After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Marlon Brando later wrote in his autobiography, Songs My Mother Taught Me, that the film "was really a metaphorical argument" by Elia Kazan and Budd Schulberg: "They made the film to justify finking on their friends. Evidently, as Terry Malloy, I represented the spirit of the brave, courageous man who defied evil." See more »
In the last scene, as Brando makes his way to the warehouse, after being beaten up by Cobb and the goons, the chalk writing on the sign changes from "8:00 am (plus two lines), to: "5 full crew & 5 Extras" See more »
You take it from here, Slugger.
See more »
Opening credits are shown over a bamboo-type mat background. See more »
Elia Kazan's "On the Waterfront" is frequently listed among the greatest of all American films. It concerns a longshoreman's inner and outer struggles in exposing the corruption of union bosses.
Unquestionably, the strength of the film is the acting. Brando's performance in particular is one for the ages. He won his first Oscar for this role and Eva Marie Saint also garnered an Oscar in her introductory film role. On top of that Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb & Rod Steiger all earned Best Supporting Actor nominations. These accolades give an idea of the level of talent on display here.
Kazan's direction is well done as he strives for a gritty, realistic look. Shooting on location was an important part of that. Leonard Bernstein's score, on the other hand, is often overbearing. There's nothing wrong with the music itself, only the prominence of it.
The main area in which I feel the film doesn't quite deliver is the story. The film does a fine job of exploring the characters but I find that the underlying storyline doesn't really work for me. The main premise is a good one but after the initial confrontation I began to lose interest. The self-consciously 'inspiring' ending doesn't help, either.
All things considered, I give the film high marks for the excellent acting and direction which, unfortunately, are in service of a merely average story.
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