The Wiz is a 1978 American musical film produced by Motown Productions and Universal Pictures, and released by Universal on October 24, 1978. An urbanized retelling of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz featuring an entirely African-American cast, The Wiz was adapted from the 1975 Broadway musical of the same name. The film follows the adventures of Dorothy, a shy schoolteacher from Harlem, New York who finds herself magically transported to the wonderland of Oz — which resembles a fantasy version of New York City. Befriended by a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Cowardly Lion, Dorothy travels through the world of Oz to seek an audience with the mysterious "Wiz", who they say has the power to take her home.
Critics panned The Wiz upon its October 1978 release. Many reviews directed their criticism at Diana Ross; whom they believed was too old to play Dorothy. Michael Jackson's performance as the Scarecrow was one of the only positively reviewed elements of the film, with critics noting that Jackson possessed "genuine acting talent" and "provided the only genuinely memorable moments. The film also received a positive critique for its elaborate set design.