It is still one of the most popular films ever made, and its romanticized view of the Old South became firmly established in the popular imagination.Gone with the Wind was based on Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and the film’s completion was miraculous in itself. It took 140 days, 5 directors, and 13 writers—including F. Scott Fitzgerald—to bring it to the big screen. Producer David O. Selznick initially balked at the $50,000 movie rights to the book and fretted that Civil War movies always bombed at the box office. Almost every role in the film involved lengthy searches and costly negotiations for just the right performers.
The film debuted at Loew’s Grand Theater at the corner of Peachtree and Forsyth Streets with 18,000 Atlantans gathered outside. Most of the film’s major white actors attended except Leslie Howard—but none of the black actors were invited. Selznick needn’t have worried--fans and critics loved it and the film won eight Academy Awards.
The film seen by more people than any other in history premiered in Atlanta on December 15, 1939, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.