Gone With the Wind
The most magnificent picture ever!
Directed By
Victor Fleming, George Cukor (uncredited), and Sam Wood (uncredited)
Produced By
Release Date
December 15, 1939 (original release)

224 mins

238 mins (With Overture, Entrance, and Exit Music)
Rating G
$3,900,000 (estimated)
$198.6 million (USA) (1999)

Gone With the Wind, is a 1939 American film based on the 1916 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Margaret Mitchell. The novel is one of the most popular of all time, and the film adaptation became the highest-grossing film in the history of Hollywood and received a record-breaking number of Academy Awards.

Mitchell's work relates the story of a rebellious Georgia woman named Scarlett O'Hara and her travails with friends, family and lovers through the pre-war American South, the American Civil War, and the Reconstruction period. It also tells the story of the love that blossoms between Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler.

The title is taken from the first line of the third stanza of the poem Non sum qualis eram bonae sub regno Cynarae by Ernest Dowson: "I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind."

The filmEdit

Producer David O. Selznick decided that he wanted to create a movie based on Gone With the Wind after his story editor Kay Brown read a pre-publication copy of the novel in May 1936 and urged him to buy the movie rights. A month after the book's publication in June 1936, he bought the rights for $50,000, a record amount at the time. A well-publicized casting search for an actress to play Scarlett resulted in the hire of young English actress Vivien Leigh, although many other famous or soon-to-be-famous actresses had been auditioned, considered for the role, or tested, including Katharine Hepburn, Norma Shearer, Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Lana Turner, Susan Hayward, Carole Lombard, Paulette Goddard, Irene Dunne, Merle Oberon, Ida Lupino, Joan Fontaine, Loretta Young, Miriam Hopkins, Jean Arthur, Tallulah Bankhead, Joan Bennett, Frances Dee, and Lucille Ball.

Several actresses were given screen tests for the part, but only two finalists — Paulette Goddard and Vivien Leigh — were tested in Technicolor, on December 20, 1938. Producer Selznick had been quietly considering Vivien Leigh for the role of Scarlett since at least February 1938, although for publicity reasons he arranged to first meet her on the night of December 10, 1938, when the burning of the Atlanta Depot was filmed. Her casting was announced on January 13, 1939.

Principal photography began January 26, 1939, and ended on June 27, 1939, with post-production work (including a fifth version of the opening scene) going to November 11, 1939. Most of the filming was done on the Selznick International lot, with the few location scenes photographed in Los Angeles County or neighboring Ventura County. Estimated production costs were $3.9 million; only Ben-Hur (1925) had cost more.

The film premiered in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 15, 1939, and has become the highest-grossing movie of all time (adjusted for inflation). It garnered thirteen Academy Award nominations and eight Awards. Rhett Butler's infamous farewell line to Scarlett O'Hara, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," was voted in a poll by the American Film Institute in 2005 as the most memorable line in cinema history [1].

Although some have criticized the film for sanitizing or even promoting the values of the Old South, filmgoers in 1939 had a different view. Scarlett O'Hara's father, Gerald, deferred to his wife, Ellen, who was portrayed as the real head of the O'Hara household. A black woman, Mammy, was not shy about upbraiding her white mistress, Scarlett. In early 1940, Hattie McDaniel won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the first time an Oscar was given to an African American.

In 1998, the American Film Institute ranked it #4 on its "100 Greatest Movies" list. The film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry and has undergone a complete digital restoration.


Selected quotesEdit

  • "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." - Clark Gable as Rhett Butler
  • "Savannah would be better for ya. You just get in trouble in Atlanta." - Hattie McDaniel as Mammy
  • "With enough courage, you can do without a reputation." - Gable as Butler
  • "Lawzy, we got to have a doctor. I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies." - Butterfly McQueen as Prissy


Academy Awards wonEdit

  • Best Picture - David O. Selznick, producer
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role - Vivien Leigh
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Hattie McDaniel
  • Best Art Direction - Lyle R. Wheeler
  • Best Cinematography, Color - Ernest Haller, and Ray Rennahan
  • Best Director - Victor Fleming
  • Best Film Editing - Hal C. Kern, and James E. Newcom
  • Best Writing, Screenplay - Sidney Howard
  • Honorary Award - William Cameron Menzies - "For outstanding achievement in the use of color for the enhancement of dramatic mood in the production of Gone with the Wind." (plaque).
  • Technical Achievement Award - Don Musgrave - "For pioneering in the use of coordinated equipment in the production Gone with the Wind."

Nominated for an Academy AwardEdit

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role - Clark Gable
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Olivia de Havilland
  • Best Effects, Special Effects - Fred Albin (sound), Jack Cosgrove (photographic), and Arthur Johns (sound)
  • Best Music, Original Score - Max Steiner
  • Best Sound, Recording - Thomas T. Moulton (Samuel Goldwyn SSD)

The bookEdit

Critics and historians regard the book as having a strong ideological commitment to the cause of the Confederacy and a romanticized view of the culture of the antebellum South. This is apparent from the book's opening pages, which describe how Scarlett's beaux, the Tarleton twins, have been expelled from university and are accompanied home by their elder brothers out of a sense of honor: a metaphor for the South's viewpoint on the statehood of Kansas.

Nevertheless, the book includes a vivid description of the fall of Atlanta in 1864 and the devastation of war (some of it absent from the 1939 film), and shows a considerable amount of historical research. Mitchell's sweeping narrative of war and loss helped the book win the Pulitzer Prize on May 3, 1937.

Alexandra Ripley wrote the novel Scarlett, in 1991, as the authorized sequel to Mitchell's novel.

In 2000, the copyright holders attempted to suppress publication of Alice Randall's The Wind Done Gone, a book that retold the story from the point of view of the slaves. A federal appeals court denied the plaintiffs an injunction against publication in Suntrust v. Houghton Mifflin (2001), on the basis that the book was parody protected by the First Amendment. The parties subsequently settled out of court to allow the book to be published.

External linksEdit

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