On this day in 1939, one of the most famous movies lines was uttered in front of a camera.
Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
Rhett Buttler’s famous last words to Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind has been voted the #1 movie quote by AFI, and is one of the most quoted film lines. Ever. You’ve probably said it, even if you didn’t know what it was or where it was from.
But, did you know that the original line was “Frankly, my dear, I just don’t care”? Here’s a bit of Hollywood history for you: the original script didn’t have the curse word in order to avoid a fine for violating the Hays Code (yes, we were a censored lot back in the early twentieth century).
Yet director Victor Fleming decided he didn’t give a flying rat’s ass about the Hays Code and shot the scene with both versions of the line. And presto, we have movie history, even though the censors fined the producers $5,000 for using the word “damn.” Once.
Accounting for inflation, in 2013, that would be like handing out $83, 793.17 for saying “damn.” Once.
It’s a good thing that Gone With the Wind has the biggest box office draw in the history of cinema and could afford to pay the damn fine. (If you’re interested, the adjusted gross income for the film is $1,604,234,300).
So here it is, the most famous line from the biggest movie in history.
If this article had to stand up to the Hays Code, I’d be paying at least $335,172.68 in fines. So go and be really damn happy that censorship has taken a back seat (for now).
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