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On the Waterfront (1954)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 22 June 1954 (Japan)
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An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

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(screenplay), (based upon an original story by) | 1 more credit »
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Top Rated Movies #140 | Won 8 Oscars. Another 21 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Terry Malloy
... Father Barry
... Johnny Friendly
... Charley Malloy
Pat Henning ... Kayo Dugan
... Glover
... Big Mac
Tony Galento ... Truck
Tami Mauriello ... Tillio
John F. Hamilton ... 'Pop' Doyle (as John Hamilton)
John Heldabrand ... Mott
Rudy Bond ... Moose
Don Blackman ... Luke
Arthur Keegan ... Jimmy
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:

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 June 1954 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Bottom of the River  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$910,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$9,600,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

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 »


Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Excellent performances; so-so story
1 July 2008 | by See all my reviews

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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