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Movies Showing Objectivist Philosophy

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Felix
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I consider Ghostbusters to be the greatest pro-capitalist, pro-small government and pro-reason film ever made. It has been my favorite since I was a wee child

:worry:

Wow. That's certainly a movie that I wasnt' expecting someone to mention. I'll have to see that movie again. I haven't seen it since the mid-80s.

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Just think about the plot of Ghostbusters (broadly, not the details which I could go into endlessly...)

The three main points -

First, the villains are supernatural. They're ghosts, but they're not approached with a stake, or some magic spell. Men use science, reason, to create technology to defeat them.

Second, they don't hunt the ghosts out of altruism. They create a private business and do it for profit and they're made out to be the heroes! And that brings me to my final point...

Third, the private businessmen (Ghostbusters) are the heroes, the true villains are not the Ghosts, but the overreaching government in the form of the E.P.A., who acts to shut the Ghostbusters down. So the movie paints big government as bad and nearly bringing about the end of the world...literally...

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What is "The Edge?" If it has so profound of an effect, I might want to check it out.

Oh, and Ghostbusters was cool.  <_<

I saw The Edge when I was in high school and thought it sucked. It's all about survival in the wilderness, so I can see how it might have some Objectivist value, but I just thought it was poorly made. The relationships between the characters are very contrived and unrealistic, too.

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What is "The Edge?" If it has so profound of an effect, I might want to check it out.

The Edge is about three people who are lost in the wilderness. I've got a favourite quote from the movie: It goes something like this:

"I've once read a book about surviving in the wild. It made an interesting point. It said that people in the woods die of shame. ('Why of shame, Charles?') Because they didn't do the one thing that could have saved their lives: Thinking."

There's another one of the same quality. But you have to check it out yourself. ;)

This quote made me think a lot. About epistemology and ethics and how they are ultimately combined. In the end I had to admit that my former beliefs were wrong.

It's still my favourite movie. I don't know how often I have seen it.

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What is "The Edge?" If it has so profound of an effect, I might want to check it out.

Here's the IMDB Listing for "The Edge"

As for the film, it's lovely.

Felix, I think you should put a spoiler warning in your last post.

****SPOILERS:PLOT OR ENDING DETAILS FOLLOW****

It's about three men, a very rich businessman named Charles played by Anthony Hopkins, a photographer named Robert played by Alec Baldwin and Robert's assitant. Charles has a supermodel wife who is having an affair with Robert. Robert, Charles and Robert's assistant take a trip to Alaska. Robert is planning to kill Charles to get his wife. Charles has suspicions. Their helicopter crashes in the wilderness. Charles takes the lead of the group and does everything he can to survive. Robert basically turns into a baby and a burden on Charles. In the end, only Charles survives. It has very intense emotional drama.

The reason why I liked the film is because of the selfish, thinking and heroic attitude of Charles and the way he fights for his survival and the way Robert lives of Charles' mind to survive still plotting to kill him quite like the looters of Atlas Shrugged. Of course the fact the hero is a businessman just adds to the fun.

A quote:

Charles: You know, I once read an interesting book which said that most people lost in the wilds die of shame.

Stephen: What?

Charles: Yeah, see, they die of shame. "What did I do wrong? How could I have gotten myself into this?" And so they sit there and they... die. Because they didn't do the one thing that would save their lives.

Robert: And what is that, Charles?

Charles: Thinking.

BTW, this movie was also discussed on forums.4aynrandfans.com. Patrick posted a very good review.

Edited by tommyedison
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American Beauty

Gattaca

Rounders

Rudy :D

Spiderman 2

All about doing what makes you happy and/or overcoming adversity.

I've read some reviews that said Spidey 2 was a tribute to self-sacrifice, but I saw it as a young man's conflicts when deciding what he values most. The superpowers are a nice bonus to a great story :D

Edited by goldmonkee
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American Beauty

Gattaca

Rounders

Rudy  :confused:

Spiderman 2

All about doing what makes you happy and/or overcoming adversity. 

I've read some reviews that said Spidey 2 was a tribute to self-sacrifice, but I saw it as a young man's conflicts when deciding what he values most.  The superpowers are a nice bonus to a great story :dough:

I strongly disagree about the movie American Beauty. I thought that movie was about the lived experience of nihilism, not individualism. Think about it, how does the Kevin Spacey character of Lester measure up to other "Objectivist" characters like the Charles Morse character in The Edge or the Howard Hughes character in The Aviator.

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All about doing what makes you happy and/or overcoming adversity. 

As far as I see it this is not enough.

And I agree with Fenriz about American Beauty even though I like the movie.

But you started a good idea.

The question is: What characterizes an 'Objectivist movie'?

I think it has to show how acting based on reason and according to reality leads to happiness in real life.

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As far as I see it this is not enough.

And I agree with Fenriz about American Beauty even though I like the movie.

But you started a good idea.

The question is: What characterizes an 'Objectivist movie'?

I think it has to show how acting based on reason and according to reality leads to happiness in real life.

Yes, I should have made it clear that the movies I listed weren't held up to rigid standards; they didn't have the entire range of objectivist values...only some. I don't consider myself an objectivist (although I have many of the same attributes). My old english teacher, who recommended The Fountainhead to me, said that it contained the answer to all of lifes questions. While that's more or less true, what fascinated me about it was the simplicity of the core values...reason, integrity, pursuit of personal happiness, etc. Many of which I had felt and exhibited, but never before seen put into words. Those same things are what make me enjoy these movies so much.

I'm not as intelligent as many of the posters here, so my views may seem shallow, but I don't think they're incorrect.

I strongly disagree about the movie American Beauty.  I thought that movie was about the lived experience of nihilism, not individualism.  Think about it, how does the Kevin Spacey character of Lester measure up to other "Objectivist" characters like the Charles Morse character in The Edge or the Howard Hughes character in The Aviator.

I understand where you're coming from, but I'll have to stick to my guns on this one :) To quote from http://www.objectivistcenter.org/center/ne...dividualism.asp

Beauty and the Beast

Following Bidinotto's remarks, TOC executive director David Kelley delivered a talk, "Beauty and the Beast," which analyzed the philosophical message of the 1999 film American Beauty. Kelley began his talk by sketching out the movie's plot and reporting on some popular criticism of the film. Then he remarked: "At first glance, the point of the movie seems obvious. It is critical of the 'American Dream.' It satirizes middle-class aspirations for material comfort, social respectability, and family values, as exemplified by the suburbs. It is against conformity, authority, materialism, and keeping up appearances. It is in favor of personal fulfillment, sexual liberation, freedom, and nonconformity."

But, Kelley contended, although the movie at first seems like a manifesto for the counterculture values espoused by college students in the 1960s, it is not. For example, the main character, Lester, leaves his job to search for something missing in his life, which sounds like a countercultural quest, "but he conducts the search within the life he's living. . . . Lester's search takes place within himself." That is the sort of spiritual quest one finds in all ages, and thus the film transcends the culture wars. Yet Lester's search is contemporary in one way, for it is in essence a quest for authenticity, which means: a search for alignment between one's personal identity and the outward life that one is leading. Authenticity, said Kelley, is the hallmark of a genuine "pursuit of happiness" because "in the pursuit of happiness, we need a sense that the happiness we seek is truly our own."

Kelley concluded by putting the concept of authenticity within the Objectivist framework of individualism. "(Ayn) Rand's difference from the expressive individualists [of the 1960s]is that she thinks man's spirit includes his reason, and can and should be expressed in production. But she agrees that values and standards must be authentic: they must be rooted in one's spirit, embraced and put into practice as expressions of the self." In a primitive way, that was what Lester sought, and that is why American audiences responded strongly to American Beauty. To those who felt such a response, said Kelley in conclusion, Objectivism has much to offer.

Obviously Lester (and Ricky Fitts) aren't of the same caliber as Charles or Howard, yet they still have admirable qualities. But again, I would only post this as an "objectivist-friendly" movie, not a thorough presentation of the philosophy.

My favorite quote from the movie:

Catering Boss: I'm not paying you to do... whatever it is you're doing out here.

Ricky Fitts: Fine. So don't pay me.

Catering Boss: Excuse me?

Ricky Fitts: I quit. So you don't have to pay me. Now leave me alone.

But I'm starting to ramble...I'm interested in your responses :)

Edited by goldmonkee
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It may be true that Objectivism champions self-expression. And Lester does this in a way. He starts enjoying his life. He stands up for himself. He adresses the problems in his marriage. The problem is that in the end Lester dies senselessly, which is probably why Fenriz called the movie nihilistic.

I overread that part, so I don't really agree with that completely. I just believe that Lester is not comparable with Charles Morse (You can read a quote of his in my signature). Lester follows his path more out of emotions, not reason.

He's just fed up with his life and tries something new. This is good, of course, but what Morse does is better. He knows what he does and why.

This is the intellectual part which is missing in American Beauty.

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Only the Valiant, a 1950 Western starring Gregory Peck. Kind of hard to find now, but worth the effort.

The hero is Captain Lance, a cavalryman. He finds himself stationed in the desert Southwest, Fort Winston, with as motley a crew of cavalry troopers as were ever assembled in one fort. The theme of the movie is that integrity is the essence of leadership. Strength, courage, resourcefulness, intelligence, ambition---all these too are aspects of a leader. But without integrity, they are insufficient. And the movie demonstrates this in a tightly constructed plot. The movie's symbol for integrity is West Point, where men who lack integrity are sent packing.

Many plot spoilers follow.

Several of the troopers are shown to hate Captain Lance, all for bad reasons. The true reason for their hatred of Lance is identified by one of these men, Corporal Gilchrist, who both hates and admires Lance, during a heated exchange in the barracks. Sgt. Murdoch, a brutal malcontent, complains that Lance has prevented him from being commissioned as an officer. Gilchrist responds:

"And would you say that was his fault, or your fault?"

Murdoch has no responce to this, because everyone knows it's his own fault. Finally, Gilchrist says:

"If the truth be known, you're all just sore because he knows you for what you really are: a bunch of flea-bitten bellyachers."

The climax of the movie comes during the defense of Fort Invincible, to which Lance led a small detail to stem the tide of marauding Indians. First, Lance calls the men into formation, and tells them all exactly why they were chosen for this seemingly suicidal mission.

"I'd like to straighten out any misapprehensions you may have had about why you were picked for this detail. In every case, my only consideration was the safety of Fort Winston. The fort is undermanned, and I picked the men that I felt could best be spared.

"Sgt. Murdoch, you have a record of bullying and brutality, which is why I have repeatedly denied your requests for a commission. The result is you are a malcontent . . .

"Trooper Rutledge, your only reason for being in the service is to revenge yourself on me for [getting you kicked out of West Point for dishonesty]. Your record shows no ambition, nothing but a merely adequate soldier . . .

"Corporal Gilchrist, you are a drunk, which would find you inevitably brought in front of a firing squad if you got drunk at Winston during an attack . . . "

Finally, during a lull in repeated Indian assaults against Fort Invincible, Lance discovers that Gilchrist has filled all the extra canteens with whiskey, instead of water. So, as Lance goes along the wall, rationing out the remaining water to the men, he passes by Gilchrist without giving him any. Gilchrist fumes, then picks up his carbine and aims it at Captain Lance.

"The Indians are on the other side of the wall, Corporal," Lance says calmly. And Gilchrist backs down.

"Why didn't you shoot, you fool?" Rutledge asks him.

"I thought better of it," Gilchrist replies. "He's the only man can keep this outfit going."

Which is exactly what the movie set out to prove. QED.

Some humorous lines from the movie that I like:

Lance, to his second in command:

"I'm taking some men into the pass tonight. You'll be in command here."

"In command of what?"

"The horses."

Corporal Gilchrist, while on a fatigue detail loading ammunition against the wall:

"Captain, this is mighty thirsty work."

"Most work is," Captain Lance replied.

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The movie 'Spiderman', which was mentioned above, has a most Altruistic base. The essence of the movie is that the hero has to sacrifice the life he wants (studies, the woman he loves) in order to help 'the people'--just because 'they need him' (and regardless of the contempt and hatred he gets in return- that last point is more evident in the TV series then the movie). Not to mention all the irrationalities in the idea of 'Supernatural-powers'. I cannot see how a movie can get any more Altruistic then that (unless it’s a movie made in Soviet Russia by the communist propaganda--supervised by Stalin himself...)

As far as I see it, the question is not 'how many movies point to Objectivism?' (As a philosophy)There are none... (Excluding the 'Fountainhead', which, being adapted from the book, is obviously based on Objectivism-- Although I believe it to be a poor adoption which brings little justice to the novel.)

The question is rather 'what movies do not point to Altruism?' Most of them, at least at some point, do. That, I believe, is due to tradition (bad habit, if you'd like); A selfless love, a greedy businessman and a selfless hero are just a few of the 'tunes' movie directors just love to 'play' (probably because they've ‘swallowed’ it as kids, and now, never stopping to digest, they feed it to ‘their children’… ) Just as an example, you can take any available Christmas movie...

Anyway, a movie I enjoy watching over and over (even after memorizing the plot) is 'The Shawshank Redemption'. Watching this movie is like listening to a good album--Every single time you find something you’ve missed, and the things you know you like, you enjoy them every time anew!

This movie is a most beautiful hymn to human spirit-- to freedom, to justice, and to the good in general--Most importantly, it has no Altruistic implications!

This is a movie I sincerely advise to everyone.

For those who didn't see it yet--Enjoy!

For those who did (and probably know what I'm talking about)-- keep enjoying.

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Gattaca is my favorite movie.

There are two ways to interpret this movie. One is objectivist and one is not. The first is that the human spirit has the power to overcome immense obstacles. The second is that genetic engineering is evil. It's unfortunate that many people I know interpret it the second way.

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One of my favourite movies showing a man with determination whilst facing almost insurmountable odds is 'The Shawshank Redemption'. The qualities portrayed by the character, Andy Dufresne, are in stark contrast to the second-handers leeching off of his talent.

I also see some similar characteristics to Howard Roark's first court case in FH when Andy is in court and is his own defense as he believes that his logic will outweigh the emotionally-led, circumstantial, 'evidence' of the prosecution.

Quote-DA--"And that(the murder weapon never being found) also is very convenient, isn't it, Mr Dufresne?"

Andy--"Since I am innocent of this crime I find it decidedly inconvenient that the gun was never found."

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I really liked "The Neverending Story." I've seen it a long time ago, but I thought that it portrayed very well what's going on with art today (when people with lack of imagination become self-proclaimed SF or fantasy writers, when many movies are made by templates and stereotypes, when music artists are made by "remaking" another artist's work, and when painters or sculptors are great if they create something that resembles nothing).

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Someone already said Equilibium and Batman Begins (I love that movie!)

Also Seabiscuit is another movie that comes to mind. A movie where the main characters strive to become their best despite not being the "normal" type of person (or horse, haha.) A jockey too big, a trainer too old, a horse too small and not the perfect breed and plenty of broken bones. Yet they all created their own acheivements, yayz!

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