Episode 7: Architect Stereotypes in the Movies [Podcast]

We’ve all seen how Architects are portrayed by Hollywood, and in many cases it amounts to a superficial brush stroke at best. But is that the case for all of the portrayals?

episode 7

In this episode, Eric and I discuss a few movies that feature Architects in starring roles and we also discuss whether the role of the Architect is central to the story.

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Show Notes

Inception – 2010
Written and Directed by Christopher Nolan
Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page
Plot Line: A skilled extractor is offered a chance to regain his old life as payment for a task considered to be impossible.

Ellen Page – Architecture Student, not an Architect. She is the heroine and a powerful feminine roll. She is the glue that holds the extraction team together.

One Fine Day – 1996
Directed by Michael Hoffman
Stars Michelle Pfeiffer, George Clooney
Plot Line: Melanie Parker, an architect and mother of Sammy, and Jack Taylor, a newspaper columnist and father of Maggie, are both divorced. They meet one morning when overwhelmed Jack is left unexpectedly with Maggie and forgets that Melanie was to take her to school.
Michelle Pfeifer is Architect, single mom living in New York City. She’s a bit of a bumbling idiot.

HouseSitter – 1992
Directed by Frank Oz
Stars Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn
Plot Line: Con artist Gwen moves into Newton’s empty house without his knowledge, and begins setting up house posing as his new wife.
Steve Martin is the Architect, build dream house.

Death Wish – 1974
Directed by Michael Werner, based on novel by Brian Garfield
Stars Charles Bronson
Plot Line: A New York City architect becomes a one-man vigilante squad after his wife is murdered by street punks in which he randomly goes out and kills would-be muggers on the mean streets after dark.
Charles Bronson is the Architect, bleeding heart liberal.

Indecent Proposal – 1993
Directed by Adrian Lyne
Stars Robert Redford, Woody Harrelson, Demi Moore
Plot Line: A young couple very much in love are married and have started their respective careers, she as a real estate broker, he as an architect. She finds the perfect spot to build his dream house, and they get loans to finance it. When the recession hits, they stand to lose everything they own, so they go to Vegas to have one shot at winning the money they need. After losing at the tables, they are approached by a millionaire who offers them a million dollars for a night with the wife. Though the couple agrees that this is a way out of their financial dilemma, it threatens to destroy their relationship.
Woody Harrelson is the Architect, wants to build dream house.

The Towering Inferno – 1974
Directed by John Guillermin
Stars Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunnaway
Paul Newman is the Architect
Steve McQueen is the Fire Chief

Sleepless in Seattle – 1993
Directed by Nora Ephron
Starts Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan
Plot Line: A recently-widowed man’s son calls a radio talk show in an attempt to find his father a partner.

The Fountainhead – 1949
Directed by King Vidor
Novel by Ayn Rand
Stars Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal
An uncompromising, visionary architect struggles to maintain his integrity and individualism despite personal, professional and economic pressures to conform to popular standards.

Fear – 1996
Directed by James Foley
Stars Mark Wahlberg, Reese Witherspoon, William Peterson
Relevant Info: The sixteen year-old teenager Nicole Walker has moved to the house by the lake of her father, the architect Steve Walker, to live with her stepmother Laura and her brother Toby.
William Peterson is the Architect, builds Lake House with bullet resistant glass, etc.

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Do you have a favorite movie that features an Architect? Let us know in the comments below!

By |2019-01-21T18:39:49+00:00January 31st, 2014|Categories: Podcast, Profession|4 Comments

About the Author:

David Doucette
David Doucette, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP is founder of Architect Exam Prep and CSEprep.com and has been helping candidates successfully prepare for and pass the California Supplemental Exam (CSE) for the last four years. He also hosts a podcast dedicated to preparing for the California Supplemental Exam as well as CSE Video Tips at CSEprep.com.


  1. Avatar
    Alan Horwitz February 2, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Don’t forget about Jungle Fever, the Spike Lee film from 1991; Wesley Snipes plays a black architect aspiring to be a partner at a firm when he has an extra-marital affair with a white temporary secretary. Things go downhill from there; needless to say, he doesn’t become a partner.

  2. David
    David February 4, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Hi Alan, Good one! I need to see that again. I saw it when it first came out but don’t remember much about it. I should have included it this show. I’m sure we’ll do a round 2 as there’s definitely some more films out there.

    Thanks for checking out the podcast!


  3. Avatar
    Aziz February 9, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    500 Days of Summer, Joseph Gorden-Levit is trained as an architect but works as a writer at a greeting card company.

  4. David
    David February 14, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Hi Aziz,

    I’ll have to check that one out. It’s been on my list forever, so thanks for the reminder.


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