Gone but Not Forgotten: Gone with the Wind is Still America’s Favorite Movie

New York , N.Y. – December 17, 2014 – It may have premiered 75 years ago, but it would appear that Wind has still got legs: when asked to name their favorite movie of all time, the septuagenarian Civil War epic Gone with the Wind is Americans’ top pick again (the film was also America’s favorite movie in 2008).

With six movies in the can and a much-discussed trailer now making the rounds for Episode Seven Star Wars soars into the same runner up position it held in 2008. Meanwhile, Titanic is doing anything but sinking; after not making the top 10 in 2008, the 1997 love story may not quite be king of the world this time around – but surely rounding out the top three is none too shabby.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,276 U.S. adults surveyed online between November 12 and 17, 2014.

The remainder of the top 10 list represents a mix of genres and ages:

  • The Godfather must have made someone an offer they couldn’t refuse, as the crime classic has risen five spots to #4 this year.
  • Perhaps helped along by the continuing tales of Middle Earth hitting movie screens in recent years The Lord of the Rings shows little change – it drops one spot from its 2008 position, coming in this year at #5.
  • Music plays a prominent role in the next three films on the list. In fact, it’s right there in the title for film #6 The Sound of Music, which drops one spot from 2008.
    • Dirty Dancing may not be a musical in the traditional sense, but its soundtrack – which stands as one of the best-selling albums of all time – certainly may have played a role in its 7th-place finish (the film was not among the top 10 in 2008).
    • And of course, there’s no place like… the top 10 list – even if you have slipped a couple of spots. The Wizard of Oz, what with its ruby slippers, emerald cities and yellow brick roads, is #8 among Americans’ favorite films, down two spots from 2008.
  • It’s a Wonderful Life Frank Capra’s tale of the difference one good person can make in the world, takes spot #9 after not making it onto the top 10 in 2008. Meanwhile E.T. phones home from the #10 spot, also making it onto the top 10 list for the first time.

Inconceivable!

With four films making it onto the top 10 list for the first time, that means four former inhabitants of that list relinquished their top-10 status this year:

  • Casablanca may have seen the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but that wasn’t enough to help it maintain its #3 spot from 2008.
  • The Notebook meanwhile, seems to have been written out of the #7 position it held the last time around.
  • Forrest Gump fell off the top 10 list after coming in 8th in 2008; perhaps he can comfort himself with a nice box of chocolates.
  • And in an inconceivable turn of events The Princess Bride drops off the top 10 after a 9th-place tie in 2008. As you wish, indeed!

Favorite films vary among different groups of Americans

Favorite movies show some variation among different groups, with that variation growing when expanding the view to Americans’ top three.

  • As most might expect, gender plays a role. Men are most likely to list Star Wars as their favorite film, followed by The Godfather and Titanic. Women, meanwhile, name Gone with the Wind Titanic and Dirty Dancing as their top three.
  • Among Millennials Titanic is the top film followed by Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. Gen Xers put Star Wars first, with Titanic and The Godfather rounding out the top three. Gone with the Wind is the top pick among Baby Boomers and Matures alike, though their selections diverge from there; Star Wars and Titanic round out the top three for Baby Boomers, while for Matures it’s The Sound of Music and The Godfather.
  • In our divisive political times it may come as little surprise that Republicans and Democrats can’t even agree on a favorite film. WhileGone with the Wind comes in as the top pick among Republicans (followed by Star Wars and The Godfather) and Independents (withTitanic and Star Wars rounding out the top three), Democrats put Star Wars ahead of all others (followed by Gone with the Wind and Titanic).


TABLE 1

FAVORITE MOVIE

What is your favorite movie of all time?

Unprompted responses

Base: All adults

2008

2014

Gone with the Wind

1

1

Star Wars

2

2

Titanic

 

3

The Godfather

9

4

Lord of the Rings

4

5

The Sound of Music

5

6

Dirty Dancing

 

7

Wizard of Oz

6

8

It’s a Wonderful Life

 

9

E.T.

 

10

= prior to a number indicates a tie

Not in top 10

DROPPED OUT OF TOP 10 SINCE 2008

Casablanca (#3), The Notebook (#7), Forrest Gump (#8), The Princess Bride (#9 – tie)

 

TABLE 2

TOP THREE MOVIES AMONG DIFFERENT GROUPS

Group

FIRST CHOICE

SECOND CHOICE

THIRD CHOICE

Men

Star Wars

The Godfather

Titanic

Women

Gone with the Wind

Titanic

Dirty Dancing

East

Gone with the Wind

The Godfather

Titanic

Midwest

Titanic

Gone with the Wind

Star Wars

South

Gone with the Wind

Star Wars

Lord of the Rings

West

Star Wars

Titanic

Gone with the Wind

Millennials (18-37)

Titanic

Lord of the Rings

Star Wars

Gen X (38-49)

Star Wars

Titanic

The Godfather

Baby Boomers (50-68)

Gone with the Wind

Star Wars

Titanic

Matures (69+)

Gone with the Wind

The Sound of Music

The Godfather

Republicans

Gone with the Wind

Star Wars

The Godfather

Democrats

Star Wars

Gone with the Wind

Titanic

Independents

Gone with the Wind

Titanic

Star Wars

Children in HH

Titanic

Star Wars

Dirty Dancing/ Grease (Tie)

No children in HH

Gone with the Wind

Star Wars

Titanic

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between November 12 and 17, 2014 among 2,276 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #112, December 17, 2014

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll