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‘GWTW’ is most-watched film in Britain

Next are ‘Sound of Music,’ ‘Snow White,’ ‘Star Wars’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Gone With the Wind,” the American Civil War saga starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, is the most-watched movie in British history, according to the British Film Institute.

Some 35 million people have seen “Gone With the Wind” since its release in Britain in 1940, according to a tally of movie ticket sales, the institute said Sunday.

“The Sound of Music” is in the No. 2 spot with an estimated 30 million tickets sold since its release in 1965, followed by “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” released in 1938 and seen by 28 million people, and George Lucas’ “Star Wars,” released in Britain in 1978, with 20.7 million tickets sold.

One-third of the films in the top 100 are British, led by the 1948 romantic comedy “Spring in Park Lane,” which is in fifth place with 20.5 million tickets sold.

The institute compared ticket sales for films since the introduction of talking pictures in 1927 for “The Ultimate Film” TV show. For movies released before the 1970s, when official records weren’t always available, researchers used anecdotal evidence and figures from trade publications.

“It might come as a surprise that this is the first time that we have had a list based on the films that people have most wanted to see, and some of the results might come as yet more of a surprise, especially some of those which date from a time when the cinema was even more important to lived experience in the country than it is today,” said Ray Templeton, head of the BFI National Library, in a statement.

Rounding out the top 10 films: “The Best Years of Our Lives,” released in 1947, 20.4 million; “The Jungle Book,” 1968, 19.8 million; “Titanic,” 1998, 18.9 million; “The Wicked Lady,” 1946, 18.4 million; and “The Seventh Veil,” 1945, 17.9 million.