Gone with the Wind

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One of the most successful films all time -- adjusted for inflation, its box office take is still two hundred million ahead of its closest rival, Star Wars -- Gone with the Wind is a romantic epic about an indomitable and ruthless Southern belle, stretching from just before The American Civil War through much of Reconstruction.

Both the source novel and the studios of the Golden Age of Hollywood tended to romanticize the South, and so this is one of the most romantic films ever made, whether you want it to be or not.

Filmed in 1939 (having been in development since just after the book's publication in 1936) in glorious Technicolor.

The original novel was written by Margaret Mitchell. It was followed by Scarlett, a sequel professional Fanfic, which was later adapted into a Miniseries. A prequel, Rhett Butler's People, has been published, telling the story from Rhett's perspective, and has a different ending than Scarlett. Another sequel by the name of Winds of Tara has been published. Bear in mind that this has another ending for those who are not happy with Scarlett. More recently, an alternate point-of-view parody has been written called The Wind Done Gone, which is the entire book written from the point of view of Scarlett's mulatto half-sister, whom she never notices in the original novel, and who Rhett himself takes as a lover. No explicit names are used, interestingly.

In 2008, a musical production ran on the West End in London. It was savaged by the critics and closed early.

As of May 2012, only five of the original cast members are still alive: Olivia de Havilland, Ann Rutherford, Mickey Kuhn, Alicia Rhett, and Mary Anderson.


Tropes used in Gone with the Wind include:

Dr. Meade: The mountain fastnesses has always been the refuge and the strong forts of people since the ancient times. Think of - think of Thermopylae!
Rhett: They died to the last man at Thermopylae, didn't they, Doctor?

  • Babies Make Everything Better: Melanie is very fond of this idea, and Frank believes that if Scarlett becomes pregnant, she will stop caring about her business and settle into motherhood. He is very mistaken, however.
    • Even the shrewd, cynical Scarlett seems to believe this when she gets pregnant for the fourth time and is happy about it for the first time--she thinks the baby will be the key to reconciling with Rhett. Unfortunately this ends up being completely inverted--she miscarries and it's the beginning of the end for them. Later, after Bonnie's death, she admits that she would be willing to have another child if that what's it will take to bring Rhett out of his grief.
  • Betty and Veronica: Two examples, both of them subversions:
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Melanie's reaction to Scarlett killing a Union deserter was "I'm glad you killed him!" And she pulled out a pistol when she thought Yankee soldiers were about to break into her home.
    • This is never shown in the book, but in the movie, when Suellen is sobbing over Scarlett having married her fiancee right under her nose, it sounds that Melanie says something to Suellen like, "Well she had to do it to save Tara." Which means not only, that Scarlett openly told everyone her reasons for marrying Frank, but that Melanie is completely on board with Scarlett doing this.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rhett does this a couple of times, but never completely successfully.
  • Big Fancy House: Tara, Twelve Oaks, Mimosa, Fairhill, all the other plantations within vicinity of Tara, possibly as well the house that Scarlett builds in Atlanta when she marries Rhett, although Rhett never loses an opportunity to slip in a remark about how grotesque it is.
  • Big Sister Bully: Scarlett, while the protagonist of the story is very likely one to Suellen and Carreen.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When she cares enough, Scarlett can manipulate almost any man into thinking of her as a sweet, innocent, delicate flower of womanhood.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Even though Melanie has died and Rhett has left her, Scarlett still finds strength in remembering Tara and resolves to never give up.
    • She actually says something along the lines of "Tomorrow is another day." Earlier in the book, she regularly said that she'd "think about it (some troubling situation that she needed to handle) tomorrow", which really meant that it was never going to happen.
  • Black Sheep: Rhett's prominent, wealthy (before the war) family managed to blacklist him not only from their own estate, but the entire city of Charleston.
  • Book Dumb: Scarlett, in everything but math.
    • Also, Mammy.
  • Bumbling Dad: Gerald O'Hara who, unbeknownst to him, is the least respected person on his entire plantation. At least he managed to acquire his plantation and build it up.
    • Respected he might not be, but he's well-liked by his neighbors and loved by his family (and even several of his slaves; his valet, Pork, is heartbroken when he dies).
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Rhett does confess his feelings to Scarlett a few times, but he invariably subverts his confessions by chickening out and convincing her he's making fun of her. He justifies this by saying that if she knew about his feelings, she'd make his life a living hell; but it becomes more and more obvious as the story progresses that she's already done that.
    • Not to mention that Rhett outright lies, once or twice, when Scarlett asks him point-blank if he's in love with her. Once, when Scarlett reveals that she's been considering an abortion, Rhett reacts in outrage and horror, and then when the amazed Scarlett tells him she didn't know he cared that much about her, he switches gears and casually replies that he just doesn't want to lose a good investment.
      • Scarlett would have given up on Ashley if he had just told her he truly loves Melanie.
      • Scarlett never getting a chance to explain to Rhett that the embrace she and Ashley were caught in was completely innocent.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': The one time Scarlett connects to Ashley on a real emotional level without any thought of seducing him, she is caught in the act by Moral Guardians. Very frustrating given all the actually immoral things she's done and gotten away with.
  • Cartwright Curse: At least for Scarlett's first couple husbands.
  • Charity Ball: Scarlett O'Hara scandalously insists on going to one for the Southern cause, despite having recently been widowed and therefore expected to be in mourning, mostly because she's bored and refuses to pass up the chance for a party. This is where she reconnects with Rhett Butler.
  • The Charmer: When Rhett wants people to like him, he's all but irresistible; but usually he can't be bothered.
    • Scarlett, too applies, she can make herself irresistible, usually to men with charms.
  • City Mouse: Scarlett, despite growing up at Tara, becomes a city mouse when she's forced to actually take care of Tara, doing tasks such as cooking, milking cows, and picking cotton. Suellen, Carreen, Melanie all qualify as well.
  • Comically Missing the Point

Dr. Meade: (to Scarlett) You have to stay here and help Melly have her baby.
Aunt Pitty: Without a chaperone? That would be most improper.
Dr. Meade: Good heavens, woman, this is war, not a garden party!

  • Convenient Miscarriage: Scarlett takes a fall down a flight of stairs, and Melanie has a miscarriage which eventually leads to her death.
  • Cultured Warrior: Ashley is the leader of his troop due to his excellent marksmanship and leadership skills, but most of his men find his habit of reading literature and discussing philosophy very strange.
  • Curtain Clothing: One of the most famous cases.
  • Cute Kitten: What Bonnie brought back home from London.
  • Daddy's Girl: Bonnie and Rhett, as well as Gerald and Scarlett.
  • Damsel in Distress: Played straight and subverted. Scarlett depends on Rhett to rescue her from Atlanta, but when he abandons her outside the city to join the Confederate army she takes charge.
    • Scarlett also feigns to be this both to manipulate male customers into patronizing her sawmill as well as to try to get some sort of response from Ashley.
  • Dances and Balls
  • The Dandy: Pittypat claims that Rhett is one in the book. There are the Fontaine boys prior to the war, as well.
  • Dangerous Deserter: Scarlett kills one and Melanie helps hide the body.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rhett in regards to nearly everything, from the impossibility of the Confederacy winning the war to the ridiculous expectations put on women in the 1860s. Routinely, no one understands his comments/everyone is offended by them.
  • Deconstruction: In the book, southern belles are more or less trained not to care about people, and merely become pretty dolls devoid of personal wishes or emotion that are supposed to attract husbands. Scarlett is. For all its implications.
  • The Deep South
  • Defiled Forever: Part of the reason why Rhett is not received by any fine family in Charlston is that he refused to marry a girl he had been out with for too long without a chaperon.
  • Demoted to Extra: Several cases in the movie, as a result of Adaptation Distillation. Justified in that the book was a Doorstopper and the movie was massive enough as is.
    • Poor Will. In the book is an important aid and sounding board to Scarlett after her family nurses him to health. He even marries Sueellen, somewhat mitigated the sad (but somewhat deserved) position she is in after Scarlett marries her longtime beau.
    • Pity Scarlett's children from her first two marriages. In the book, they exist pretty much to be emotionally neglected by Scarlett, her son Wade Hamilton is a nervous wreck, her daughter Ella Kennedy is implied to have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and the only people who seem to care about them are their aunt omnibenevolent Melanie and their stepfather Rhett (who half the time is too busy spoiling his own child (literally) to death to care). They don't even exist in the movie.
    • Scarlett's sisters, while existent, are largely glossed over, particularly Carreen.
  • Destructive Romance: Rhett and Scarlett.
  • The Determinator: Scarlett and more subtly, Melanie.
  • Determined Homesteader: Scarlett O'Hara.Her father tells her, "Land's the only thing that matters. It's the only thing that lasts!" And everything she does - lie, cheat, steal, and kill - is just as much to protect Tara, her home, as it is to protect the people who live there.
  • Determined Widow: Scarlett, again. Somewhat different than the usual case in that she is the hero, and purposely using the inherent sympathy of her situation to manipulate others.
  • Deus Angst Machina and Trauma Conga Line: No matter how you feel about Scarlett as the protagonist, you have to admit a lot of bad stuff happens to her.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Because of where the few mentions of war are placed, the pregnancy ends up lasting 22 months.
    • Only in the movie. Margaret Mitchell is bound and determined to show her work historically speaking, adding to the book's Doorstopper quality.
    • This doesn't apply to the movie either, but because they aren't entirely clear in the movie the mistake is easily made. Melanie gets pregnant around Christmas 1863 (according to Ashley's furlough letter) and Beau is born in September 1864 during the first burning of Atlanta. What people generally refer to as the Burning of Atlanta was actually the second burning, which took place in November 1864. The mistake is easily made, but Rhett mentions the Confederate army blowing up Hood's ammunition train, which makes it the first burning.
  • The Ditz: Pittypat.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Scarlett cannot stand being pitied.
  • Doorstopper: The book is 960 pages. The film is over 3½ hours long (and it leaves out a lot of things).
  • Drama Queen: Aunt Pittypat will faint over any improper or scandalous thing.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Rhett, right after a misunderstanding has led the entire town to believe that Ashley and Scarlett are having an affair, gets really, really drunk.
    • He does it again when he believes Scarlett is about to die from a miscarriage that he is responsible for.
    • And again in the book after Bonnie's death.
  • Drunken Song: When Gerald is drunk, he sings a song called "Peg in a Low-Backed Car". Ashley and Rhett pretend to be singing drunkenly to fool the Yankee soldiers into thinking they were out getting wasted instead of avenging the attack on Scarlett, for which they could be imprisoned or even hanged.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Both Scarlett and Rhett qualify.
    • Hmmm, maybe in the movie. In the book Rhett is described as "swarthy".
  • End of an Age: The fall of the Confederacy, which affects every character in one way or another.
  • Epic Movie: A celebrated example, one of the Trope Makers, almost synonymous with the concept itself.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Both Scarlett and Rhett, despite all their other moral failings, are very fond of their mothers. Scarlett's is her Morality Chain. Rhett financially supports his mother after the war, even being respectful enough to maintain her reputations by making it appear publicly that the money is from another source.
  • Fashions Never Change: Averted. Circle crinolines gradually give way to bustles.
  • Fatal Flaw: Scarlett and her inability to understand the emotional motivations of anyone, including herself.
  • Femme Fatale/The Vamp: Scarlett is one or the other, depending on your interpretation. In either case, she's a rare example of a protagonist with said role.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Scarlett's red dress.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Scarlett's first two marriages are somewhat like this. Justified because such marriages were not uncommon at the time the story is set.
  • Freak-Out: Rhett has one of these in front of Melanie out of extreme guilt following Scarlett's miscarriage, due to both his recognition (if not in so many words) of the rape it resulted from and his cruelty to her.
  • Funetik Aksent: Mammy and Prissy do this, especially in the book.
    • All the "darkies" actually. As well as pretty much anyone who isn't from a finer family. Will Benteen and Belle Watling come to mind, and Gerald exhibits a stereotypical Irish accent as well (see Funny Foreigner below).
  • Funny Foreigner: Gerald O'Hara is a stereotypical Irishman to the nth degree.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." The last word was forbidden by the Hays Code, but the code was modified specifically so that the word could stay, so this is probably an example of getting the radar past the crap. And it still cost the studio about $5,000 in fines back when that meant something.

Rhett: "You need kissing badly. That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how.

    • Scarlett: (When she first sees Rhett looking at her) "He looks as if--as if he knows what I look like without my shimmy."

Scarlett:(dreamily) Just like pa... (bolts up, alarmed) Just like pa!

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