220 user 36 critic

The Fountainhead (1949)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 2 July 1949 (USA)
2:18 | Trailer
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 <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Ayn Rand wanted Clifton Webb to play the villain, but studio chiefs nixed the idea and Robert Douglas was cast instead. See more »


When the Banner prints its front page story "The Truth about Howard Roark", a six-paragraph story is shown - but the first three paragraphs of the story are exactly the same as the last three paragraphs. See more »


Ellsworth Toohey: Artistic value is achieved collectively by each man subordinating himself to the standards of the majority.
See more »


Referenced in Identity Thief (2013) See more »

User Reviews

A classic! One of Cooper's and Neal's finest films!
28 September 2000 | by verna55See all my reviews

This film doesn't always get the attention it deserves, but this sticks in my mind as one of Hollywood's greatest films of the 1940's. Based on Ayn Rand's popular novel, THE FOUNTAINHEAD unites two of Hollywood's most legendary stars, Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal doing some of their finest work ever. Though many people who have seen this film claim that Cooper was miscast, he still gives a memorable performance and makes a strong impression. Cooper plays a gifted architect whose fierce individualism nearly ruins his career. Patricia Neal is an equally headstrong critic whose interest in Cooper goes beyond his work. Neal is a perfect match for the tough, will-of-iron Cooper. In fact, the chemistry between these two is amazing. Though their intimate moments are fairly tame by today's standards, Cooper and Neal ignite fire in their love-making scenes. It's not surprising that their on-screen romance carried over into real life. My favorite scene is where an infuriated Neal rides up on horseback and thrashes her whip across Cooper's face when he rejects her not-so subtle invitation up to her bedroom. This scene could have easily turned campy, but King Vidor is such a skilled director, and Cooper and Neal are such distinguished and professional actors that the scene comes off in a rather smooth and serious fashion.

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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)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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