The movie "Gone with the Wind" premiered in 1939 and immediately became a controversial classic.

Image courtesy MGM

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  • On December 15, 1939, Gone With the Wind premiered in Atlanta, Georgia. The film, a 3-hour epic set during the American Civil War, has become the most-watched movie in the United States. In addition to romantic drama, Gone with the Wind shows many of the changes endured by the South during and after the war.

    Gone With the Wind is not without critics, however. The film focuses on the romantic and economic status of a wealthy white family living on a plantation near Atlanta. The social upheaval experienced by African Americans in the South following the Civil War is virtually ignored or trivialized. The complex conversation about race is further complicated by the fact that Hattie McDaniel, the actress who played what many consider a stereotyped character, became the first African American to be nominated for an acting Oscar—and the first to win, something that would not happen for another 25 years.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    Civil War Noun

    (1860-1865) American conflict between the Union (north) and Confederacy (south).

    complex Noun

    group of structures or parts that are somehow related.

    complicate Verb

    to make more complex, difficult, or detailed.

    economic Adjective

    having to do with money.

    Oscar Noun

    award given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for achievements in motion-picture production and performance.

    plantation Noun

    large estate or farm involving large landholdings and many workers.

    premier Adjective

    leading or primary.

    race Noun

    arbitrary grouping of people based on genetics and physical characteristics.

    stereotype Noun

    a general characteristic associated with a group of people.

    virtually Adverb

    almost or nearly.

    wealthy Adjective

    very rich.