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On the Waterfront (1954)

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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
3,314 ( 331)
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 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:

Bottom of the River 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

Most of the solo shots of Rod Steiger during the famous taxicab scene were done after Marlon Brando had left for the day. Steiger was deeply hurt and annoyed at Brando's apparent rudeness, but used these emotions to add to his performance. See more »

Goofs

At around 1h 4 mins when the waterfornt crew are in the Longshoreman's Local 374 hut and Johnny Friendly is telling Charlie to sort out Terry, Mac is seen reading and his seating position changes 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

Criterion Collection Blu-ray Disc release exhibits the film in 1.66:1, which is widely regarded to be the "correct" aspect ratio for the film. However, a second disc includes the film in 1.33:1 AND 1.85:1, so that viewers can watch the film in the different ratios. See more »

Connections

Featured in Friends with Benefits (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Excellent performances; so-so story
1 July 2008 | by sme_no_densetsuSee 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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