‘The Wizard of Oz’ to return to theaters for 80th anniversary

The Wizard of Oz” is returning to theaters this weekend for a special limited engagement marking the 80th anniversary of the film’s Hollywood premiere. Fathom Events, TCM, and Warner Bros. are re-releasing the beloved family film in select theaters across the country beginning on Sunday, Jan. 27, with additional dates on Tuesday, Jan. 29, and Wednesday Jan. 30. You can see showtimes and reserve tickets here.

Based on the L. Frank Baum children’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” (read the book here), “The Wizard of Oz” premiered in August of 1939, and dazzled audiences and critics alike. In his original review for Variety, movie critic John C. Flinn Sr. wrote, “Nothing comparable has come out of Hollywood in the past few years to approximate the lavish scale of this filmusical extravaganza, in the making of which the ingenuity and inventiveness of technical forces were employed without stint of effort or cost… Some of the scenic passages are so beautiful in design and composition as to stir audiences by their sheer unfoldment.”

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Judy Garland
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Judy Garland
Headshot of American actor and singer Judy Garland (1922-1969) wearing a bracelet, circa 1950s. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Comic actor Jimmy Durante (1893 - 1980) with child star Judy Garland (1922 - 1969), the entertainer and leading lady. (Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)
circa 1931: Judy Garland (1922 - 1969) formerly Frances Gumm was part of a show biz family that toured in vaudeville. She starred in 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'A Star is Born' . She married five times, and though a legendary performer, had a reputation for being difficult. Viewed at a tea party. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American actors Bert Lahr (1895 - 1967) (far right), Ray Bolger (1904 - 1987) (back row, right), Judy Garland (1922 - 1969) (sitting, right), composer Harold Arlen (1905 - 1986) (sitting left), and various MGM and music publishing executives sing songs from the 1939 film musical 'The Wizard of Oz' around a microphone in the NBC radio studio, circa 1939. (Image by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
1945: Film director Vincente Minnelli (1903 - 1986) kisses singer and actress Judy Garland (1922 - 1969) on the brow at their wedding. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
1944: American film actress Judy Garland (Frances Ethel Gumm, 1922 - 1969) at home answering fan mail. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American actor and singer Judy Garland (1922-1969) holds her hands up near her face, circa 1950s.(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
17th October 1957: American film star and entertainer Judy Garland (1922 - 1969) performing on stage at the Dominion Theatre in London. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Keystone/Getty Images)
American actor and singer Judy Garland (1922-1969) stands arm in arm with actor Rosalind Russell (1907 - 1906), circa 1960s. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
6th April 1951: Judy Garland, born Frances Gumm (1922-1969), US film actress and singer, at the Dorchester Hotel. (Photo by Express/Express/Getty Images)
8th April 1951: American actress and singer Judy Garland (1922 - 1969) holds her hat on as she takes a walk in London in strong winds. (Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
circa 1955: Singer and film star, Judy Garland (1922 - 1969) at an airport. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
17th October 1957: Hollywood entertainer Judy Garland, 'Miss Showbusiness' as she is known, performing at the opening of her new show at the Dominion theatre in London. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
American actress and singer Judy Garland (1922 - 1969), in her London hotel suite. She arrived with her three children Joey, Lorna and Liza, following a reported attempt by her husband, producer Sid Luft, to declare her 'an unfit mother'. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
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“The Wizard of Oz” went on to be nominated for six Oscars at the 1940 Academy Awards, including best picture, though it lost out to “Gone With the Wind.” It did take home a trophy for original song for “Over the Rainbow” (stream or download here) and original score (stream or download here). According to the Library of Congress, “The Wizard of Oz” is the most-seen film in movie history.

The 80th anniversary release will include a new introduction from Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz, as well as post-film observations from Mankiewicz, helping to highlight some of the main storylines from the movie, as well as revealing some behind-the-scenes details from the making of the film.

According to Tom Lucas, Fathom Events VP of studio relations, the anniversary screenings will give fans “the joy of seeing the film on the big screen, as it was meant to be seen,” while also revisiting some of the movie’s pertinent themes, which continue to ring true today.

“1939 is often referred to as the true zenith of the Hollywood studio system,” Lucas says, “and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ represents this moment by bringing together the very best talent – both in front of and behind the camera – to create one of the greatest films of all time. At its core, this film touches on some deep human truths about the need for connection and belonging, the importance of bravery and believing in yourself.”

“The Wizard of Oz” is the first title in Fathom’s yearlong “TCM Big Screen Classics” series. As reported by Variety last month, other titles screening this year include “My Fair Lady,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Ben-Hur,” “True Grit,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Field of Dreams,” “Glory,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Alien,” “The Godfather Part II,” and “When Harry Met Sally.”

Tickets to the 80th anniversary screenings of “The Wizard of Oz” are selling quickly. See showtimes and reserve tickets here. Can’t make it to the theater this weekend? Amazon is currently offering “The Wizard of Oz” on Blu-ray for just $7.99.

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