The Wizard Of Oz ‘most influential' movie ever made

The magical musical tops a league table of 47,000 films compiled by scientists.

The classic 1939 musical The Wizard Of Oz, starring Judy Garland, is the most influential movie of all time, a study has found.

Famous for the munchkins, its early use of colour, and timeless songs such as Over The Rainbow, the movie beat nearest rivals Star Wars and Psycho in a league table of 47,000 films.

Researchers at the University of Turin in Italy calculated an “influence score” for films listed in the internet movie database (IMDb).

Each movie was placed in order according to how often it was referenced by a later film.

The results showed that the top 20 most influential films were all produced before 1980, mostly in the US.

A computer programme was used which treated movies as nodes in a network and measured how connected they were to other influential films.

Lead researcher Dr Livio Bioglio said: “We propose an alternative method to box office takings, which are affected by factors beyond the quality of the film such as advertising and distribution,  and reviews, which are ultimately subjective, for analysing the success of a film.

“We have developed an algorithm that uses references between movies as a measure for success, and which can also be used to evaluate the career of directors, actors and actresses, by considering their participation in top-scoring movies.”

Applying the algorithm to actors instead of movies, Samuel L. Jackson, Clint Eastwood and Tom Cruise were ranked the top three.

Samuel L. Jackson
Applying the algorithm to actors instead of movies, Samuel L. Jackson was ranked in the top three (Ian West/PA)

The only female in the top 10 was Lois Maxwell, who played the recurring role of Miss Moneypenny in James Bond films.

Dr Bioglio said: “The scores of top-ranked actresses tend to be lower compared to their male colleagues.

“The only exceptions were musical movies, where results show moderate gender equality, and movies produced in Sweden, where actresses ranked better compared to actors.”

The researchers, whose findings are reported in the journal Applied Network Science, cautioned that IMDb data was strongly biased towards films produced in western countries.

The Wizard Of Oz is based on L. Frank Baum’s children’s book The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, published in 1900.

It features Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, an ordinary Kansas girl who is spirited away to the magical Land of Oz by a tornado.

Setting off on the Yellow Brick Road to find the Wizard of Oz, she befriends a scarecrow in search of a brain, a tin man looking for a heart, and a cowardly lion in need of courage.

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