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Every Main Wizard Of Oz Character Ranked By Charm

If there's one film from the Golden Age of Hollywood that's made the most impact on modern filmmaking, it's 1939's "The Wizard of Oz." Helmed by "Gone With The Wind" director Victor Fleming and starring Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, "The Wizard of Oz" is a master class of movie-making, filled with fantastical settings, memorable music, and plenty of winsome characters. As the story shifts from sepia-toned Kansas to glorious Technicolor Oz, Dorothy encounters all manner of wonders. But if she ever wants to return to Depression-era Kansas, she must take on the dastardly Wicked Witch of the West.

Although there have been countless adaptations of L. Frank Baum's iconic Oz stories, "The Wizard of Oz" is by far the most well-known and beloved. What has made it such an enduring success? It's simple: The characters. Dorothy meets a wide variety of colorful Oz citizens, from the merry Munchkinlanders to the dreamily benevolent Glinda the Good Witch. But some of these fantastical figures leave more of an impression than others. Who reigns supreme? Get ready to hop on the yellow brick road and follow us as we find out. These are the main characters of "The Wizard of Oz," ranked by charm.

9. The Wicked Witch of the West

There isn't a character with less charm in "The Wizard of Oz" than Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West, however much fans of "Wicked" might disagree. This unnamed sorceress couldn't care less about the death of her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East — she's only after the ruby slippers that gave her such enormous power. Armed with her flying broomstick, a host of magical abilities, and an army of foot soldiers and flying monkeys, the Wicked Witch of the West terrorizes everyone who lays eyes on her. No doubt, this is the reason she's excluded from all the happenings in Munchkinland.

The Wicked Witch wants Dorothy's head, though she conveniently belabors her execution. She also tortures and torments the young Kansan's traveling companions. Even the Witch's own armed forces seem to despise her, as they simply let Dorothy and her friends wander off with her magical broomstick after they send the Witch to her death. Not even the flying monkeys seem to shed a tear. But of course, they had to listen to that infamously blood-curdling screech every day of their lives. Yikes.

It's also worth noting that the Wicked Witch's real-world counterpart, the horrible Almira Gulch, is almost worse than the Witch herself. She demands Toto's head, and is the cause of Dorothy's distress and subsequent decision to run away. Almira manages to upset just about every character on screen. Not much charm in this one, that's for sure.

8. Auntie Em and Uncle Henry

To be fair to Dorothy's kindly old relatives, we don't see a whole lot of them: Auntie Em (Clara Blandick) and Uncle Henry (Charley Grapewin) are confined to Kansas. We also don't know much about why Dorothy lives with her aunt and uncle, who seem to be the only family she has. We can guess, however, that the hardships of the Great Depression — happening at full blast in Kansas at this point — probably have something to do with it. Em and Henry seem to love Dorothy, and have solid relationships with their farmhands. But, as their encounter with Almira Gulch reveals, they aren't exactly known for their charm.

They're also the only denizens of the real world who don't have counterparts in the world of Oz. This makes sense, though, as the story's entire premise regards Dorothy's attempts to get home to her family. But even though they're pivotal to Dorothy's desire to make it back to Kansas, aside from the opening and closing moments of the feature, they only briefly appear on the Wicked Witch's crystal ball. Naturally, the Witch appears soon after and mocks Dorothy's pain.

No doubt, Auntie Em and Uncle Henry are kind folks. Henry even seems to have a sense of humor. But they just don't have that magical charisma that many of the other characters do. That doesn't make them any less important to the story, but it does put them lower on this list than most.

7. The Wizard of Oz

If you're a powerful Wizard who rules over an entire kingdom, you must have some sort of charm that makes your subjects adore you. Though, if the giant floating head is all the Emerald City citizens know, then chances are, they obey more out of fear than love. In any event, the Wizard's projected alias isn't exactly the most welcoming character in "The Wizard of Oz," which knocks him down a few points here. However, the man behind the curtain is a bit more inviting.

Played by Frank Morgan, the Wizard is revealed to be nothing other than an ordinary man from Kansas, who accidently traveled to Oz in a hot air balloon. Upon being discovered, he immediately grants Dorothy's companions their wishes, and vows to help get the young girl back home. Of course, he takes off without her, but that's not exactly his fault. It's also worth noting that Morgan plays the Emerald City's gatekeeper, carriage driver, and the man who guard's the Wizard's chamber. It's implied that all of these characters may even be the Wizard himself. If that's true, then the Wizard's a bit more of a charmer than we initially thought. As it stands, the film's titular character — and his real-world counterpart, Professor Marvel — is good-hearted at his core, even if he scares the dickens out of the Cowardly Lion.

6. The Cowardly Lion

The Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) is one of the most lovable members of Dorothy's quartet, and certainly the most cuddly. When Dorothy and the gang first meet the Lion, he nearly rips the group (and Toto) apart with one hand tied behind his back. Though this is a façade meant to bring courage to the Cowardly Lion's heart, it's a bit off-putting and pits the group against him. But then Dorothy bops the lion on the nose, shaming him for tormenting her friends.

Upon joining forces with the group, the Cowardly Lion and his secret courage become pivotal to their success. While in the Emerald City, he even encourages his newfound friends with a bit of song. Though he might not be the most charming figure in the heroic bunch, the Cowardly Lion gives off his own brand of charisma that turns him from foe to friend in the blink of an eye.

Although they're vastly different characters, the Cowardly Lion's counterpart in Dorothy's world, farmhand Zeke, is possibly even more charming than the lion. Not only does he save Dorothy from being trampled by pigs, he encourages her when she's worried about Toto's safety from the vile Almira Gulch. Zeke might not be as cuddly as the lion, but he's got the same warm heart.

5. The Munchkins

It might be shocking to see the citizens of Munchkinland so high on this list, but the truth is, these guys are the most wonderful introduction to Oz Dorothy could ever get. Even as they gleefully sing about the death of the Wicked Witch of the East, they do so with a sort of innocent charm that makes us wish we could spend a bit more time in Munchkinland. But, alas, we're unable to stay, as Dorothy quickly follows the yellow brick road on her way to meet the Wizard.

What makes these little guys so charming? Well, for starters, they throw Dorothy a massive celebration, featuring candy, a parade, and a special thank you for killing their captor. While the Wicked Witch of the West's forces simply allow Dorothy and her friends to take the Witch's broomstick and leave her realm unharmed, the subjects of the Wicked Witch of the East are utterly overjoyed by their salvation and eager to make sure that Dorothy knows it. It sort of makes you wonder why no one ever tried to help these folks before.

4. The Tin Man

The second member of Dorothy's band of misfits, the Tin Man (Jack Haley) is found in the forest, having endured an unfortunate bout of rain that rusted all his joints. Thankfully, Dorothy and the Scarecrow are able to help him out, which results in an immediate dance number by the metal man. The Tin Man is a pretty delightful fellow, and a trusty companion from the get-go. Though he's saddened by his lack of a heart, he immediately jumps on the chance to help Dorothy find her way back home.

As the Wizard says to the Tin Man, "A heart is not judged by how much you love, but how much you are loved by others." This is certainly true of the metal lumberjack who puts his own life and happiness on the line for Dorothy. There's just something irresistibly lovable about the Tin Man that you can't quite put your finger on. But in the end, it doesn't matter: He's simply the most heartfelt member of the group, and this fact shines through in every single one of his scenes. In the books, the Tin Man even refuses to hurt bugs in his quest for a heart.

Back in Kansas, the Tin Man's counterpart is farmhand Hickory, who jokes and jollies with Dorothy (and tries Auntie Em's patience). There's no doubt that his sunshiny role in Dorothy's life heavily influences her strange and memorable encounters in the Land of Oz.

3. Glinda the Good Witch

While Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, doesn't have that much screen time in "The Wizard of Oz," her impact on the characters is paramount to their ultimate success. Played by Billie Burke, Glinda is the first person Dorothy meets in Oz, and the one who bestows the famous ruby slippers upon her, against the Wicked Witch's protests. Glinda encourages Dorothy to see the Wizard of Oz so that she might learn something about herself in the process, which indeed comes to pass.

Though she only aids Dorothy and her friends on one distinct occasion, it is Glinda who sends snow to the poppy fields so that Dorothy isn't captured by the Wicked Witch. She also makes an appearance in the Emerald City at the end of the film, when she reveals that Dorothy has been able to get back home all along. As a friend to the Munchkins, the kindly witch uses her benevolent abilities for the forces of truth and sweetness, rather than evil. This apparently means she must stay out of the workings of Oz in order to let good triumph on its own accord.

As one of the only characters without a real-world counterpart, Glinda is a wise mentor to the young Kansas farm girl. Her delightful presence brings Dorothy immediate calm amidst her new surroundings. Without Glinda's guidance, Dorothy might never make it to the Wizard, or back home.

2. Dorothy Gale (and Toto too)

Judy Garland's iconic portrayal of Dorothy Gale has captivated audiences for the better part of a century. Her innocence, childlike wonder, and farm girl charm make her one of the most endearing characters in movie history, and the center of one of the best movies Garland ever made. Dorothy's endearing charisma is so strong, it makes friends out of goofy Scarecrows, immobile Tin Men, and vicious Cowardly Lions. In fact, Dorothy is able to convince almost everyone to help her along the way, barring the Wicked Witch and some grumpy trees.

Throughout her time in Oz, Dorothy instantly gains favor with almost everybody she meets, including the Wicked Witch's own armed forces. Though her magic slippers may have something to do with this, a better explanation is that Dorothy just wears her heart on her very short sleeves and genuinely cares about the well-being of others. Whether you call this charm or empathy, given her life circumstances, it's something of a miracle that Dorothy is as caring and wonderful as she is.

Maybe it's her country girl attitude that makes Dorothy such a powerful presence. Maybe it's her persistence in the face of danger. Heck, maybe Toto is the real star here. Regardless, Dorothy Gale has been at the forefront of the cultural zeitgeist since 1939, and is the heart of "The Wizard of Oz."

1. The Scarecrow

The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger) is the very first true friend Dorothy makes on her travels through Oz. He is by far the most charming citizen in the magical land, and it's not even a close call. Despite his name, the Scarecrow isn't very scary. But he makes up for that deficit with fierce loyalty, which proves paramount on Dorothy's journey to the Emerald City. Though the Cowardly Lion is most often associated with courage, the Scarecrow might be the most courageous of the bunch. He faces the flame on a number of occasions, for the sake of his friends and getting Dorothy home.

From the moment they set off to see the Wizard, the Scarecrow's boyish charm, surprisingly refined dance numbers, and do-gooder attitude make him the most charming of the bunch. Like Dorothy, he makes fast friends and is incredibly single-minded — especially since he doesn't have any brains. Only the Scarecrow keeps his cool and calls for air during his friend's deep sleep in the poppy field. He also displays clever ingenuity when he devises the plan to save Dorothy from the Wicked Witch's clutches.

The Scarecrow's real-world counterpart Hunk is arguably the most heartfelt of the Gale family's farmhands, which clearly influences Dorothy's fantastical straw-stuffed pal. No wonder she expects to miss the Scarecrow most of all.