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The Wizard (film)

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Todd Holland

Music director
J. Peter Robinson


United States Japan


Adventure, Comedy, Drama

David Chisholm

David Chisholm


The Wizard (film) movie poster

Release date
December 15, 1989 (1989-12-15) (United States)

Fred Savage
(Corey Woods),
Luke Edwards
(Jimmy Woods),
Beau Bridges
(Sam Woods),
Christian Slater
(Nick Woods),
Jenny Lewis
Vince Trankina

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They're on a cross-country adventure to the world's greatest video championship. It's more than a's the chance of a lifetime.

The wizard official trailer 1 wendy phillips movie 1989 hd

The Wizard is a 1989 American adventure comedy-drama family film directed by Todd Holland, written by David Chisholm, and starring Fred Savage, Christian Slater, Jenny Lewis, Beau Bridges, and Luke Edwards. It was also Tobey Maguire's film debut.


The Wizard (film) movie scenes

The film follows three children as they travel to California. The youngest of the three is emotionally withdrawn with a gift for playing video games. The Wizard is famous for its extensive product placement of video games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The film was also well known for being North America's introduction to what would become one of the best-selling video games of all time, Super Mario Bros. 3. Over time, the film has gained something of a cult following.

The Wizard (film) movie scenes

Send me an angel scene from the wizard 1989 film


The Wizard (film) movie scenes

Jimmy Woods (Luke Edwards) is a young boy who is suffering from PTSD following the drowning death of his twin sister, Jennifer, two years prior to when the film takes place. He is emotionally withdrawn, does not interact with anyone, rarely speaks, spends most of his time building things out of blocks or boxes, and he always carries his lunch box with him. He persistently runs away from home in an effort to get to California for reasons unknown, with the local police department apprehending him each time and returning him to his mother and step-father. The trauma brought on by Jennifer's death and Jimmy's resulting condition have broken up his family; he lives with his mother Christine Bateman and stepfather, while his half-brothers Corey (Fred Savage) and Nick (Christian Slater) live with their father Sam (Beau Bridges), who operates his own landscaping business. Corey faces problems of his own at home as his brother and father frequently clash over the rules of the house, which Nick flouts by stealing Sam's pickup truck at night. It's also hinted that Nick is succumbing to alcohol abuse in the wake of Jennifer's death, for which he possibly blames himself as he was supposed to be supervising Jimmy and Jennifer at the time of the tragedy. When Jimmy is put into an institution, Corey breaks him out and runs away with him to California. Christine and her husband hire Putnam, a greedy and sleazy runaway-child bounty hunter, to bring back only Jimmy; he competes with Sam and Nick to find the boys, which frequently leads to sabotage and even violent physical confrontations.

The Wizard (film) movie scenes

Along the way, Corey and Jimmy meet a girl named Haley Brooks, who is on her way home to Reno. After discovering that Jimmy has an innate skill for playing video games, Haley (who nicknames him "the Wizard") tells them about "Video Armageddon", a video-game tournament being held at Univeral Studios in Los Angeles with a $50,000 grand prize. She agrees to help the two reach Los Angeles to participate in exchange for half of the prize money. Haley suggests that if Jimmy wins the video game tournament, it will prove that Jimmy does not need to live in an institution. The trio hitchhike across the country, using Jimmy's skill and diminutive appearance to hustle people out of their money by playing video games. In doing so, they encounter Lucas Barton, a popular and snobbish preteen gamer who owns a Power Glove and shows his skills at Rad Racer. Lucas tells Haley that he, too, will be entering the tournament in LA.

The Wizard (film) movie scenes

They finally arrive in Reno. With the help of her trucker friend, Spankey (Frank McRae), they use money won at the craps tables to train Jimmy on several games in the Reno arcades, using Nintendo PlayChoice-10 machines. After a difficult search, Putnam catches up with the trio but Haley publicly accuses him of sexual harrasement, and they escape to Haley's house, which is revealed to be nothing more than a trailer in the desert. Haley tells Corey that her mother (now deceased) was a degenerative gambler, and that she needs her share of the prize money in order to help her father purchase a house. Putnam tracks them down at Haley's home, but is thwarted again when Haley calls her father's trucker friends who beat up Putnam. Spankey then drives Haley, Corey, and Jimmy to Los Angeles for the tournament.

Upon arriving, Haley and Corey register Jimmy for the tournament, which is held at Universal Studios Hollywood's Spartacus Square, and Jimmy qualifies as a finalist after a preliminary round of Ninja Gaiden. In between rounds, Putnam chases the kids through the park, nearly causing Jimmy to miss the final round. The Woodses, the Batemans, and Putnam convene in the crowd as Jimmy competes with Lucas and another finalist in a game of Super Mario Bros. 3, which at the time had not been released in the United States. Jimmy wins the tournament at the last second after finding a Warp Whistle and getting the star, thereby winning the $50,000 grand prize.

On their way home, the family passes by the Cabazon Dinosaurs, a tourist trap, which prompts Jimmy to begin frantically exclaiming, "California! California!" leading the Batemans to pull over. He runs from the car up into one of the dinosaurs with his family in pursuit. Inside, Corey finds Jimmy looking at the photographs of Jennifer that he carries in his lunchbox. One of the photos is of the entire family taken at the foot of the Cabazon Dinosaurs, and Corey realizes he simply wanted to leave his sister's mementos in a place where she was happy. Jimmy wanted to say good-bye and why he wanted to travel to California. He leaves the lunchbox inside the dinosaur and, at Christine's request, Sam drives the boys and Haley home. Haley kisses Jimmy and Corey after which Jimmy kisses Haley on her cheek as she laughs.


Filming took place between June 5 and July 25, 1989. Lee Hartney from The Smith Street Band was nearly cast in the lead role, but due to location conflicts was never officially offered the part. In a 2008 reunion, as well in an interview in 2014, Todd Holland revealed that the original cut of the film was 2.5 hours long and included an extended backstory for Jimmy and Corey.


  • BoDeans – "You Don't Get Much"
  • Patsy Cline – "Leavin' on Your Mind"
  • BoDeans – "Red River"
  • New Kids on the Block – "You Got It (The Right Stuff)"
  • Real Life – "Send Me an Angel '89"
  • New Kids on the Block – "Hangin' Tough"
  • Martha & The Vandellas – "Nowhere to Run"
  • Paul Carrack – "I Live by the Groove"
  • Bobby Brown – "Don't Be Cruel"
  • Paul Anka – "My Way"
  • Sally Dworsky – "I Found My Way"
  • Box office

    The Wizard debuted at No. 5, earning $2,142,525 in the domestic box office. At the end of its run, the film had grossed $14,278,900. Based on an estimated $6 million budget, the film was a moderate box office success.

    Critical reception

    The film received generally negative reviews from critics. It was widely considered to be little more than a 96-minute commercial for Nintendo games and Universal Studios Hollywood. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called the film "a cynical exploitation film with a lot of commercial plugs" and "insanely overwritten and ineptly filmed". He later called it one of the worst films of 1989. Washington Post staff writer Rita Kempley wrote that the movie was "tacky and moribund", plagiarizing heavily from the 1988 film Rain Man. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 26% score based on 19 reviews, with an average rating of 4.2/10.

    Despite the negative reception, the film was still popular enough to achieve cult film status and to receive a reunion screening from Ain't It Cool News at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin, Texas, on February 8, 2008. Director Holland and stars Savage and Edwards were in attendance to take questions from fans.

    Home media

    The Wizard was released on VHS and LaserDisc three times, in 1990, 1992 and 1997. It was first released on DVD in Region 2 on February 2, 2001 and finally in the US and Canada (Region 1) on August 22, 2006. The DVD is a bare bones release without bonus features.


    On September 6, 2016, Pax West 2016 concluded with a Super Mario Bros. 3 tournament with a replica of the "Video Armageddon" from the film.


    The Wizard (film) Wikipedia
    The Wizard (film) IMDb The Wizard (film)