“Over the Rainbow” (often referred to as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”) is a classic Academy Award-winning ballad, with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. It was written for the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, and was sung by actress Judy Garland in her starring role as Dorothy Gale. Over time, it would become Garland’s signature song and, indeed, her theme.
About five minutes into the film, Dorothy sings the song after failing to get her preoccupied aunt and uncle to listen to her relate an unpleasant incident involving her dog, Toto, and the town spinster, Miss Gulch (Margaret Hamilton). Dorothy’s Aunt Em tells her to “find yourself a place where you won’t get into any trouble.” This prompts Dorothy to walk off by herself. She muses to Toto, “‘Some place 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…” from which point she begins singing.