There’s no way I could start this off with any other film. I have two definitions for good films: best, as in the film’s pure entertainment and skill value, and greatest, as in the importance and “ground-breakingness” of the film. This is both; Gone With the Wind is one of the best and greatest films of all time.
The first time I saw Gone With the Wind was during TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar. I sat down with a drink and the lights off and let myself experience it as closely as I could’ve to a theater experience. After it was over, my dad asked me what I thought, and I still remember the first words I said: If I had known absolutely nothing about the film, I would’ve sworn this movie was made in the 1980s. That’s how unbelievably well-made this movie is; it is the definition of awe-inspiring. Honestly, I don’t even really know how to put it into words; it’s just that rare kind of perfection that escapes description for me.
The best part about the film for me, apart from the gorgeous cinematography and adept screenplay, is the brilliant performance by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara. Clark Gable pulls off Rhett Butler admirably, if not too ‘Clark Gable”-ish, but Leigh is the real standout. Scarlett is such a conniving and cunning character that I couldn’t help but be transfixed at how she was going to handle the next situation that arrived. Every scene was yet another turn of events for her, and so she would have to revise her strategy to ultimately get whatever it is she wanted; Scarlett plays the whole film like a chessboard, and it is the crux of what makes the film so interesting to watch. Not even Rhett leaving in the finale is enough to dissuade her, she knows she can get him back; after all, “tomorrow is another day.”
If you can sit through the running time of almost 4 hours, treat yourself like I did to a ‘theater experience’ of this film (or if you can see it in a real theater, even better). Gone With the Wind is the rightfully deserved paragon of excellent filmmaking.
Arbitrary Rating: 10/10