Classic Film Review: Gone With the Wind (1939)

So this afternoon, I decided to watch all 4 hours of the seminal masterpiece Gone With the Wind…

Gone With the Wind tells the story of Scarlet O Hara, the daughter of a plantation owner during the civil war who is madly in love with a man named Ashley, another wealthy plantation owner. During a party, she meets and forms a sort of adversarial friendship with a military man named Rhett Baker. During the years of the Civil War and the Reconstruction of the south, Scarlet and Rhett’s adversarial relationship morphs into an incredible toxic romance, with Rhett and Scarlet constantly at odds over commitment to their relationship. Rhett and Scarlet face many tragedies over the course of their life, all of which culminates in one of the best moments in film history.

Rightly deserves its spot as one of the greatest films ever made. One of the most creative and striking character pieces I have ever seen.

Brilliant script, great characters and performances (Clark Gable oozed charisma and class as Rhett Baker, and Vivine Leigh was amazing as the spoiled Scarlet O Hara), beautiful cinematography (the amount of iconic and gorgeously composed shots in this film is disgusting), great effects, solid pace for its length, etc.

The film is 4 hours, but it manages to justify its length with a brilliant story. Further, despite being 80 years old, this film, for the most part, has aged like the finest of wines. Most of the special effects and set design and visual aesthetic of this film does not look dated at all. It is astounding. Also, there are so many iconic moments in this movie. But mother of god…”Frankly my dear..”, in context, was absolutely mind blowing. That ending, for its time, was ground breaking and it still strikes a chord today. Rhett telling Scarlet, after all the emotional turmoil and tragedy, and while she is pleading and begging him not to leave, acting as selfish as she was at the beginning of the movie, that it’s all on her was cathartic and incredible.

However, I have to talk about the one thing that has to be talked about in regards to this film. Yes, some aspects of this movie have not aged well. Specifically, the weird way the film romanticizes the confederate army and times of slavery in the old south. It almost completely downplayed, and even outright ignored, the inhumanity of slavery and its role in the civil war. It’s not Birth of a Nation bad, but it still comes off as kind of tone deaf.

Overall, if this film didn’t play off the old south as some long lost bastion of true American values, and the Confederate army as heroic figures, I would give this film a 10 and it would be one of my top 10 movies. However, it is still a GOAT tier film. If you have an afternoon to spare, watch this piece of film history. Highly recommended.

9.5 out of 10

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