“Sidney Lumet's spectacular, joyous production generates a mood of wonder and sentimental rapture recalling the arrival of the Mother Ship in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND.” - Gary Arnold, Washington Post

Saturday, July 20, 3:00 p.m. & Wednesday, July 24, 6:00 p.m. | Lumet’s reimagining of THE WIZARD OF OZ should have been a hit. Adapted from the 1974 Broadway musical of the same name, the film boasted Quincy Jones as the musical supervisor and music producer, and an impressive, all-star cast with Diana Ross as Dorothy, Michael Jackson (in his feature film debut) as Scarecrow, Nipsey Russell as Tin Man, Ted Ross as Cowardly Lion, and Richard Pryor as The Wiz. A vibrant and assured twist on the classic, THE WIZ was a failure upon theatrical release, with critics taking issue with the new soul and R&B-influenced soundtrack, Diana Ross’ age, and with the modern day Queens setting. Audiences knew better. The film became a cult classic, with fans praising THE WIZ for transforming a familiar story into a film with cultural resonance for Black audiences, for featuring stellar performances against a contemporary and lively backdrop, and for imbuing "There’s no place like home" with renewed meaning for generations of viewers. Brought in to direct the film after John Badham (SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER) dropped the project, Lumet helmed an imaginative, Afro-Futurist vision of New York that has been rightly embraced again, with a new Broadway version premiering on stage this April.

Awards & Nominations

Nominee - Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Music, Original Song Score, Academy Awards

Sidney Lumet CentennialSidney Lumet (1924–2011) was a director driven by stories of morality. Corrupt systems vs. brave protagonists, the worst of men pitted against the best, honesty in the face of hypocrisy—Lumet’s filmography reflects his dedication to championing what is true and what is just in this harsh world. To celebrate his centennial, we present 12 films by the Oscar-winning filmmaker, June 1–August 21View full series

The Film Center is ADA accessible. This presentation will be projected without open captions. The theater is hearing-loop equipped. For accessibility requests, please email filmcenter@saic.edu