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Learn English from Movies – The Wizard of Oz!

Learning English from movies is a great way to improve your language skills. You’ll have fun watching the film, and you’ll also learn lots of useful words and expressions. Plus, you’ll improve your listening skills!

One great thing is to watch a film you’ve already seen in your own language. Then, as you already know the story, you can concentrate on understanding the dialogue. So, to help you learn English from movies, we’re looking at a scene from a classic film: The Wizard of Oz.

The film

The Wizard of Oz is the story of a young girl called Dorothy (played by Judy Garland), who is from Kansas, USA. After a tornado hits their home, Dorothy goes on an unusual journey to a magical land. The film is directed by Victor Fleming and is an adaptation from the children’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum and is a perfect example for how to Learn English from Movies.


Before watching the video clip, here are some useful words that will help you understand it.

A spell

A magical power a witch can use to make bad things happen: “The witch cast a spell on him.”


“Slippers” are soft shoes you wear at home. However, in the film, the “ruby (red) slippers” that Dorothy wears are actually shoes. Literally, a ruby is a red jewel: “The witch wants Dorothy’s ruby slippers.”

Drat! (exclamation)

This exclamation can be used to show that you’re angry or annoyed about something:

A: We lost the game.

B: Drat!

An unexpected pleasure

A nice surprise: “You’re here! This is an unexpected pleasure.”

To give back

When returning something: “Give me back my money or I’ll call the police.”

To drown

If someone “drowns”, they die in water: “I almost drowned when I fell into the river.”

To see reason

If someone “sees reason”, they understand that they were wrong before, and they start acting more reasonably and correctly: “I’m glad that you’ve finally seen reason, and admit that you were wrong.”

To get away

To escape: “The police arrested him, but he managed to get away two days later.”

Video activity

 Viewing 1

You’re going to watch a clip from the film The Wizard of Oz. In this scene the Wicked Witch has taken Dorothy’s dog, Toto. She says she’ll only give it back if Dorothy gives her the magical slippers. Watch it once. What happens to the dog in the end?

[Watch the clip up to 1:58 only.]

PS It’s important to watch the clip once without stopping. While doing this, you should try to understand as much as you can. Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything – just try to get the gist of what they say (a general understanding of it). It’s very important that you try to do this. It’ll really help with your listening skills.

Viewing 2

Now, watch the clip again and answer the questions. This time you can stop the video and play it again as many times as you like. [answers below]

  1. Who told Dorothy not to give away her slippers?
  2. What is the name of the dog that belongs to Dorothy?
  3. Why can’t the witch get the ruby slippers?

Viewing 3

Now watch the video and read the script (see below) at the same time, or simply activate the subtitles. This is great for your listening skills!


In pairs, either recreate the dialogue from notes, or invent a new one in which Person A is trying to get something from Person B. This could be something that Person A previously gave Person B. Make notes for your part, and practise in pairs. Then, when you’re ready, perform your mini-dialogue in front of the class, or to a friend or teacher. Remember, only look at your notes – don’t read out the script word for word. This is great for your speaking skills!

Video script

Witch: And you, my dear, what an unexpected pleasure. It’s so kind of you to visit me in my loneliness.
Dorothy: What are you gonna do with my dog? Give him back to me.
W: All in good time, my little pretty. All in good time.
D: Oh, please give me back my dog.
W: Certainly, certainly, when you give me those slippers.
Dorothy: But the Good Witch of the North told me not to.
W: Very well. [To her winged-monkey captain] Throw that basket in the river and drown him.
D: No, no! Here, you can have your old slippers, but give me back Toto!
W: That’s a good little girl. I knew you’d see reason. [The Wicked Witch is electrocuted when she tries to take the slippers.]
D: Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t do it! Can I still have my dog?
W: No! Fool that I am. I should’ve remembered. Those slippers will never come off, as long as you’re alive. But that’s not what’s worrying me. It’s how to do it. These things must be done delicately, or you hurt the spell. [Toto leaps out from the basket and runs out the door]
D: Run, Toto, run!
W: Catch him, you fool! [Toto escapes]
D: He got away! He got away!
W: Ooh, which is more than you will. Drat you and your dog! You’ve been more trouble to me than you’re worth, one way or another, but it’ll soon be over now.
Do you see that? [She holds up a large hourglass timer.] That’s how much longer
you’ve got to be alive. And it isn’t long, my pretty. It isn’t long. I can’t wait forever to get those shoes.


 Viewing 1

The dog escapes.

Viewing 2

  1. Who told Dorothy not to give away her slippers? the Good Witch of the North
  2. What is the name of the dog that belongs to Dorothy? Toto
  3. Why can’t the witch get the ruby slippers? The slippers won’t come off while Dorothy is alive.


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