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On the Waterfront (1954)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  22 June 1954 (Japan)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 81,478 users   Metascore: 88/100
Reviews: 264 user | 119 critic | 10 from Metacritic.com

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

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Writers:

(screenplay), (based upon an original story by), 1 more credit »
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Top 250 #122 | Won 8 Oscars. Another 22 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

The Man Lived by the Jungle Law of the Docks! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 June 1954 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Hook  »

Box Office

Budget:

$910,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$9,600,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the Waterfront (1954) is widely known to be an act of expiation on the part of Elia Kazan for naming names to HUAC during the Joseph McCarthy witch-hunts of the 1950s. What is less widely reported is that Kazan intended it as a direct attack at his former close friend Arthur Miller who had been openly critical of Kazan's actions. Specifically, it was a direct response to Miller's play The Crucible. See more »

Goofs

The prosecutor at the hearings is shown on TV facing Terry in the witness stand, but in the hearing room there is no television camera located behind the stand, where it would have to have been for the angle shown in the TV picture to be possible. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #8.75 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Here Comes the Bride
(uncredited)
Written by Richard Wagner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Kazan's film constitutes an extraordinary tour de force of fluid direction and nervous, edgy acting…

"On the Waterfront" is basically the story of one man, Terry Malloy, a young dock worker with a little, and unsuccessful, experience as a boxer but not much intelligence or purpose… He wastes his time around the docks, vaguely discontented about his life and revealing a tender trace in his otherwise tough manner as he tends his pigeons caged on the roof of his modest building…

His brother Charley (Rod Steiger), a suave opportunistic lawyer, works for the local dockers' union, headed by Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb), the arrogant mob boss…

Friendly takes affectionate interest in Terry and tries to make things easy for him… He also takes advantage of Terry by involving him in the killing of an uncooperative docker… Unaware of their murderous intentions, Terry sets the trap for the man who is thrown from a roof top because he allowed himself to be interviewed by a crime investigating commission…

Terry's alienation from the crooked union leaders starts when he meets the dead man's sister, Edie (Eva Marie Saint), and realizes the grief he has brought into her life… She asks his help in bringing the racketeers to justice, as does Father Barry (Karl Malden), a priest of complete goodness and rightness…

Brando's moral dilemma was superbly drawn in the film… He's an ordinary man finding the courage to stand up and be counted… As portrayed by Brando he is touchingly believable…

The rest of the cast is excellent:

Cobb is extremely good as the brute fury boss who intimidates the workers into silence, stopping at nothing to maintain his position of power on the docks...

Rod Steiger gives his finest performance as the clever and suave opportunistic lawyer who works for the local docker's union...

Eva Marie Saint manages to make the blood go through Brando's valves reviving and creating a heart that never existed before...

Karl Malden is hard and clear as the activist Catholic priest who continue encouraging other longshoremen to testify, inciting Brando to fight for his rights—regardless of the cost—rather than be a pawn in a ruthless system of bribes and killings...

"On the Waterfront" is one of the great American films, not only because it bravely spreads a strong light on the violation of justice, but because it is a powerful piece of cinema, which push forward a classic study of man's responsibility to his fellow man...

The film won eight Academy Awards...


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