The Highest Grossing Film of all time…adjusted for inflation is…

Gone with the wind


6 Degrees of Film recently listed the 100 highest grossing films of all time. But the highest grossing film, adjusted for inflation, would be Gone with the Wind.  Just to confuse the issue, the top grossing film of all time, as it stands today, is disputed. It was Titanic when we last reported on the numbers some months ago, although current lists name Avatar. But in the 60 years since Gone with the Wind was made, it held the record of biggest grossing box office film for the longest period of time.

The most successful US films of all time according to their box office receipts would be:

1. Gone with the Wind
2. Star Wars
3. The Sound of Music
4. ET The Extra-Terrestrial
5. The Ten Commandments
6. Titanic
7. Jaws
8. Doctor Zhivago
9. The Exorcist
10.  Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

At the time of its premiere, Gone with the Wind was a big deal. It had seen lots of publicity surrounding the making of the film. Director David O Selznick was the consummate showman, and the casting of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler were the equivalent of the modern casting of the beloved characters from Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. Everyone had an opinion, but Clark Gable was universally approved to play Rhett Butler.

The English actress cast as Scarlett, Vivien Leigh, was a relative newcomer to US audiences and her casting was considered controversial in its day. But the premiere and the subsequent release proved to be a universal success and the rest, as they say, is history.

There are some controversies swirling now about the Political Correctness, or In-Correctness, of some of the sequences and the stereotyped characters of the plantation slaves in the Old South. But compared to a film with true racist overtones like “The Birth of a Nation”, the pushback has been relatively mild for Gone with the Wind.

The film is beautifully shot and definitely worth seeing if you have never experienced it. Gone with the Wind is being shown this Sunday at Tampa Theatre as part of their Summer Film Series.

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Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at

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