The Wizard of Oz at 80: how the world fell under its dark spell

The 1939 classic has inspired everyone from David Lynch to Salman Rushdie. Novelist and super-fan Luiza Sauma explores why the film’s message about home still holds such power

Eighty years ago, in the summer of 1939, 16-year-old Judy Garland appeared on cinema screens as the orphan Dorothy Gale, dreaming of escape from bleak, monochrome Kansas. “Find yourself a place where you won’t get into any trouble,” her aunt beseeches, too busy for poor old Dorothy, who soon breaks into song: “Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue / And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true”. Her wish is soon granted by a tornado that carries her to the gaudy, Technicolor Land of Oz, instilling her as an icon for misfits, migrants, gay kids, dreamers – anyone who has ever wanted to run away.

More than 40 years later, The Wizard of Oz was one of the first films
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