Now it has been announced that Part II of the film will be due in theaters in October 2012 -- just in time for the presidential elections! Great timing.
You can learn more about the movie and get on their newsletter list at the site "Who Is John Galt?"
"Atlas Shrugged" is a novel written in 1957 by libertarian Ayn Rand, a refugee from communist Russia. She was an ardent believer in free market capitalism and limited government, but she was not your average conservative. Rand was an atheist who opposed American intervention in the Korean and Viet Nam wars, even though she hated communism for the brutal evil that it was.
"Who is John Galt?" is a famous line from the novel; supposedly it became a popular saying meaning "Who knows?" The saying existed only in the novel but has since become a kind of motto for free market capitalists who oppose socialism and government intervention into the marketplace.
John Galt was a capitalist character in the novel, who became disgusted with endless government meddling and intervention in the economy, so he drops out of the economy, stops producing goods and services. He then starts his own private society, hidden in the mountains of Colorado, where pure capitalism reigns. He encourages other capitalists to drop out as well, and soon captains of industry are disappearing along with the wealth they produce. This causes great consternation among the socialists and statists in government, because if no one produces the wealth, there is nothing to appropriate or redistribute.
Today, in our increasingly socialist economy, the producers are dropping out. Not to join private societies in the mountains, but to either take their productivity elsewhere or slow or even stop producing. When this happens, they say that "Atlas is Shrugging" -- a reference to the mythical Atlas who held the world on his shoulders until he said to hell with it and let the orb free fall.
Currently, pundits are wondering if the French rich will cross the Channel and move to England or elsewhere, to prevent the new Bolsheviks from appropriating their wealth. With regard to France we may ask, "Will Atlas shrug?"