GONE WITH THE WIND is number 4 on the American Film Institute's list of America's 100 Greatest Movies.
GONE WITH THE WIND was an original selection to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1989.
Margaret Mitchell wrote her only novel between 1926 and 1929 and then let it collect dust for six years before showing it to an editor. By the time of the film's release, Mitchell's novel had surpassed 1,500,000 in sales. The novel swept the nation, and everyone, everywhere, was reading it. Selznick paid $50,000 for the rights to the book.
Selznick brought in a number of screenwriters in addition to Sidney Howard to help him get a grasp on the material. Among them were Edwin Justin Mayer, John Van Druten, Ben Hecht, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Jo Swerling.
For the part of Scarlett O'Hara, David O. Selznick issued a national talent search. Scores of famous Hollywood actresses tested for the part. Many southerners (and Americans in general) were upset when Selznick cast Vivien Leigh in the role. The very prospect of an Englishwoman playing the part of an American Southern belle was outrageous. But after the film's release most southerners changed their minds. On the contrary, many said, "Better an English girl than a Yankee."
The novel was so well known and loved that MGM conducted national polls to determine who should play the leads. Gable was the clear choice for Rhett, while many of Hollywood's top actresses were considered for the role, including Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Miriam Hopkins, Joan Crawford, Margaret Sullivan, Barbara Stanwyck, Paulette Goddard, Lana Turner, Jean Arthur, Mae West, Tallulah Bankhead, and Lucille Ball. In all, 32 actresses did screen tests for the film. Vivien Leigh was given the part of Scarlett O'Hara on Christmas Day, 1938.
Ronald Colman, Errol Flynn, and Gary Cooper were considered for the part of Rhett Butler, but the character was written with Clark Gable in mind.
George Cukor was the film's original director. Victor Fleming was Cukor's successor. When Fleming fell sick, Sam Wood took over, but Fleming resumed his position after his convalescence.
In addition to nine Oscars, GONE WITH THE WIND also won special academy recognition for production designer William Cameron Menzies's outstanding contribution. The film was the first film to ever credit a production designer--previously, the role of the production designer was held by the studio's art department head, who oversaw all the films in production. Because of the scope of the project and the amount Menzies contributed to it, MGM created a new title for him.
Hattie McDaniel won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy--the first Academy Award given to an African American.
At the time, there were only 7 Technicolor cameras in existence, all of which were used for the production of GONE WITH THE WIND.
For 25 years after its release, GONE WITH THE WIND was the most successful picture in history. When adjustments are made for inflation, GONE WITH THE WIND retains the second-highest U.S. box office return of the 20th century, bested only by TITANIC.
Estimated budget: $3.9 million.
The film has grossed nearly $200 million.
George Reeves, who went to fame as Superman, played Stuart Tarleton.
Neither Victor Fleming nor Clark Gable initially wanted to do the film. Gable felt that he could never live up to the audience's expectations for the larger-than-life Rhett Butler, while Fleming worried that the film's production costs could bankrupt the studio.
Academy Awards Best Film Editing 1939
Academy Awards Best Picture 1939
Academy Awards Best Actress 1939 Vivien Leigh Oscar winning actress, GONE WITHT THE WIND, A STREETCAR NAME
Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress 1939 Hattie McDaniel Oscar winning actress, singer, GONE WITH THE WIND
Academy Awards Best Director 1939 Victor Fleming American director, GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)
Academy Awards Best Adapted Screenplay 1939 Sidney Howard Screenwriter/Novelist
Academy Awards Best Interior Decoration (b&w) 1939 Lyle Wheeler Art Director
Academy Awards Best Cinematography 1939 Ray Rennahan American Director Of Photography
Academy Awards Best Cinematography 1939 Ernest Haller American Director Of Photography