9. Gone With The Wind (1939)
Based on: Gone With The Wind, by Margaret Mitchell (1936)
Gone With The Wind is the ultimate Hollywood epic, the first of its massive kind and a sprawling masterwork that remains exemplary 70-plus years after its theatrical debut—Margaret Mitchell's 1936, 1,000-plus-page novel doesn't stand a chance against it. Which isn't to say that Mitchell's book is one that should be instantly dismissed; also huge in scope, Gone With The Wind the book is one of literature's great romances, following spoiled rich chick Scarlett O'Hara's efforts to handle unaccepted love and sudden poverty during the American Civil War.
Changing the film game forever, producer David O. Selznick and directors George Cukor and Sam Wood smashed building-sized piggy banks to make an extravaganza unlike anything that came before it. The filmmakers conceived a 220-minute dazzler full of lavish sets, impeccable period costumes, battle scenes, and first-rate acting—all in 1939, when Hollywood's resources were nowhere near today's endless options.