“Gone With the Wind,” Victor Fleming’s 1939 romantic epic set against the backdrop of the Civil War and Reconstruction, celebrates its 80th birthday this year with a two-day return to movie theaters nationwide.
Starring Vivien Leigh as the Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable as her roguish suitor, Rhett Butler, “Gone With the Wind” remains — when adjusted for inflation — the highest-grossing film of all time, with the equivalent of $1.8 billion at the box office.
Though long criticized for its sympathetic depiction of white slave-owners and a once-glorious South ravaged by war — not to mention its black stereotypes, coded references to the Klan and a controversial scene of marital rape — “Gone With the Wind” is nevertheless consistently praised as an example of spectacular entertainment from the Golden Age of Hollywood. It has a charismatic cast, elaborate sets, dazzling color (it was the first color film to win the best picture Oscar) and sweeping direction by Fleming, whose other masterpiece, “The Wizard of Oz,” arrived in theaters the same year.
The film will play multiple show times Feb. 28 and Mar. 3 at several Long Island theaters. For venues and tickets go to fathomevents.com.