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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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2,840 ( 71)
Top Rated Movies #139 | Won 8 Oscars. Another 21 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Pat Henning ...
...
Glover
...
Tony Galento ...
Tami Mauriello ...
John F. Hamilton ...
'Pop' Doyle (as John Hamilton)
John Heldabrand ...
Mott
Rudy Bond ...
Moose
Don Blackman ...
Luke
Arthur Keegan ...
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:

A story as warm and moving as GOING MY WAY...but with brass knuckles! 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 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

When Terry sets up Joey Doyle it's already dark outside, but when the camera pans up to the roof where the killers are waiting, the sky is still light. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Splendor (1989) 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

 
Powerful every time I see it
3 October 2002 | by See all my reviews

Back in the early 1950's, after a movie had run its course at the theaters, it did not go to video. Nor did it go on prime-time TV, as that concept came up many years later. Instead, they put it on afternoon TV, sometimes around dinner time. Well, that's when I'd come home from high school, and got to enjoy free black and white classics such as "High Noon" and "On the Waterfront".

It made a moviefan of me for life. I remember the effect of "On the Waterfront", as I remember thinking about Terry Malloy in that final scene, "Wow, that guy's got guts! I wish I could be like him." Being just a typical Midwestern teen, I didn't know who Marlon Brando was, but I just was fascinated by this life of these good and bad people, on the tops of buildings and in the cold, wet streets and alleys of this far-away place near the waterfront.

Now, every time I watch it, years later, I still love it. Yes, there is definitely an attempt to make Terry into a Christ-figure at the end. That's no coincidence that he stumbles from having been beaten to a pulp, to walk and carry a hook on his shoulders, to lead others to a better life. (In the book by Budd Schulberg, by the way, Terry disappears after testifying and what is thought to be his body is found floating in a barrel of lime. But he has become a legend on the waterfront.) I love the powerful Elmer Bernstein score (glaring for our present tastes, but back then, exactly what people expected to hear during a drama -- you've got to wonder what a future generation will say about the constant replays of fairly irrelevant pop and rap songs as themes during most movies today, dramatic or comedy).

And being raised in a Catholic home, I found Father Barry to be a great dramatic figure, one of the only times I saw a priest portrayed as a gritty, brave, heroic person, not afraid to mix it up with the common folks in the parish. He smoked, drank and slugged it out. And he was not afraid to die for the right reason. Folks, that's true Christianity at work. And that's powerful.

A classic. A must-see. 10/10


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