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On the Waterfront (1954)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 22 June 1954 (Japan)
1:35 | Trailer

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An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.



(screenplay), (based upon an original story by) | 1 more credit »
3,457 ( 319)
Top Rated Movies #126 | Won 8 Oscars. Another 21 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pat Henning ...
Kayo Dugan
Tony Galento ...
Tami Mauriello ...
John F. Hamilton ...
'Pop' Doyle (as John Hamilton)
John Heldabrand ...
Rudy Bond ...
Don Blackman ...
Arthur Keegan ...
Abe Simon ...


Terry Malloy dreams about being a prize fighter, while tending his pigeons and running errands at the docks for Johnny Friendly, the corrupt boss of the dockers union. Terry witnesses a murder by two of Johnny's thugs, and later meets the dead man's sister and feels responsible for his death. She introduces him to Father Barry, who tries to force him to provide information for the courts that will smash the dock racketeers. Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Tender love...terrifying conflict! See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 June 1954 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Bottom of the River  »

Box Office


$910,000 (estimated)


$9,600,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Elia Kazan called Marlon Brando's performance as Terry Molloy, "The finest thing ever done by an American film actor" See more »


When Father Barry (Karl Malden) gets hit in the head with a beer can, he gets a cut on his forehead, which bleeds visibly in the scene. In subsequent scenes, there is no sign of the cut or of a bandage to show that he had been hurt. See more »


[first lines]
Johnny: [to Terry] You take it from here, Slugger.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown over a bamboo-type mat background. See more »


Referenced in The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) See more »


Here Comes the Bride
Written by Richard Wagner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

More and more, the Rolled-out Dough will crook the Rolling Pin
19 September 2008 | by (Ottawa, Canada) – See all my reviews

Terry lives in the shadow of his smart brother Charley the Gent working for a double-handed businessman of the underworld. He had his best times of his life during his boxing career, and has brought his dimes in for his brother. Charley's boss named Johnny Friendly is the man who is behind Terry's fame, but he is also the same man who nibbled his dimes from boxing.

The curtain opens with Terry working for Johnny Friendly to be participated in a murder. He does his duty and the murder takes effect. The victim was a labor, whose labor leader also works for Johhny Friendly. Terry turns gloomy when he finds out that the victim has been only seeking his rights when he became a rebel. Especially when Terry meets with the victim's sister his suspects grew. She reasons with him that there are two opposite sides: Johnny Friendly's rich and still-growing syndicate versus the dependent and needy workers who are driven into Johnny Friendly's punitive sanctions. Provided that Terry finds a third side: His own.

A run of the mill plot of the mid-20th century. Everybody is pretty much familiar with labor union issues. Mainly the subject gives nothing more than workers seeking out their rights. However, consider that it's Elia Kazan who ushers a new era of actors who rage the whole scenes and turn out heroes out of bums. On the Waterfront has surely inspired millions. For instance, in Robert De Niro's "Raging Bull", a prize-fighter like Terry Malloy turns out to be a stage actor and affirms Terry's speech of reproach to his brother, where no other words could describe his situation he fell into.

Marlon Brando's can-do attitude created an inspirational movement, imprinting our memory, that "If Terry Malloy can do this, yes; I can do this, and yes; everybody can do this". Subsequently movie makers began to deliver efforts and accomplishments to the silver screen in order to catch viewers' appreciations. On The Waterfront, Elia Kazan and Marlon Brando are those to remember together in the motion picture history.

28 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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