Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" is a line from the 1939 film Gone with the Wind starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh.

It was spoken by Gable, as Rhett Butler, in his last words to Scarlett O'Hara. It occurs at the end of the film when Scarlett asks Rhett, "Where shall I go? What shall I do?" if he leaves her. The line is memorable not only because it contains profanity (which was generally not allowed in films of that time period), but because it demonstrates that Rhett has finally given up on Scarlett and no longer cares what happens to her.

This quotation was voted the number one movie line of all time by the American Film Institute 2005.

In the novel Gone with the Wind, Rhett does not say "Frankly," but simply "My dear, I don't give a damn." The context is also different; he is speaking quietly to Scarlett in a room, not storming dramatically out of the house.

Production code conflict

Prior to the film's release, censors objected to the use of the word "damn" in the film, a word that had been prohibited by the 1930 Motion Picture Association's Production Code that was first enforced in July 1934. However, before 1930 the word "damn" had been relatively common in films. (In the silent era, John Gilbert even shouted "Goddamn you!" to the enemy during battle in The Big Parade (1925). The Production Code was ratified on March 31, 1930, and was effective for motion pictures whose filming began afterward. Thus, talkies that used "damn" include Glorifying the American Girl (1929), Flight (1929), Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929), Hell's Angels (1930), The Big Trail (1930), The Dawn Patrol (1930), and The Green Goddess (1930).) Although legend persists that the Hays Office fined producer David O. Selznick $5,000 for using the word "damn," in fact the MPA board passed an amendment to the Production Code on November 1, 1939, a month and a half before the film's release, that forbade use of the words "hell" or "damn" except when their use "shall be essential and required for portrayal, in proper historical context, of any scene or dialogue based upon historical fact or folklore … or a quotation from a literary work, provided that no such use shall be permitted which is intrinsically objectionable or offends good taste." With that amendment, the Production Code Administration had no further objection to Rhett's closing line.

It is actually the second use of "damn" in the film. The term "damn Yankees" is heard in the parlor scene at Twelve Oaks.

In popular culture

In the 1985 film, Clue, during the first ending, after Miss Scarlett is apprehended by Wadsworth, and the police chief enters the mansion, Scarlett turns to Wadsworth and asks him to "not hate her for trying to shoot him," to which he replies "Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn."

In an episode of The Simpsons, "The Old Man and the "C" Student", the old folks watch an edited version of the movie in which Rhett's line is "Frankly, my dear, I love you! Let's remarry!", to which Bart says "they cut out the best word!". It is also stated that the Civil War was edited out of this version.

In the 1994 film "The Mask", Jim Carrey says, "Tell Scarlett I do give a damn."

In Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride" when the dead walk among the living, one of the skeletons says that line.

In 1994 the American band "Sparks" released the song "Frankly, Scarlett, I Don't Give A Damn" on their album "Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins"





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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