The Fountainhead (1949)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  2 July 1949 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 6,951 users  
Reviews: 197 user | 28 critic

An uncompromising, visionary architect struggles to maintain his integrity and individualism despite personal, professional and economic pressures to conform to popular standards.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Complete credited cast:
Kent Smith ...
Robert Douglas ...
Moroni Olsen ...
Jerome Cowan ...
Alvah Scarret


Individualistic and idealistic architect Howard Roark is expelled from college because his designs fail to fit with existing architectural thinking. He seems unemployable but finally lands a job with like-minded Henry Cameron, however within a few years Cameron drinks himself to death, warning Roark that the same fate awaits unless he compromises his ideals. Roark is determined to retain his artistic integrity at all costs. Written by Col Needham <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


No Man Takes What's Mine ! See more »


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 July 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le rebelle  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film's failure was largely attributed to Gary Cooper, who at 47 was much older than his twenty-something character and was considered by many critics to be unconvincing playing a man with high ideals. See more »


When Roark is drilling rock in the quarry, he is doing so without any eye protection. See more »


Roger Enright: No madam I have nothing to say about this building. God gave you eyes and a mind which you're to use. If you fail to do so the loss is yours, not mine.
Female Party Guest: But don't you want to convince me?
Roger Enright: Is there any reason why that should be my concern?
See more »


Referenced in Identity Thief (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

The house was a temple to his wife ...
9 July 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This overheated potboiler attempts to make a social comment on the corrupt nature of conforming to the wishes of the masses, when its most interesting aspect these days is the teaming on screen (and off) of gruff-voiced Patricia Neal and her self-confessed 'love of her life', Gary Cooper. Their love scenes together are certainly not lukewarm!

Aside from this, there's a convoluted plot about architecture, the newspaper business, and the understated power of the humble columnist. Raymond Massey moves from one situation to the next with the same lack of passion, eventually giving Cooper and Neal their chance to simmer in close proximity. Robert Douglas is terrific as the obnoxious architectural critic, Ellsworth Toohey; while Kent Smith and Henry Hull put in OK performances as a weak architect of little originality, and a nervous press room editor, respectively.

The ones who catch the eye of the viewer, however, are Neal and Cooper. Towering performances in camp classic style. The imagery, too, is suitably suggestive – drills in a stone quarry, large skyscraping buildings, whips and pokers.

'The Fountainhead', adapted by Ayn Rand from her own novel and brought to the screen under the direction of King Vidor, is enjoyable despite the odd bout of overacting from both its principal and minor actors, and a truly silly script on occasion. The movie isn't great but in using the world in which it is set as a character of equivalent power to anyone on the screen, it sets itself apart as more than just run-of-the-mill.

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