A Parent’s Guide to Gone with the Wind (Movie)

Gone with the Wind by Victor Fleming (Director) and David O. Selznik (Producer)

Type: Historical Fiction, Romance, War

Basic Plot: Scarlett O’ Hara, a spoiled girl, lives through and is transformed by the horrors and brutalities of the Civil War.

Quality

Plot: 5/5 Excellent: Gone with the Wind is a perfect war drama. It has action, romance, horror, and history all mixed together to make a perfect story, with a few dashes of humor. Though in many ways a romance, Gone with the Wind deals with more than the chemistry of two characters; it deals with the hearts and the souls of the South during its most conflicting and traumatic time.

Acting: 5/5 Excellent: Acting is real and sensational. Major and minor characters create a fascinating world far different from our own, with realistic portrayals of emotion. All of the characters line up with the book and are easy to be imagined as the novel characters. Being a long movie, actors and actresses are also able to portray personality changes without differing too much as the movie progresses, mainly the main character Scarlett.

Costumes and Scenery: 4/5 Well Done: The movie portrays a paradise and a pit of hoopskirts and rags. From the affluent landowners to the slaves, everyone is well and realistically dressed. One thing I especially liked was that the outfits changed as according to the era. This attention to detail will be appreciated by those who study the social and cultural details of history.

As for the scenery, it is outstanding for a movie written in the nineteen thirties. The makers must have had a hefty budget, with the elaborate mansions, dramatic explosions, and beautiful farmlands.

Moral: 2/5 A Not Too Clear Moral: I’ve read the novel once and seen the movie twice, and have long concluded that the moral of the story is that selfish behavior, even for a good cause, will end in disappointment and disaster. Scarlett starts out as a spoiled girl and through tragedy grows into a self-centered woman, caring for little outside of fun and money. Believing this will bring through joy, Scarlett lives however she wants, not regarding her husbands, friends, or relatives. She eventually realizes that friends and family make you happy, not material wealth, but by this time it is too late. She has nothing left accept her cold, hard cash, all of the warm love she was once offered being gone.

Though this moral is good and applicable, it must be found with careful consideration. One could watch the movie and be so swept in the story that they miss the moral, especially if they are young. Many though, I believe, will also see the moral and realize the ere of Scarlett’s ways.

Overall: 4/5 Well Done: Gone with the Wind is a movie masterpiece, especially for the time period it was made. I would recommend the movie to teenagers and adults, though women may enjoy it more than most men.

Moral Content

Official Rating: G

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 3/5 Suggestive Sexual Content: Women are seen in dresses showing cleavage and shoulders. A woman pulls her dress lower, and she is reprimanded by someone for wearing a low dress in the morning. Women are seen in their corsets and drawers, sometimes by their husbands. A woman takes off her nightgown so it can be used to cover something, though none of the nudity is shown. There are eight kisses between married and unmarried couples, two of these being adulterous. Characters kiss others on the cheek and forehead. A woman once expects a man to kiss her, and he doesn’t. A man says a woman “needs to be kissed, and by someone who knows how.” A woman is in loved with a married man throughout the book and tries to convince him to run away with her once or twice; he always refuses. It is mentioned that a child was born outside of wedlock, and later the man is reprimanded for not marrying the girl before being with her. A woman’s reputation is mentioned to have been ruined because she was with a man alone, and she didn’t marry him. Some men take baths behind towels, though no nudity is shown outside the chest. A woman offers to be a man’s mistress for money, though he refuses and nothing to explicit is said outside of that the man isn’t “a marrying man.” A woman tells her husband that she won’t sleep with him and says that she knows a friend that lives that way. It is hinted that a man might have forced himself on his wife (in the novel he sort of does), though the next day it is revealed that she didn’t mind it. Some characters are briefly seen doing the can-can, showing petticoats and legs. A woman says that a man looks “at [her] as if [he] knew what I looked like without my shimmy,” and a friend reprimands her. A man asks his wife who the father of her child is; it’s his. A man mentions “pantalets” (a type of Victorian underclothing) in speech and is reproved. A man carries a woman because she is sick.

Violence: 3/5 A Fair Amount of Violence: A man mentions in speech that he broke his leg while riding a horse. A man and a child die from horse accidents. Characters mention wanting to duel. Two men aggressively attack a woman. A man kicks a door open. Characters are slapped four times. A woman lunges at a man and falls down a flight of stairs. A woman beats on a man. Characters threaten to whip their inferiors or worry that it will happen. One of these includes a man threatening his wife. Men are whipped. Men punch and shove each other, one or two to unconsciousness. Characters are shot and bleed. One of these instances is a woman killing a man in self defense. A man pushes a woman into a chair. A drunk man attempts to crush a woman’s skull, but doesn’t. He talks about ripping her apart, but says he won’t. Characters throw dirt, glass, porcelain, and water, sometimes at people, though not always hitting them. Characters whip animals. It is mentioned that a man shot his horse. Violence is sometimes joked about in speech, such as “make sure you shoot the Yankees and not the nag” (a horse).

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Some Misuse: “Damn” is misused once. The word “hell” is used correctly once. “Gee” is misused once. People are called “darkie” and “poor white trash” several times each. “Wench” is used at least once.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 3/5A Lot of Fairly Dramatic and Emotional Scenes: Since the movie is set in war time, there is a lot of war drama and death. Dying men lie in hospital beds and streets, groaning and covered in blood and bandages. They loudly complain that they are in pain. A man’s leg is removed off screen and his screams can be heard. Buildings explode. A man and a girl die from horse accidents. A man goes into a deep depression after this. This results in a miscarriage. An animal dies from overwork and being whipped. It is mentioned that men die from various diseases. A man believes his dead wife is alive and talks about her as if she was. A woman sees her dead mother. A woman once has hospital blood on her apron. A man gets a head wound. A man stalks a chicken with an ax, though humorously. Characters cry for various reasons, such as war trauma and nightmares, and one part of the movie shows families crying over relatives that had died in the war. Characters talk about being afraid of dieing. “Death” is used for descriptive purposes. Characters talk about war and wanting war to start. Fainting is briefly mentioned about twice in speech. A woman tells a man that “[she’ll] kill [him],” but she doesn’t. A boy says he will “kill the Yankees” for killing his brother, though he is reprimanded. A character is accused of murder.

Religious Issues: 2/5 Brief Mention: Characters recite Catholic prayers once. Infant baptism is mentioned. A woman says she is afraid she will go to hell for living a certain way, and her companion says that for all they know “there isn’t any hell.”

Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: “Dragon” and “fairyland” are used for descriptive purposes.

Others: Various alcoholic drinks are drunk and mentioned in speech. A man reprimands his daughter for drinking, and a husband mentions his wife’s drinking habits too her. A man is drunk once, and a woman says she hopes she gets drunk. A person is called a “drunken fool.” Characters gamble, once playing poker. A girl fetches a man from a saloon, though she doesn’t go inside. Characters smoke. A man marries his cousin, and another pair of cousins plans to marry, though they never do. Characters dance. Divorce is mentioned in speech, though no one gets any.

Overall: 4/5 Adult Appropriate: Several things in this movie could be seen as objectionable, such as the amount of war violence and the suggested rape scene. I will say for a war movie, it is fairly clean, but there are a lot of Christians I would not recommend this movie to. For those who would, I would recommend sixteen years old and older as a minimum and twenty-one as a maximum.

IMPORTANT: Whatever feelings that may have been expressed about the movie, I personally do not highly recommend the book, as it is much more descriptive in its sexual and content and has a lot more language.

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