Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film, adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel of the same name. The film was produced by David O. Selznick of Selznick International Pictures and directed by Victor Fleming. Set in the American South against the backdrop of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction era, the film tells the story of Scarlett O’Hara, the strong-willed daughter of a Georgia plantation owner. It follows her romantic pursuit of Ashley Wilkes, who is married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, and her subsequent marriage to Rhett Butler. The leading roles are played by Vivien Leigh (Scarlett), Clark Gable (Rhett), Leslie Howard (Ashley), and Olivia de Havilland (Melanie).
Upon its release, consumer magazines and newspapers generally gave Gone with the Wind excellent reviews; however, while its production values, technical achievements, and scale of ambition were universally recognized, some reviewers of the time found the film to be too long and dramatically unconvincing. Frank S. Nugent for The New York Times best summed up the general sentiment by acknowledging that while it was the most ambitious film production made up to that point, it probably was not the greatest film ever made, but he nevertheless found it to be an “interesting story beautifully told”. Franz Hoellering of The Nation was of the same opinion: “The result is a film which is a major event in the history of the industry but only a minor achievement in motion-picture art. There are moments when the two categories meet on good terms, but the long stretches between are filled with mere spectacular efficiency.”