Hot-tempered, self-centered, part-Irish Southern beauty Scarlett O'Hara, played to the teeth by Vivien Leigh, loves the gentlemanly Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard). Smug, rebellious, honest blockade-running profiteer Rhett Butler, portrayed gracefully and naturally by Clark Gable, loves Scarlett. Ashley, who is also in love with Scarlett, marries his genteel cousin Melanie (Olivia de Havilland) because he believes that their quiet similarities will create a better marriage than Scarlett's passion. Meanwhile, sparks fly between Rhett and Scarlett at their first encounter and continue throughout Scarlett's first two marriages. Scarlett and Rhett finally wed, but Scarlett continues to pine for her beloved Ashley.
Set against the Civil War and Southern Reconstruction, this tragic love quadrangle offers the burning of Atlanta and fields of wounded Confederates as part of its lush scenery. Meticulous backdrops, glorious sunsets, numerous silhouettes, and the ultrasaturated Technicolor film create a hyperreal vision. The romantic score is every bit as lush and dramatic as the photography, borrowing folk melodies from the Old South to make the tragic war concrete. Heavy nostalgic tones pervade the often witty dialogue and larger-than-life charms and faults of the leads. GONE WITH THE WIND, winner of 10 Academy Awards, stands among the greatest epic dramas ever filmed.
Best Picture Oscar Winner 1939.
"David O. Selznick wanted Gone with the Wind to be somehow more than a movie, a film that would broaden the very idea of what a film could be and do and look like. In many respects he got what he worked so hard to achieve in this 1939 epic (and all-time box-office champ in terms of tickets sold), and in some respects he fell far short of the goal. While the first half of this Civil War drama is taut and suspenseful and nostalgic, the second is ramshackle and arbitrary. But there's no question that the film is an enormous achievement in terms of its every resource--art direction, color, sound, cinematography--being pushed to new limits for the greater glory of telling an American story as fully as possible. Vivien Leigh is still magnificently narcissistic, Olivia de Havilland angelic and lovely, Leslie Howard reckless and aristocratic. As for Clark Gable: we're talking one of the most vital, masculine performances ever committed to film."--Tom Keogh