For decades, I have heard Alabama folks say, “'Gone with the Wind' was so much better on the big screen.”

“How can you burn Atlanta on a TV screen?”

“’Big Sam’ looked so much bigger at the theater.”

On this, the 85th anniversary of the film classic, the movie industry has heard your suggestion. The film will be shown in Alabama theaters on April 7, 8 and 10 — a return to the big screen.

Tickets and showtimes can be found here.

The official invitation from Fathom Events: 

Winner of eight Academy Awards®. Celebrate the 85th anniversary of one of the most celebrated motion pictures of all time, Gone With the Wind!  Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland and Hattie McDaniel star in this classic epic of the American South. On the eve of the American Civil War, rich, beautiful and self-centered Scarlett O’Hara (Leigh, in her Oscar-winning role) has everything she could want- except Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard). But as the war devastates the South, Scarlett discovers the strength within herself to protect her family and rebuild her life. Through everything, she longs for Ashley, seemingly unaware that she is already married to the man she really loves (Butler) – and who truly loves her – until she finally drives him away. Only then does Scarlett realize what she has lost..and decides to win him back.

A trailer for the 85th-anniversary presentation can be found here.

Theaters in Alabama showing the film for the anniversary are:

Vestavia Hills 10








The restored historical theaters in Alabama are apparently not being used for the showing: Birmingham’s Alabama Theatre and Ritz Theater; Mobile’s Saenger; the Ritz Theater in Talladega; the Ritz Theater in Sheffield; the Bama Theater in Tuscaloosa.  What have I left out?

"Gone with the Wind" is a 1939 American historical romance film based on the 1936 novel of the same title by Atlanta’s Margaret Mitchell.  It is set in the American South against the backdrop of the Civil War and the Reconstruction period.

The film received mostly positive reviews but was criticized for its unusually long running time – four hours.

Yankee commentators criticized it then and now, saying it glorifies slavery and the lost cause of the Confederacy.  Mamie, Big Sam and other slaves were portrayed as happy and loyal to the O’Hara family and Tara plantation.

It was the highest-earning film at the time. With adjustments for inflation, it remains the highest-grossing film.

Over 300,000 people showed up in Atlanta for the film's premiere at Lowe’s Grand Theatre on December 15, 1939. It was the climax of three days of festivities hosted by Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield, who later became the namesake of the Atlanta airport.  

President Jimmy Carter, a Georgia native, later called it "the biggest event to happen in the South in my lifetime". 

One actress in the film, Olivia de Havilland as Melanie, had lived to the 80th anniversary but did not make it for the 85th. She died in 2020 at age 104. She was the last of the cast to die.

“There was a land of cavaliers and cotton Fields called the Old South... Here in this pretty world, gallantry took its last bow... Here was the last ever to be seen of knights and their ladies fair, of master and of slave... Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered. A civilization gone with the wind...”   — Original title card   

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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