Gone with the Wind isn’t going anywhere.
Over the weekend, Avengers: Endgame officially dethroned Avatar to become the biggest movie in history with over $2.790 billion grossed worldwide, when not adjusted for inflation. For a decade, James Cameron’s revolutionary blockbuster maintained the top spot with $2.7897 billion worldwide.
The 1939 classic’s success, however, still endures. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the movie would have made around $3.44 billion worldwide with today’s ticket prices — well ahead of Marvel’s record-breaking epic. The Oscar-winning film also benefited from seven national releases between 1939 and 1974, according to the AFP.
Gone with the Wind, which celebrated its 80th anniversary this year, follows the story of Scarlett O’Hara (Leigh) as she is torn between fighting for the man she loves and falling for the new guy in town, Rhett Butler (Gable). The movie is set during the Civil War and Reconstruction, with O’Hara also fighting to save her family’s plantation.
The adaptation of the book by the same name was an Oscars juggernaut, winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, as well as Best Cinematography, Editing and Art Direction. Gone with the Wind also later won two honorary Oscars.
Though the movie remains a classic, modern audiences have received it with mixed views due to its representation of black people. It was most recently pulled from an annual summer movie festival in Memphis after attendees complained about its racial insensitivity.
Black characters in the film — referred to as “darkies” throughout — are also said to be portrayed in broad, demeaning stereotypes.
Critics slam it for perpetuating racial stereotypes and the positive portrait it paints of Southern plantation life.