After recently re-watching Gone With The Wind I can honestly say that it is in many senses an incredible movie and even though it is an old film, I do not believe that any film since has quite had the same impact as this film and highly doubt there ever will be.

To start this discussion it is important to determine some criteria that affect whether a film can be classed as a ‘Blockbuster’. The most obvious factor is of-course income and Gone With The Wind had an incredible box-office gross. Apparently it sold enough tickets that every person in America saw it twice at the time it was released, a fact I find simply astounding. Not only this but Box Office Mojo has it pegged as the best grossing film of all time (when adjusted for inflation) so in terms of money-making ability it is obviously a ‘Blockbuster’.

The next item would be the story. Most films which are classed as a Blockbuster are normally be based on something pre-existing be that a comic book (Avengers Assemble) or an historical event (Titanic). In terms of this film again it meets this criteria, not only was it based on a best selling novel of the same title, it also has the historical setting of the American Civil War with many key events from that being mentioned throughout. 

A third reason that a ‘Blockbuster’ is so titled is because of the enormously high budget it is given for production, again this was the case… it was believed that Gone With The Wind had a high budget of around four million dollars which at the time was the third largest ever, big budget allows a film to market it to mass audiences and that again is something which was done with this film. Thousands of girls where auditioned for the part of Scarlett O’Hara when supposedly Vivien Leigh was cast all along, the purpose of this was advertising and making an audience want to see the film. 

A well-known cast and or production team is something else which appears in nearly every blockbuster and this film certainly had this. Clark Gable was incredibly famous at the time of production from his Oscar win a few years earlier in It Happened One Night. In terms of production team it was produced by David O Selznick, who although not yet at the height of his fame (he would later produce several Hitchcock films) had a fairly decent standing. In terms of direction the original director (who was replaced mid-production) was George Cukor who at the time was fairly established after working on films such as Romeo and Juliet, his replacement a Victor Fleming (who somehow also replaced Cukor as director of Wizard of Oz) was also well established meaning their star power would bring in some audience once the film was released.

In terms of performance by the entire cast it is hard to find better. Vivien Leigh pulls off the ‘kind of bitchy but nice deep down’ with expertise as the audience is forced to both hate her and pity her. Then you have Clark Gable being as arrogant as ever and delivering every line with the fluidity he is still remember for. Add to that a fantastic supporting cast and you have a brilliant film and one that can be defined as a ‘Blockbuster’.

‘Blockbusters’ pride themselves on their award winning ability (apart from Avatar :-P) and Gone With The Wind once more succeeded in nearly every category – being nominated for 13 OSCARS and winning eight – a feat unheard of at the time. These awards not only included Best Picture and Best Screenplay but also a win for Hattie McDaniel as best supporting actress, fittingly considering the context of the film she was the first African-American to be nominated and win an OSCAR.

A final test over a film Blockbuster ability is the test of time. Does it stand up when viewed years after its release. Most Blockbusters do and again so does Gone With The Wind. Sure you can tell it’s an old film but everything about it is just so well crafted, designed and thought out that it is just a wonderful experience, the four hours pass in next to no time. It is still considered one of the greatest films created being listed in IMDB’s Top 250 and having a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 95% show that two generations after its production people are still watching and appreciated its awesome genius. 

So in conclusion I think it is hard to dispute that Gone With The Wind is the perfect blockbuster and it is unlikely that there will ever be a better mass-audience film ever made. Don’t agree? Well frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.