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That's a tough one. "Something About Mary" has people *posing* as architects.

Then there's the Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs makes the builders re-design a skyscraper *around* his rabbit hole.

"The Towering Inferno" has an architect in it [played by Paul Newman].

Not specific to architecture is "Sweet Smell of Success" from 1957. NYC has never looked so good on film.

Michel Weenick

C'mon Brian,
What about George's fantasy alter ego architect, Art Van de Lay from Seinfeld.

JC mentioned my favorite architect in a movie - Paul Newman as architect Doug Roberts in Towering Inferno. The dialogue between Newman and Firechief Michael O'Hallorhan(played by Steve McQueen) is so bad that its good. Check out www.imdb.com/title/tt0072308/quotes for some of the quotes. Priceless stuff.




What about the M.Antonioni movies, eg. L'eclisse, la notte, l'aventura. All of which use architecture not as a part of the scenery or decor but as an individual character of its own. I could recommend these to you then to see a different way of architecture appearing in movies.


Zachary Moran

The best Architect Movie is "Death Wish" 1974
Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson), New York Architect, is a bleeding-heart liberal whose world is suddenly torn apart by the murder of his wife and the rape of his daughter.
Fighting urban decay one thug at a time!

Actually there are several poignant second rate movies that wrestle with urbanism gentrification and even new urbanism

The Colony, 1995, New urbanism and white flight goes too far!!!
Darkman 1990, the villain is a real-estate mega developer
Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1988, the villain; Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) is based on Robert Moses.
Wolfen, 1981. Not a bad movie.

Enrico Costa

Are you sure that Judge Doom Carachter in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" is really based Robert Moses (the planner)?
Thanks for replay, Enrico Costa, University of Reggio Calabria, Italy

Tyrone Tanous

Great post - Ive been thinking about this topic much of late. Just finished RATES OF CHANGE, a brief documentary that uses architecture as a model to discuss our changing lives.



Aeon Flux!

Helda Gremm

Great DVD about Antonio Gaudi in Amazon!

William F. wedemyer

There are several important architectural statements in the now playing movie "The International". Can anyone provide me with a list of these prominent projects or a reference where such information can be found?


While there a a number of films in which the protagonist or a major character are architects, they mostly aren't seen doing anything architectural -- "Sleepless In Seattle" and "Towering Inferno" have been mentioned; others are "Mystic Pizza" and "The Lake House." In them, architect just seems to be Hollywood code for "man who is sensitive, creative, artistic, but not gay" (I suppose the latter is because construction is associated with manly men?).


I was looking for movies featuring great architecture rather than stories about architects.Can anyone help? Thanks in anticipation.


can't belive you haven't mentioned metropolis(f. lang, 1927.) so far.
incredible movie, one of the best "architecture movies" ever.

architecture movies doesn't have to necessarily include architecture characters- clockwork orange, rear window, blade runner, etc. etc.

in all this architecture has an ipoprtant background role, creates scenes and atmosphere. doesn't necessarily have 2 have 1 ultra-super-cool-intelligent architect as character.

hm, although, there is 1 film with an arch. in the main role- 12 angry man.
really cool and nice and shows an architects' mindset very well

Kevin McIntosh

You are all forgetting that Richard Gere movie from 1994, "Intersection" where Gere plays Vancouver architect Vincent Eastman alongside Sharon Stone. Although there is very little focus on architecture,he had a cool house and cool car typical of what an architect would love...although I don't know too many architects who could afford his lifestyle!!


Joshua Falconer

Kurosawa's Do-des-ka-den


interesting list..i would say really only these films are compelling enough to merit attention, ie architecture is an intergral part of the film--either as a main subject or something that imforms its main characters:

1. my architect
2.sketches of frank gehry
3. mon oncle by tati
4. metropolis--langs '27. not others with same name...
5.500 days of summer--came out this year--lots of dialogue about downtown LA, and its old bank district scenes throughout.

didnt know about kurosawa's or antonioini, i will have to check them out!!


Life as a House was one of my favorites, especially the scene featuring Kevin Kline's character on a rampage as he destroys several architectural models.


'Gattaca' makes fabulous use of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings as sets amongst others.


I agree about Life as a House...in my top 10 for sure.


Houselife - Rem Koolhaas is a great film, though very much a fly on the wall documentary as you follow the house cleaner of one of Rem's greatest private residences and how much of a ballache she finds it to clean on a daily basis.

Brazil - really good dystopian story filmed at a crazy housing scheme just outside Paris, the name of which escapes me. Excellent cameos by Bob Hoskins & Robert De Niro

Manufactured Landscapes - OK, its not about architecture, but as an architect & deisgner I love this film for its simple yet disturbing view of what man has created, and discarded, in the name of technology. Follows the work of Edward Burtynsky.

a few that i'm trying to track down in Europe -

Visual Acoustics
The Modernism of Julius Shulman


Rem Koolhaas:
A Kind of Architect

And what could possibly be the most eagerly anticipated film (for me anyway) is
'Coast Modern' which is due for release very shortly and looks at the modernist style of the West coast of Northern America.
check it out at http://coastmodernfilm.com/
there's a teaser on there and it looks really good...



Check out movies at the architecture film festival Rotterdam website... plenty there ;)

[name removed - spam]

Oh man, how could you not have put down "Amelie"? I watch that over and over again for her hair...her clothes...and just the basic richness of the movie.

[Brian's response: I'll bet you were excited over Amelie given that you sell male enhancement products. But would you be able to get so aroused without your synthetic help? What kind of person spams about drugs for getting it up?]


and Playtime by Tati ?
Tokyo Sonata ? and Lost in Translation ?

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