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On the Waterfront (1954)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 22 June 1954 (Japan)
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1:35 | Trailer

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

Director:

Elia Kazan

Writers:

Budd Schulberg (screenplay), Budd Schulberg (based upon an original story by) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,260 ( 637)
Top Rated Movies #143 | Won 8 Oscars. Another 21 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marlon Brando ... Terry Malloy
Karl Malden ... Father Barry
Lee J. Cobb ... Johnny Friendly
Rod Steiger ... Charley Malloy
Pat Henning Pat Henning ... Kayo Dugan
Leif Erickson ... Glover
James Westerfield ... Big Mac
Tony Galento Tony Galento ... Truck
Tami Mauriello Tami Mauriello ... Tillio
John F. Hamilton John F. Hamilton ... 'Pop' Doyle (as John Hamilton)
John Heldabrand John Heldabrand ... Mott
Rudy Bond ... Moose
Don Blackman Don Blackman ... Luke
Arthur Keegan Arthur Keegan ... Jimmy
Abe Simon Abe Simon ... Barney
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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:

Tender love...terrifying conflict! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 June 1954 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Hook See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$910,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$9,600,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marlon Brando objected to certain aspects in the famous taxicab scene. When filming began, Brando began to improvise some dialogue, surprising Rod Steiger. After a while, Elia Kazan told Brando to "knock it off". The problem Brando had with the scene, as he explained to screenwriter Budd Schulberg and Kazan, was that he felt he (as Terry Malloy) would have difficulty trying to talk reasonably with his brother (played by Steiger) with a gun at his ribs. At this, Kazan agreed and told Brando to improvise. Kazan maintained that he did not direct Brando nor Steiger in this scene, he simply stood back and let the two actors direct themselves. See more »

Goofs

Toward the end of the film as Terry is walking back into the work building, water puddles on the ground appear and disappear between shots. See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

and introducing Eva Marie Saint See more »

Alternate Versions

Starting on 29 February 2004, TCM (Turner Classic Movies) channel plays this film in a widescreen aspect ratio of (1.85:1). This is despite the fact that the Columbia Tri-Star DVD (Release Date: October 23, 2001) is produced in only the Academy Standard (Full Screen or Pan&Scan) aspect ratio (1.33:1). Presumably, the intended ratio is (1.85:1). See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The 72nd Annual Academy Awards (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Here Comes the Bride
(uncredited)
Written by Richard Wagner
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A film I consider absolutely perfect
28 February 2018 | by sirenebernSee all my reviews

I watched "On the Waterfront" last night, and I have seen it many times. This movie is a perfect capsule for any viewer. The actors are superb in their roles, the dialogue is raw and powerful, the staging is tight and reflects the claustrophobic nature of the characters' lives in this part of Hoboken. You have the feeling that they never leave this area of maybe a few blocks, because they feel trapped by their circumstances, poverty, grueling work, and the corruption that's endemic in this place and system.

Marlon Brando is Terry, a failed prize fighter with deep regrets and loneliness, who is a low-level thug in this corrupt system dominated by the bombastic, cruel union boss, Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb in an electrifying performance). He rules the waterfront with brutality and terror. To make Terry feel even more trapped is the fact that his only living relative, his brother, Charlie (Rod Steiger), is Friendly's right-hand man. Terry has no great ambitions in life, and seems resigned to this bleak path until fate, and two shining lights, appear in his life: Edie (Eva Marie Saint), a decent, loving, determined and angelic blonde woman, and Father Barry (Karl Malden), the local priest who can throw a punch, drink a beer and stand up to the mob with the strength of his faith behind him.

Terry and Edie embark on a seemingly doomed romance that both actors play so beautifully. You can feel their yearning, their awkwardness, their passion for each other and their deep connection -- all without the explicit nudity and fake grunting used in contemporary movies. When they embrace, you feel their desperation and desire for each other in a profound way.

"On the Waterfront" is certainly director Elia Kazan's great masterpiece. The performances are all outstanding, and Brando is just a marvel of tortured pain and passion and agony and courage. One particular thing I love about "On the Waterfront" is the scenery. Every set or outdoor shot conveys the grim, cold nature of the characters' lives. There is no movie glamour and little comfort here. Only a hot cup of coffee made on a plug-in heating plate in a "cold-water flat," or a beer and a shot hastily consumed in a waterfront saloon are pleasures to these characters. Their clothes are patched. Edie's hair isn't "styled," and she wears no makeup. Terry's face is a bit scarred. Malden's nose is...as we all know. The gritty setting feels real. If you've never seen this movie for any reason, do not delay!


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