The Fountainhead

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): King Vidor
Production: Criterion Collection
Rotten Tomatoes:
114 min

Do you want to stand alone

against the whole world?

There's no place

for originality in architecture.

Nobody can improve on the buildings of the

past. One can only learn to copy them.

We've tried to teach you

the accepted historical styles.

You refuse to learn. You won't consider

anybody's judgment but your own.

You insist on designing buildings

that look like nothing ever built before.

This school has no choice

but to expel you.

It is my duty as your dean

to say you will never become an architect.

You can't hope to survive

unless you learn how to compromise.

Watch me. In just a few short years

I'll shoot to the top...

...of the profession because

I'm gonna give the public what it wants.

You'll never get anywhere.

So you want to work

for Henry Cameron, huh?

Oh, I know. He was a great

architect 30 years ago.

But he fought for modern


...and he's done for. What do you get?

Why do you wanna work for me?

You're setting out to ruin yourself.

You know that?

I ought to throw you out of here

right now before it's too late.

l... I wish I'd done this

at your age.

Why did you have to come to me?

I'm perfectly happy

with the drooling dolts I've got.

I don't want any fool visionaries

starving around here.

You're an egotist. You're impertinent.

You're too sure of yourself.

Twenty years ago, I'd have punched

your face with the greatest of pleasure.

You're coming to work for me

tomorrow morning at 9:00.

No, no, no.

Now, leave these here. Now get out.


What's your name?

Howard Roark.

Paper here. Read all about it.

Paper, mister?

Get your morning Banner.

Read all about it.

Morning Banner.

Paper, mister?

Get your Banner.

Read all about it.

Morning Banner, sir.

Read all about it.

Give me that paper.

Now give me another one.

Give me all of them.

I said, give me all of them.

You... You all think

I'm beaten, don't you?

That's all the money I've got,

but I can still do this with my money.

I can still do this...

Howard. Look at... Look here.

In this paper, won't you...

It's no use, Howard.

Why don't you give up?

Come inside.

It's no use.

You... You took over

when I gave it up.

My... My heir, eh?

And look at it.

You haven't got

any further than I did...

...and you won't.

- We'll see.

How many years have you

been on your own now?

And what have you got

to show for it?

You've done four buildings

in all these years.

That's quite a good deal

to show for it.

After the kind of struggle you've had?

I didn't expect it to be easy,

but those who want me will come to me.

They don't want you, son. Don't you

understand? This is what they want.

Gail Wynand's Banner the foulest

newspaper on earth.

You hold to your own ideas

and you'll starve.

Gail Wynand gives people

what they ask for:

The common, the vulgar,

and the trite.

And he's maybe the most

powerful man living.

- Can you fight that?

- I never notice it.

Look. You see those people down there?

You know what they think of architecture?

I don't care what they think

of architecture or anything else.

l... I don't want to see

what they'll do to you.

Me, I am... I'm through.

I've had enough.

I don't want any part

of Gail Wynand's city!

Get me an ambulance.

Howard, look

at those buildings.

Skyscrapers, the greatest structural

invention of man.

Yet they made them

look like Greek temples...

...Gothic cathedrals and mongrels

of every ancient style they could borrow...

...just because others had done it.

I told them.

I told them that the form of a building

must follow its function.

That new materials demand new forms.

That one building can't borrow

pieces of another's shape...

...just as one man can't

borrow another's soul.

Howard, every new idea in the world

comes from the mind of some one man...

...and you know the price

he has to pay for it?

I built that.

Howard, you do me a favor.

All my things that you're keeping

for me, I want you to burn them.

All my... My papers,

my drawings, my contracts.

- Everything. Burn them, will you?

- Yes.

I don't want to leave anything

to the world.

How sorry, I'm leaving you

to face them.

Howard, it's no use!

Give in. Compromise.

Compromise now.

You'll have to later, anyway.

Why are you saying that to me?

That's not what you did.

That's why I'm saying it.

Because it's not what I did.

Do you want to end up this way?

It's your future.

- Do you want it?

- Yes.

Then may God bless you, Howard.

You're on your way into hell.

- Hello, Howard.

- Hello, Peter.

Just passing by. Thought I'd drop in.

I haven't seen you for such a long time.

Did you know Guy Francon

made me his partner last week?


You see, you don't keep track

of my career, but I've watched yours.

Yes, it's Francon and Keating now.

I don't have to tell you that Guy Francon

is the leading architect.

No, you don't have to.

Remember? I told you once I'd rise.

- Hello?

- Western Union?

No. You have

the wrong number.

Are you waiting for

something, Howard?

You were telling me

about Guy Francon.

I was just reminding you

of what I once predicted.

I hate to see you brought down to this.

Remember how we started?

And look at us now.

Haven't you had enough of it?

Why did you

come here, Peter?

Because we're old friends...

...and I hate to see you being beaten.

- I'm not.

Oh, it's no use pretending now.

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Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand (; born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American novelist, playwright, screenwriter and philosopher. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism. Educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on Broadway in 1935 and 1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, Rand published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own periodicals and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982. Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism and rejected altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights, including property rights. In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and classical liberals.Literary critics received Rand's fiction with mixed reviews and academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy, though academic interest has increased in recent decades. The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings. She has been a significant influence among libertarians and American conservatives. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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