Over the Rainbow

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Judy Garland in the barnyard scene.

"Over the Rainbow" is a song from the movie The Wizard of Oz. It was composed by Harold Arlen and the lyrics were written by E.Y. Harburg. Judy Garland sang the song in the movie. Over time it would become her signature song. The song won an Academy Award. The song is also known as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".

About five minutes into the movie, Judy Garland (as Dorothy Gale) sings "Over the Rainbow". She is trying to get her aunt and uncle to listen to her story about an incident involving her dog, Toto. Dorothy's Aunt Em tells her to "find yourself a place where you won't get into any trouble". Dorothy walks off with Toto. She says to the dog, "Someplace where there isn't any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It's not a place you can get to by a boat, or a train. It's far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain." She begins to sing the song.

Harold Arlen wrote the music.

MGM executives thought the song "slowed down the picture". They said it did not sound like a song a little girl would sing in a barnyard. They wanted to cut it from the movie. Other people wanted the song to be kept in the movie. The executives changed their minds and the song was kept.

"Over the Rainbow" was going to be sung again by Garland in the scene where she is locked in the witch's room and watches the hourglass. She weeps through the song, and ends with "I'm frightened, Auntie Em! I'm frightened!". The song was cut from the scene. The "I'm frightened" cry was kept in the movie.

The song is number one on the "Songs of the Century" list compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. The American Film Institute has ranked "Over the Rainbow" as the greatest movie song of all time on the list of "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs". American troops in Europe in World War II adopted the song as a symbol of the United States. Garland performed the song for American troops as part of a 1943 command performance.