Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Gone With The Wind (1939)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Gone With the Wind (1939)

In the Best Picture-winning dramatic, romantic epic by director Victor Fleming, based upon Margaret Mitchell's sweeping 1936 novel about life in the American South during the Civil War and Reconstruction Period:

  • the image of the beautiful North Georgian cotton plantation known as Tara, owned by the O'Hara family, and the introduction of 16 year-old narcissistic and headstrong southern belle Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh), dressed in a beautiful white crinoline gown with ruffles while being courted by twin suitors on the front porch, and her exclamation about all the war talk: "Fiddle-dee-dee. War, war, war. This war talk's spoiling all the fun at every party this spring. I get so bored I could scream"
  • the words of Scarlett's father, white-haired Irish immigrant, and prosperous plantation owner Gerald O'Hara (Thomas Mitchell) about the value of the land: "Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O'Hara, that Tara - that land doesn't mean anything to you? Why, land's the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it's the only thing that lasts"
The Wilkes' Barbecue
Scarlett Seeking Out Ashley
Melanie with Ashley
First View of Rhett Butler
  • the opening sequence of a lavish BBQ held at the neighboring plantation of Twelve Oaks, owned by the Wilkes family; gentlemanly, idealistic, scholarly and sensitive son Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) was to announce his engagement to his own sweetheart and shy cousin, pretty Melanie Hamilton (Olivia de Havilland), to Scarlett's consternation; Melanie was very kind and graciously praised Scarlett: "I've always admired you so. I wish I could be more like you"
  • the scene of Scarlett's first view of roguish Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) at the foot of the staircase at the BBQ, when she asked for the "nasty dark one" to be identified and was told: "My dear, don't you know? That's Rhett Butler! He's from Charleston. He has the most terrible reputation"; Scarlett responded to his sexually attractive gaze as he undressed her with his eyes: "He looks as if - as if he knows what I look like without my shimmy" - it was the beginning of an ever-fascinating and fiery Rhett & Scarlett relationship
  • shortly later, the memorable "Library Scene" when Scarlett energetically cornered the disinterested Ashley and declared her deep love for him, but he spurned her and vowed his love for Melanie instead; after Ashley stiffly walked from the room, in frustration, Scarlett threw a vase against the fireplace mantle; that was when she first met Rhett in person, who emerged; she was incensed that he had listened into her conversation with Ashley about her love for him (Scarlett: "Sir, you are no gentleman," with Rhett's retort: "And you, miss, are no lady")
Library Scene
Scarlett's Love Spurned by Ashley
Slapping Ashley
First Face-to-Face Confrontation with Rhett Butler
  • the disruption of the BBQ with the announcement of War Between the States, causing Confederates to rush to enlist to defend the South in the upcoming conflict
  • the character of Scarlett's (and the O'Hara's) outspoken, shrewd and tenacious black-housemaid Mammy (Oscar-winning Hattie McDaniel) with her oft-said: "It ain't fittin'" - knowing that Scarlett was secretly in love with Ashley, although she had decided to impulsively marry Melanie's weakly brother Charles Hamilton (Rand Brooks), who immediately afterwards died from illness early in the war, leaving Scarlett a widow (she complained: "I'm too young to be a widow")
  • the Atlanta benefit-charity ball ("The Monster Bazaar") scene in which Rhett Butler (a successful, exploitative blockade runner for the South) broke protocol, shockingly bid for the black-dressed "mourning" Scarlett ("Mrs. Charles Hamilton") - who surprisingly accepted ("Oh yes I will"), and then danced with her - causing much disapproval
  • the scene of Rhett's forceful kiss of Scarlett after presenting her with a present from Paris - a fashionable green hat; when he finally convinced her to kiss him, then he teasingly declined: "No, I don't think I will kiss you - although you need kissing badly. That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how"
  • the crowds reading the casualty lists in Atlanta's outdoor square, in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg
  • the lengthy siege of Atlanta scene, causing fearful citizens to evacuate, while Scarlett and Melanie volunteered in the Atlanta hospital, filled with dying and wounded; Scarlett witnessed one unfortunate soldier whose leg was being amputated without chloroform - he delivered a blood-curtling yell over and over: "Don't cut!"
  • the slow-moving pull-back crane shot from Scarlett walking through Atlanta's open-air "hospital" at the city's train station, searching for Dr. Meade (Harry Davenport) to help deliver Melanie's baby; the pull-back revealed rows of thousands of wounded/dying Confederate soldiers - in the final panoramic image she was lost in a sea of human suffering as a torn and tattered Confederate flag came into view
  • the scene of the impending delivery of Melanie's baby, when Scarlett heard young, simple-minded house-slave Prissy (Butterfly McQueen) hysterically whine: "I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies" - although previously, she had bragged about her expertise and midwivery skills
  • the exciting "Burning of Atlanta" scene of Rhett's rescue of Scarlett (and Melanie, the baby and Prissy) in a run-down, rickety wagon pulled by an exhausted horse, when she pleaded: "I want my mother! I want to go home to Tara"; on the road outside the city where they joined bedraggled soldiers and others, Rhett spoke: "Take a good look, my dear. It's a historic moment. You can tell your grandchildren how you watched the Old South disappear one night"; at the crossroads to Tara, Rhett suggested he would desert her and leave her abandoned in the open country, and gave her control of the wagon; but then long-time suitor Rhett realistically proposed that if she yielded to his love, he would stay with her: "There's one thing I do know, and that is that I love you, Scarlett. In spite of you and me and the whole silly world going to pieces around us, I love you. Because we're alike - bad lots both of us, selfish and shrewd, but able to look things in the eyes and call them by their right names...I've loved you more than I've ever loved any woman"; Scarlett was incensed by his outrageous proposal and slapped him in the face - he disappeared into the reddish darkness
  • at Tara, Scarlett's discovery of her father's feeble-minded insanity, and the death of her mother due to typhoid; Scarlett vowed to be defiant and strong in a barren plantation field; after vomiting from eating a dug-up radish root vegetable; she raised her fists toward heaven and exclaimed: "As God is my witness, as God is my witness, they're not going to lick me! I'm going to live through this, and when it's all over, I'll never be hungry again - no, nor any of my folks! If I have to lie, steal, cheat, or kill! As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again"
  • the sequence of Scarlett confronted by an armed Union deserter (Paul Hurst) on the staircase, who had arrived to loot her mother's jewelry, menace and possibly rape-assault Scarlett; when he called her: "Regular little spitfire, ain't ya," she cold-bloodedly shot the soldier in the face with Rhett's pistol
  • in the "Paddock" scene, Ashley's admission to Scarlett that he felt spiritless and afraid of "life becoming too real...losing the beauty of that, that life I loved...Now I find myself in a world which for me is worse than death. A world in which there's no place for me"
  • the scene of Scarlett hiding her poverty by wearing a green velvet gown sewn from Tara's living room drapes, in order to impress Rhett so he would pay Tara's taxes: "I'm going to Atlanta for that $300 and I gotta go looking like a queen"
  • Rhett's second marriage proposal to Scarlett: "You've been married to a boy and an old man. Why not try a husband of the right age, with a way with women?"; she responded with a taunt: "You're a fool, Rhett Butler, when you know I shall always love another man"; however, she was bullied into kissing him and then agreed to marry him - mostly for his money and to save Tara
Rhett's Second Marriage Proposal
  • the quick deterioration of Rhett's and Scarlett's marriage, compounded by Scarlett's vow of abstinence and her continuing love for Ashley; in a dramatic conjugal rape scene, the drunken Rhett asserted his will by carrying headstrong wife Scarlett up a long flight of stairs to their bedroom while threatening: "You've turned me out while you chased Ashley Wilkes, while you dreamed of Ashley Wilkes. This is one night you're not turning me out"; the next morning, Scarlett had clearly enjoyed their previous night's sexual experience - awakening with a smiling and happy face
Conjugal Rape Sequence and The Morning After
  • during one of their continuing arguments and threatened divorce, the pregnant Scarlett reached out to strike Rhett - she missed and accidentally fell headlong down the long flight of stairs, aborting his child that she was carrying
  • the scene of the death of Rhett and Scarlett's young daughter Bonnie Blue Butler (Cammie King), when she defied Rhett and attempted an impossible horse jump - her neck was broken and she was killed in the tragic horse-riding accident
  • the scene of Melanie's death-bed passing when with kind and gentle words, Melanie advised that Scarlett take care of her son, Ashley, and Rhett: "Look after him for me, just as you looked after me for him. Look after him, but never let him know...Promise?...Captain Butler, be kind to him...He loves you so"
  • the sequence of the last (and final) breakup between Rhett and Scarlett, when he told her: "It seems we've been at cross purposes, doesn't it? But it's no use now. As long as there was Bonnie, there was a chance we might be happy. I liked to think that Bonnie was you, a little girl again, before the war and poverty had done things to you. She was so like you, and I could pet her and spoil her - as I wanted to spoil you. But when she went, she took everything" - he walked down the stairs ready to say a final goodbye at the front door; she asked: "Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?" - he cooly responded with his closing line: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn"
  • the conclusion, exhibiting Scarlett's tearful resilience, resoluteness and declaration of her resourcefulness - refusing to acknowledge defeat after Rhett's exit: "I can't let him go. I can't. There must be some way to bring him back. Oh I can't think about this now! I'll go crazy if I do! I'll think about it tomorrow. But I must think about it. I must think about it. What is there to do? What is there that matters? ..Tara!...Home. I'll go home, and I'll think of some way to get him back! After all, tomorrow is another day!" - the film ended with a close-up of Scarlett's tear-stained face that slowly dissolved into an earlier shot - a long view of Scarlett standing alone under the gnarled tree with Tara in the background
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn"
"After all, tomorrow is another day!"

Scarlett's Introduction: "Fiddle-dee-dee"

"That's Rhett Butler! He's from Charleston. He has the most terrible reputation"

Scarlett's Spiteful and Impulsive Decision to Marry Charles Hamilton

Atlanta Charity Ball - Rhett Bidding and Dancing with Widowed Mrs. Charles Hamilton (Scarlett)

Rhett: "You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how"

The Tattered Confederate Flag at Train Station

Prissy: "I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies!"

Flight From Burning Atlanta

Scarlett Rejecting Rhett's Marriage Proposal While He Fled Atlanta to Join the Army

Scarlett: "I'll never be hungry again"

Scarlett's Killing of Union Deserter at Tara

Scarlett Debasing Herself By Wearing Green Velvet Drapes to Impress Rhett

Bonnie's Tragic Death


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