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On the Waterfront (1954)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 22 June 1954 (Japan)
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 #135 | Won 8 Oscars. Another 21 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
Pat Henning ...
Kayo Dugan
...
...
Tony Galento ...
Tami Mauriello ...
Tillio
John F. Hamilton ...
'Pop' Doyle (as John Hamilton)
John Heldabrand ...
Mott
Rudy Bond ...
Don Blackman ...
Arthur Keegan ...
Abe Simon ...
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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:

Approved | 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  »

Box Office

Budget:

$910,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$9,600,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marlon Brando did not initially want the role of Terry Malloy after producer Sam Spiegel offered it to him because he was disgusted with Elia Kazan's friendly testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Spiegel, who had originally offered the role to Hoboken native Frank Sinatra, who had enthusiastically accepted, then tried to interest Montgomery Clift in the part. Spiegel wanted a bigger box-office attraction than Sinatra, who eventually filed a lawsuit against Spiegel for breach of contract when Brando did sign for the part. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the film when Terry confronts John Friendly at the little club house on the river, a Coke machine on the porch appears and disappears between cuts. 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 Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Kazan's film constitutes an extraordinary tour de force of fluid direction and nervous, edgy acting…

"On the Waterfront" is basically the story of one man, Terry Malloy, a young dock worker with a little, and unsuccessful, experience as a boxer but not much intelligence or purpose… He wastes his time around the docks, vaguely discontented about his life and revealing a tender trace in his otherwise tough manner as he tends his pigeons caged on the roof of his modest building…

His brother Charley (Rod Steiger), a suave opportunistic lawyer, works for the local dockers' union, headed by Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb), the arrogant mob boss…

Friendly takes affectionate interest in Terry and tries to make things easy for him… He also takes advantage of Terry by involving him in the killing of an uncooperative docker… Unaware of their murderous intentions, Terry sets the trap for the man who is thrown from a roof top because he allowed himself to be interviewed by a crime investigating commission…

Terry's alienation from the crooked union leaders starts when he meets the dead man's sister, Edie (Eva Marie Saint), and realizes the grief he has brought into her life… She asks his help in bringing the racketeers to justice, as does Father Barry (Karl Malden), a priest of complete goodness and rightness…

Brando's moral dilemma was superbly drawn in the film… He's an ordinary man finding the courage to stand up and be counted… As portrayed by Brando he is touchingly believable…

The rest of the cast is excellent:

Cobb is extremely good as the brute fury boss who intimidates the workers into silence, stopping at nothing to maintain his position of power on the docks...

Rod Steiger gives his finest performance as the clever and suave opportunistic lawyer who works for the local docker's union...

Eva Marie Saint manages to make the blood go through Brando's valves reviving and creating a heart that never existed before...

Karl Malden is hard and clear as the activist Catholic priest who continue encouraging other longshoremen to testify, inciting Brando to fight for his rights—regardless of the cost—rather than be a pawn in a ruthless system of bribes and killings...

"On the Waterfront" is one of the great American films, not only because it bravely spreads a strong light on the violation of justice, but because it is a powerful piece of cinema, which push forward a classic study of man's responsibility to his fellow man...

The film won eight Academy Awards...


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