 24 January 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 5-8 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children over 8 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Wizard of Oz, The
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 98 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Dorothy (Judy Garland) is a young girl who lives with her Aunt and Uncle on a farm in Kansas. A nasty neighbour, Miss Gulch (Margaret Hamilton) threatens to have Dorothy’s dog Toto put down because he bit her. This upsets Dorothy so much she decides to run away with Toto. On the way she meets Professor Marvel (Frank Morgan) who convinces her to return home to her Aunt who is worried sick about her. As she nears home a tornado approaches and Dorothy just manages to get indoors but is knocked out by flying debris.

Dorothy is taken up into the skies inside her home and arrives at the magical land of Oz. There she meets Glinda (Billie Burke) the good witch who tells her she must travel to Emerald City to find the Wizard of Oz who will help her to find her way home. Glinda gives Dorothy a magic pair of ruby slippers to protect her from the Wicked Witch of the West and she sets off down the yellow brick road to find the wizard. Along the way she meets a scarecrow who doesn’t have a brain, a tin man who doesn’t have a heart and a lion who doesn’t have any courage. The four of them go to find the Wizard to help them with all their needs but discover along the way that they already had what they were looking for.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Separation from family

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • The Wicked Witch of the West threatens to kill Dorothy.
  • The Wicked Witch throws fire at the scarecrow who is made of straw.
  • The Wicked Witch tries to poison Dorothy and her friends by filling a field with poppies. This makes Dorothy, Toto and the lion fall asleep.
  • The Wicked Witch’s army of lying monkeys attack Dorothy and carry her to the witch’s castle where she is imprisoned.
  • The Wicked Witch threatens to kill Dorothy again and leaves her with an hour glass which shows how much time she has left.
  • Toto escapes and the monkeys throw spears at him.
  • There is a battle between the monkeys and the scarecrow, Tinman and the lion.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.


In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Dorothy has to avoid falling trees and flying debris in the tornado.
  • Dorothy’s house is caught up in the tornado and flies up into the sky. Dorothy is very scared and screaming.
  • The Munchkins are a group of singing midgets whose appearance is rather odd and their voices are very high pitched.
  • The Wicked Witch of the West is very scary – she is green, ugly and very mean. She cackles and threatens to kill Dorothy.
  • The trees in the forest have faces and talk
  • The forest is dark and creepy with screeching owls– Dorothy is afraid of meeting wild animals.
  • The lion is quite scary at first.
  • Dorothy is scared and cries when she is locked in the castle.
  • The Wizard of Oz is at first a scary projection of a face on a wall behind flames of fire,  with a loud booming voice.
  • Dorothy throws water on the scarecrow which also lands on the Wicked Witch which melts her and she dissolves into a puddle.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be scared or disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

OK for this age group

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

OK for this age group

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • The Wizard calls Dorothy’s friends some derogatory names

In a nutshell

The Wizard of Oz is a musical adventure that will appeal to older children. Some of the content is quite scary and is likely to frighten young children.

The main messages from this movie are to face your fears, overcome challenges and realising that what you seek is often already inside you.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • courage
  • friendship
  • loyalty
  • selflessness
  • developing your own inner abilities

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • The Wicked Witch was mean and cruel and consequently had no friends. Her army of flying monkeys were thankful when she died.

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