Gone with the Wind is a 1939 romantic epic about Scarlett O'Hara, an indomitable and ruthless Southern Belle, stretching from just before The American Civil War through much of the Reconstruction era. Adjusted for inflation, it is the highest-grossing movie of all time.
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 note whether you want it to be or not. Still, the movie was somewhat progressive for its time — it gave several roles to African American actors when Hollywood was trying its best to push them out, and Hattie McDaniel's win for Best Supporting Actress was the first Oscar given to a black person.
Produced by David O. Selznick and filmed between December 1938 and November 1939 (having been in development since just after the book's publication in 1936) and released in December 1939 in glorious Technicolor, starring Vivien Leigh as Scarlett and Clark Gable as Rhett. Interestingly, director Victor Fleming was also the director of another legendary Technicolor film from that year — The Wizard of Oz.
The original novel was written by Margaret Mitchell. It was followed by Scarlett, a professional Fan Fic, which was later adapted into a Mini Series. 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, a parody has been written called The Wind Done Gone, which is the entire book written from the point of view of Scarlett's mixed-race half-sister, whom she never notices in the original novel, and whom Rhett himself takes as a lover. No explicit names are used, interestingly.
It is Ted Turner's favorite movie, and it was the first broadcast program on both TNT and TCM; a theater at the CNN Center also played it for many years until it was taken out and replaced by additional newsroom space for CNN's web operations.
In 2008, a musical production ran on the West End in London. It was savaged by the critics and closed early.
As the film enters its 80th anniversary year, two of the original cast members are still alive: Olivia de Havilland and Mickey Kuhn.