Movie key art of The Wiz
Movie key art of The Wizard of Oz

The Wiz (1978) and The Wizard of Oz (1939) are two film adaptions that stem from the original novel published in 1900 by L. Frank Baum, where Dorothy is projected into the fantasy land of Oz and addressed with positive and negative confrontation along the yellow brick road to get home. While both adaptions are acclaimed for their senses of vivid imagery and song, the Wiz captures the essence of reality by granting their characters the ability to problem-solve and emit the attributes they discredit themselves for. Overall, The Wiz hones to and emphasizes cultural and political issues that translate through storytelling, film set, and costume design.



Dorothy is portrayed as a leader for both films, regardless of the age difference. She builds confidence in helping others with theirs, displays qualities of compassion, and is a companion, but 24-year old dorothy (The Wiz) is more relatable to all audiences because of her age and will to speak up for herself and others.


Both characters hold similar qualities, but Scarecrow of the Wiz is a bit more developed and active in realizing that he was smart all along. On their journey to Oz, he continues to announce moment-specific quotes that signify that he was always knowledgeable, even though his mind is portrayed as trash.


Tin-man expresses the void he longs throughout their journey for both films by crying and needing oil to loosen what his tears rust, but The Wiz's character is more compassionate by crying more and announcing his profound love for Teenie.


Lion is the final encounter along the yellow brick road and he portrayed and introduced himself to have the very thing he lacked, courage. Lion from the Wiz became quick to reflect that nature when it came to saving his new-found companions and assuming his role as a protector.

Cultural and Political Call Outs

“You Can’t Win” is one of the most significant songs in the film because it realistically translates the struggle of someone, in terms of making connections with cultural matters,a young black man, flourishing and making it outside of a broken environment. The scene he is introduced in lacks life in the crops, carries a dullness in color, exudes toxic vibes from the beaks of the crows, and the structures around him are crumbling. Furthermore, he learns that he has shown abilities to be more than the defeated measures of his environment and what he is told to reflect there of.


The Wiz targets a family and companion-oriented feel. The 1978 film in many ways is also more about finding independence and self-love instead.

The Wiz is also more overtly political, it's notably more dramatic in tone than The Wizard of Oz. The Black main characters in The Wiz go through much more troubling circumstances and emotional journeys than the characters in the original source material.