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


King Vidor


Ayn Rand (screenplay), Ayn Rand (novel)





Complete credited cast:
Gary Cooper ... Howard Roark
Patricia Neal ... Dominique Francon
Raymond Massey ... Gail Wynand
Kent Smith ... Peter Keating
Robert Douglas ... Ellsworth M. Toohey
Henry Hull ... Henry Cameron
Ray Collins ... Roger Enright
Moroni Olsen ... Chairman
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


Monumental Best-Seller! Towering Screen Triumph! See more »


Drama | Romance


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Did You Know?


King Vidor was Ayn Rand's personal choice for the movie's director, as was its star Gary Cooper. See more »


When Cameron smashes the window in Roark's office, you can see that the flag outside the window flying in the skyline is not rippling and therefore is part of a photographic backdrop rather than a live location. See more »


Howard Roark: I don't build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build!
See more »


Featured in Hollywood et les hommes (2013) See more »

User Reviews

What Might Have Been
11 May 2002 | by mrjarndyceSee all my reviews

This might have been, in fact, a great movie. Vidor directs with a sure and excellently paced hand; the visual elements are striking; and young Pat Neal is a raw marvel on screen. This is not a great movie because someone made the spectacular mistake of letting Rand write the screenplay. Thus, her objectivist philosophy is ludicrously masked as dialogue. Please note: I care little about her views themselves. I can admire a fine script and disagree with its message. But this is downright cartoonish. Dull businessmen say things like, 'Say, Roark, there's no point to trying something new!', or, 'Look here, old man, just go along with what the people like!' I don't exaggerate - it really is that overblown, and poor Gary Cooper looks awfully embarrassed when he has to defend his integrity in equally dreadful lines. A shame, all around. And not much in the way of promoting Rand's dream, to be sure. Who can subscribe to a movement with so inept a spokesperson?

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Release Date:

2 July 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Fountainhead See more »

Filming Locations:

Fresno, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$2,375,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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