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On the Waterfront [VHS]
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Product Description

Marlon Brando's famous "I coulda been a contenda" speech is such a warhorse by now that a lot of people probably feel they've seen this picture already, even if they haven't. And many of those who have seen it may have forgotten how flat-out thrilling it is. For all its great dramatic and cinematic qualities, and its fiery social criticism, Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront is also one of the most gripping melodramas of political corruption and individual heroism ever made in the United States, a five-star gut-grabber. Shot on location around the docks of Hoboken, New Jersey, in the mid-1950s, it tells the fact-based story of a longshoreman (Brando's Terry Malloy) who is blackballed and savagely beaten for informing against the mobsters who have taken over his union and sold it out to the bosses. (Karl Malden has a more conventional stalwart-hero role, as an idealistic priest who nurtures Terry's pangs of conscience.) Lee J. Cobb, who created the role of Willy Loman in Death of Salesman under Kazan's direction on Broadway, makes a formidable foe as a greedy union leader. --David Chute

Customer Reviews:

  • Yeah, it's a classic for a reason.
    You know, anyone who disliked this movie obviously has ... well, problems. I've read several reviews that highly criticize the acting, one stating that Eva Marie Saint only got her Oscar for not wearing makeup. THAT WOULD JUST BE STUPID. First of all, she WAS wearing makeup. Second of all, not many people can pull off a performance as incredible as that in their first film.

    Marlon Brando is fascinating in his role as Terry Mulloy (and, to me, looks JUST like an ex-fighter). I love watching him, not only because he's good-looking, but because his acting is very sincere and he creates very real characters. And as for the priest that drinks and smokes cigarettes--people didn't know smoking was so bad for you back then!! Not all priests had morals back then, so sheesh!

    Anyway, the supporting cast (namely Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, and Rod Steiger) comes off very strong. Kudos to Brando for his spectacular performance in this film.

    You coulda been a contenduh, Brando--but you won instead!...more info
  • The greatest movie of all time
    On the Waterfront has all the power that Brando was capable of, filmed in black and white the lighting and stength of the images together with the power of the story make this for me, the greatest movie ever.

    Brando is recognised by many, myself included as the best actor ever. This is probably the best example of his craft.
    ...more info
  • Watch over and over
    This is a good example of a well-made film. The story is meaningful and pertinent to all times, the characters are gritty and well-acted, the plot is advanced perfectly through all the sceenes without any waste or holes. The supporting actors are great: Lee Cobb, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden - all intense and engaging.

    Having said all that, the reason I love this film is Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy. Particularly, of course, I love the dialogue in the back of the car (the "Contender" thing). Brando's superb acting shines and makes this scene is worth more than a hundred of the silly tough-guy dialogue scenes in modern wise-guy movies.

    Terry Malloy is a simple man who confronts the complexities of existence and changes his loyalties in accord with his conscience. First he rejects, with the help of his girlfriend, the live and let live mode of behavior which he had trusted to keep him out of trouble. He ultimately rejects, with the help of the priest, the violence he intends against Johnny Friendly opting instead for a radical form of leadership through the example of courage.

    The Priest is portrayed in a very balanced way in the movie. He's not elevated prematurely to a saint; he has normal human weaknesses and makes some mistakes. He's not shown as a weak, doubting, ineffective loser or a "Catholic company man" who just does his job - these caricatures have become to common in modern movies. Willing to get his hands dirty while remaining a "man of the cloth" - not overstepping his boundaries.

    Another reviewer contrasted this movie with "The Godfather" which is a story as told from the other side of the mob fence and features great acting by Brando as well. I agree with his sentiments that "The Godfather" is probably over-rated and this story of victims of organized crime is much more interesting and deserves the accolades it receives as a top movie of our time....more info
  • 3 stars out of 4
    The Bottom Line:

    Though the upbeat ending and Karl Malden's 5-minute long rant seem not to jive with the rest of this intelligent and downbeat script, On the Waterfront is a fine showcase for Brando and a solid film; I feel uneasy about the way it defends those who named names in front of HUAC or McCarthy, but that doesn't spoil the movie....more info
  • Marlon Brando's LEGACY and GREATEST film!
    This is my favorite Marlon Brando movie. I keep a list of my "50 Favorite Movies" and I have to include one Brando film, so I choose this one. I think of all the movies Marlon Bramdo made, he gave his FINEST performance in "On the Waterfront".

    Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden and Rod Steiger all give excellent and memorable performances. Plus this movie was directed by one of Hollywood's GREATEST directors, Elia Kazan who directed more than one CLASSIC.

    I highly recommend this film for obvious reasons. MANY fans of the cinema believe that Marlon Brando might be the GREATEST actor of the 20th century.

    "You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am."...more info
  • Marlon Brando was definitely a contender.
    Marlon Brando, who won an Oscar for this role, changed the face of acting in the mid 20th century.

    He's brilliant, inspired, and completely magnificent. And who hasn't heard, "I coulda been a contender, I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am."

    This movie is a classic, a movie that should be in everyones collection.

    They just don't make them like Brando, anymore....more info
  • Still Packs A Punch!
    Still powerful after all these years, it's easy to see why this film won so many awards. Even though it isn't classified as "film noir," it might as well be, as it has the earmarks of one: gritty, down story with a feeling of dread, magnificent black-and-white cinematography, etc. It looks great on this DVD.

    It's certainly not a "fun" movie but if you appreciate superb film-making, you have to rate this near the top of the list Not only is the direction (by one of the all-time greats, Elia Kazan) superb and the photography striking, the acting also is top-rate.

    Marlon Brando was just riveting to watch in here and deserved all the accolades he received for his performance. Talk about a guy with mixed emotions and a tormented soul! Eva Marie Saint, as Brando's "conscience" and love interest, proved to be worthy in her role.

    The rest of the characters were angry people, always shouting it seemed, always upset at someone. Even the priest, played by Karl Malden, was that way although one of his passionate speeches was remarkable to hear.
    Lee J. Cobb filled his bill as the angriest of them all, the labor boss who would have anyone killed who dare speak out against his illegal practices, and Rod Steiger was his normal intense self as Brando's older brother. Hey, almost everyone was intense in this film. It gets you involves and wears you out by the end.

    Steiger and Brando's conversation in an automobile fairly late in the film ("I couda been a contenda") is one of the most famous scenes in movie history, but I found many memorable scenes in this movie....too many to recount here.

    Don't be afraid to give this "oldie" a look. You'll see why it's considered one of the best movies of all time.
    ...more info
  • A one-way ticket to palookaville
    On the Waterfront begins on a shipping dock. The weather is raw and cold. A man emerges from a small wooden shack. He's bundled in the clothes of a poor common man--a laborer. His eyes are to the ground; his hands are stuffed deep into his pockets. Several well-dressed men follow him out of the small shack; they're all smiles. One of these men reaches out to pat the laborer's shoulder: "You take it from here, slugger," he tells the laborer.

    The laborer is Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando). The mob has a problem with Joey Doyle. Mobster Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) runs the docks and his problem is Joey Doyle's big mouth. Johnny orders his flunky, Terry Malloy, to set up Joey for the hit. Terry and Joey are friends and coworkers on the shipping docks. However, Terry's loyal to Johnny and follows Johnny's orders: he sets up Joey for the hit.

    Work is short on the shipping docks. Everyday, men crowd the cold windy docks to beg Johnny for a day's work. The foreman, Big Mac, tosses out a fistful work-tabs; the small coins scatter like bird feed. Laborers punch, choke, grab, and kick each other silly for those work tabs. Johnny and his hoods laugh in the background. A lone man in the background--a preacher--isn't laughing. He sees injustice and organizes some of the laborers at his church. Johnny Friendly sends Terry, his stool pigeon, to the church to eavesdrop on the laborers. Later, on the shipping docks, laborers unload a ship of fine Irish whiskey. Laborers stack the boxes onto pallets, and cranes hoist those heavy pallets out of the ship's hull. A faulty cable snaps above a grizzled and outspoken laborer named Kayo. A block of fine Irish whiskey drops and kills Kayo. Everyone--including Terry Malloy--knows why that cable snapped. Now, for his conscience and for the love of a woman, Joey must betray either the mob--including his brother, Charlie the Gent--or his fellow laborers on the shipping dock.

    On the Waterfront distills three themes--betrayal, loyalty, and redemption--into the backseat of a taxi. In this scene, Charlie begs Terry, his brother, not to rat out Johnny Friendly. Charlie draws his gun and aims it at Terry; gently, Terry pushes away Charlie's gun. Terry was once a prizefighter; he was good--could have been another Billy Conn. He weighed 168 pounds--he was beautiful. His manager brought him along too fast--this is Charlie's version of the past; Terry has another version of the past. It wasn't the manager's fault but Charlie's fault that Terry never reached his potential in the boxing ring. Charlie made Terry throw a crucial fight, a fight that Terry could have won. The mob had a load of money riding on Terry's opponent. Terry threw the fight. His opponent got the title shot; Terry got a one-way ticket to Palookaville. Finally, Terry says to Charlie, "You don't understand, I coulda had class, I coulda been a contender, I coulda been somebody instead of a bum... Let's face it: it was you, Charlie."

    Elia Kazan shot the film's famous taxi scene in the studio. The taxi prop had an open front so that the cameraman could shoot Brando and Steiger in the back seat. The taxi prop's back seat offered a naked view of the studio. Kazan complained that he couldn't shoot the film's signature scene in the mock-up taxi; he wanted a real taxi. But cheapskate producer Sam Spiegel prevailed upon Kazan to film Brando and Steiger in the mock-up taxi. A real taxi would have enabled the camera to see the outside world--the traffic, the cars, the lights, the people, the streets, etc--out the taxi's back window. Instead, the back window of the mock-up taxi exposed the walls of the studio and ruined the illusion of realism that Kazan initially wanted. To address this problem, Kazan had Venetian blinds installed in the taxi's rear window. The Venetian blinds eliminated the need for rear projection; as an added bonus, the Venetian blinds muted the background and created depth by pulling the actors--Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger--nearer to the foreground. Most importantly, the taxi's darkened interior focused the scene on the two brothers. This black and white film has one beautiful picture. Varying tones of black are distinct, but touched with enough grit to enhance the movie's grim tone.


    Elia Kazan--from Budd Shulberg's screenplay--directed On the Waterfront. In 1954, On the Waterfront earned 8 Academy Awards--best picture, best director (Elia Kazan), and best actor (Marlon Brando). Also, the Academy nominated for supporting roles Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, Eva Marie Saint, and Rod Steiger. Following On the Waterfront, in 1956, Elia Kazan had another film in theaters: East of Eden. And in 1951, Kazan had another film in theaters: A Streetcar Named Desire, which also starred both Marlon Brando and Karl Malden. All three of these films are on every best film list. Marlon Brando was the greatest actor and one of very few who conveys both sides of the human condition: yin and yang. See this movie at all costs.

    Oh, and by the way, if you look very closely at Johnny's hoods, you'll spot the long face of Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster).

    author of Gotta Be Down!
    ...more info
  • No doubt that this one's a contender
    Marlon Brando stars as the dockworker who tries at first to turn his eyes from the corruption he finds on the docks, but eventually stands up to the bosses in court. The script is excellent, taut and realistic, and Kazan's direction is strong and right on. Brando electrifies the screen, of course, as only he could do. No one way ticket to Palookaville here--this movie is a real winner....more info
  • Of course it won the Oscar the year I was born
    My entry into the world coincided with "On the Waterfront" winning the Oscar for Best Movie that year.

    The best 4th of July I ever spent was on the rotting docks in Hoboken where the movie was filmed. We had imbibed a little too much and had to work at avoiding the holes in the docks so we wouldn't drown. Scenes from the movie were reinacted. But I digress.

    I just wish they hadn't killed the birds. I hate that part. The movie has also raised controversy because it seemed to be Elia Kazan's giving to the McCarthyism in the 1950s. If you saw the Academy Awards show when he was presented with the lifetime achievement award, you'll remember the tense atmosphere.

    Anyway, it's a great movie.

    ...more info
  • Still Powerful After 50 Years
    Social dramas that touch on issues of their time sometime appear dated when viewed years later. The issues that are addressed are either forgotten or just don't seem that important. That is not the case with "On the Waterfront". The central themes of union corruption and blowing the whistle on wrongdoers is as relevant now as it was in 1954. All you have to do is look to "The Insider" from a few years ago to see that the theme of whistle-blowing is still on the front-burner. Elia Kazan, from a screenplay by Budd Schulberg, delivers these messages to the screen with burning urgency. A reason many believe that Kazan felt so compelled to convey this message is that it has parallels with his own testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee, but that's for historians to judge. The setting of the film, the gritty docks and sooty walk-ups of Hoboken are breathtakingly captured here. The powerhouse ensemble cast that Kazan assembled here is one of the best in film history. Marlon Brando does not just star in this film, he overpowers it as the ex-prizefighter, Terry Malloy, who's not to smart but not dumb either who goes from a flunky for the union to whistleblower. Eva Marie Saint is nearly as compelling as Edie, the woman who serves as Terry's conscience. This part could have been one note and cliched, but Saint imbues the character with enough complexity to overcome that. Rod Steiger as Charlie Malloy, Terry's brother, gives a compelling performance, particularly in the now famous taxi scene with Brando. Lee J. Cobb is fiersome as Johnny Friendly, the corrupt union boss. The only character that seems cliched is that of an activist priest played by Karl Malden, but that may be more the fault of the script and nothing inherent in how Malden renders that character. Look closely, too, for Fred Gwynne in a minor role as one of Johnny Friendly's goons. "On the Waterfront" demonstrates that themes that were universal in 1954 will always be universal. ...more info
  • A Great Conservative Epic Film
    This is a great film among the usual sea of liberal trash
    produced in hollywood. The surface theme is good: A boxer,
    a true rugged American individual, is held down and corrupted
    by a so-called labour union run by thugs and criminals.

    They control
    and steal from good ordinary people through fear and violence.
    The only person to stand up against them does so because he
    has GOD on his side. And in the end, the rugged individualist
    is convinced to fight back because of the two things liberals
    hate more than anything: GOD and the love of a man for a woman.

    The boxer lives in shame as the film starts. Because he threw
    away his chance to be something on his own and for himself
    (a boxing contender). He threw it away because the bosses
    wanted him to do what was right for "the community" (meaning
    in reality the bosses themselves) rather than be a success in
    his own right. You can see in that the pure evil of communism.
    Its wrong to be successful, rich or better than other people.
    And if you are, you should not use your talents.

    Below the surface of the film is the struggle by conservatives
    in the 1950s against liberals and communists which were trying
    to infiltrate every aspect of american life and using communist
    labor unions to end freedom in america.

    As the lead character in the film did, the director of this film
    bravely came forward to tesify against criminals, communists
    and the like. And for being a patriot, he was persecuted by
    the hollywood liberals for the rest of his life. The liberals
    never would ever forgive a man who told the truth about how
    communists were creating anti-american propoganda through the
    movie industry and how unions were terrorizing people, stealing
    from them, destroying freedom in america and attempting to
    take the life out of american capitalism.

    This film is in many ways a "sparticus" for conservativism.
    As sparticus rose out of slavery in rome as an inspirational
    individual, the lead character here rises up out of the slavery
    of unions and liberalism to restore freedom to the people.
    You can see in that character William Buckley, Barry Goldwater,
    Ayn Rand or Ronald Reagan. Lone people standing against a world
    full of communists and liberals trying to destroy them.

    In a few years, when we have got the federal courts out of our
    businesses & lives, restored GOD to government & schools,
    have defeated terrorism and spread freedom to the rest
    of the world, this great epic film should be shown to all
    real american children along with books like 1984 to educate
    the new generations about the evil of the liberals and what
    could happen if they let those people take over America again.


    ...more info
  • STANDING UP
    This is cinema at it's finest. The absolutely, superb direction of Elia Kazan, and a taut, edgy script by Budd Schulberg, and Malcolm Johnson, are almost over-shadowed by the towering performance of Marlon Brando in one of his greatest roles. The black, and white cinematography, and electrically-charged score add a stark quality to this story of corruption, courage, and ultimately, redemption. ON THE WATERFRONT should be in any cinema-lover's collection....more info
  • Charlie..... it was you!!!
    This is the greatest picture. I have seen alot of movies and nothing comes close to waterfront. Brando is at his best and Kazan shows why he is, one of the great hollywood directors....more info
  • Some hammy acting but still good.
    I love this film cause of it's message. It's sad that Marlon Brando went on to later play a character in a film that's message is the opposite of this one. I'm talking about "The Godfather." Wich is also in my opinion the most pointless and overrated film of our time. It's sad that "The Godfather" and Pizza serves as the two biggest examples of Italian culture in North America.

    Anyway about the film. On The Waterfront is one of those films that has it's flaws but still comes off very strong. One of my main complaints about the film is the over use of Leonard Bernstein's music. It seems as if there was some sort of claus in Bernsteins contract forcing the director to fit in as much of his music as possible. There are a few scences in this film that could have really done without music. It seemed forced.

    Another thing is the acting. Alot of the lines in this film sceem over acted. It's like an on screen battle of who could be the hammiest....more info

  • Not all unions were MOB run
    This movie has some great acting in it.
    But looking back, it may have been somewhat
    misguided as the "union toughs" were actually important in
    resisting the "management toughs" of hired thugs and security guards
    used to break unions.In many states unions were broken and the workers suffered at the will of management.
    The coal mines of West Virginia are probably one outstanding
    historical example with black lung disease and long hours, bad safety conditions and no real representation of workers.
    The dock workers and teamsters were MOB run, but many others unions in the trades suffered from "piece work" and union breaking tactics , even to the present.
    We don't picture the Marlon Brando of this story as being a corporate
    stooge in breaking unionism, but that may have been the ultimate result?...more info
  • Unsurpassable Brando in an Indisputable Masterpiece
    With director Elia Kazan's death last fall and Marlon Brando's death in July, it seems appropriate to revisit this film now, and owning the DVD version is certainly a worthwhile investment with all the extra contextual information provided. First and foremost, fifty years later, this film is still an absolute stunner. Kazan, with screenwriter Budd Schulberg, has fashioned a pulsating story about Mob informers amid the highly corrupted longshoreman unions on the New Jersey docks in the fifties. The focus is on the evolution of Terry Malloy, a former boxer who has been relegated to play errand boy for a nasty union boss, the ironically named Johnny Friendly. Terry's brother Charley, a crooked union lawyer, is the one who got him to give up boxing and take the menial job. Terry is satisfied with his status until a neighborhood pal gets thrown off a roof to prevent him from testifying to the crime commission. Terry is then driven headlong to his conscience by local priest Father Barry and Edie Doyle, the potential informer's sister. The interactions among these characters have great passion and feel deeply truthful thanks to the sterling cast, a virtual Who's Who of Actors' Studio top-of-the-class alumni, which was not coincidentally started by Kazan.

    This movie has more in common with post-WWII neo-realism as introduced by filmmakers like Roberto Rosellini, than with other Hollywood studio-produced fare at the time. It is this hard-edged black-and-white atmosphere that Kazan depicts with passion and often sensitivity. Leonard Bernstein's symphonic score, easily among his best work, accentuates the emotions in key scenes with varied colors and swelling power. The ensemble acting is uniformly superb down to the smallest roles. The obvious standouts are Lee J. Cobb as Friendly, Karl Malden as Father Barry and in their screen debuts, Rod Steiger as Charley and Eva Marie Saint as Edie. But of course, the emotive force of this story comes from Brando, probably one of the most definitive performances ever filmed. At the beginning, his character seems too dim-witted to carry such a heavy story of redemption, but Brando's incisive portrayal immediately gets to the heart and soul of Terry's journey, his slow awakening to what he needs to do to save himself at the end. Just watch him try on Edie's glove in the park; react to her anger over her discovery of his role in her brother's death; explain himself to Edie in the saloon; stagger in his bloodied walk at the end, and most especially, confront Charley with his own disappointment in the much-played cab ride scene. All should be used as flawless examples in a master acting class. One could forgive all of Brando's later excesses and expensive star slumming for this one performance...it is simply that good.

    Granted there are flourishes of melodrama heightened by Bernstein's music, but they are forgivable given the driving power of the story. Enough has been said of the parallels between this movie and Kazan's own role as an informer during the Communist witch-hunts at that time. Whether you see this film as a parable to justify Kazan's decision to name names doesn't really matter when judging the film's merits. It stands on its own as a cinematic masterpiece. It's a must-see.

    The DVD transfer is very good, obviously taken from a pristine print. It contains a good featurette, "Contender - Mastering the Method", which has various people talking about the quality of the film as well as some insightful comments from Steiger himself. There is also an interview with Kazan, which is actually more revealing for what he doesn't talk about than what he does discuss, e.g., falling out with Arthur Miller, testifying to the House on Un-American Activities. Some interesting revelations emerge in these pieces, e.g., Brando's own disappointment after he saw his performance, Brando going to his therapist appointment during Steiger's close-ups in the cab scene, Kazan hating producer Sam Spiegel for pinching pennies during production. The alternate audio tracks by critic Richard Schickel and Elia Kazan biographer Jeff Young are informative though a bit on the gushing side. It is also worth noting that Kazan and Schulberg teamed up again two years later with their fascinating indictment of media celebrities, "A Face in the Crowd" (also strongly recommended)....more info
  • Brilliant. Marred only by the propagandist motivation.
    Everyone has heard that this movie is brilliant, and it is. There is no doubt that any fan of movies should see this movie.

    All the actors are incredible and of course Brando's performance is one of the greatest of all time. I was impressed that, even though I had heard dozens of times the famous line from this movie - "I could have been a contender..." - it was still a powerful and chilling moment in the movie. The only minor misstep is the overbearing musical score, which often overpowers the dialogue, drowning out the brilliant performances.

    Brilliance acknowledged, but I think it is worth noting that this is essentially fascist propaganda. Kazan, as most people are aware, chose to turn his friends and former coworkers over to the McCarthyists. This movie is something of a defense of that action, and when you watch it in that light, it loses a lot of its emotional power. Kazan clearly envisions himself in the Brando role, as someone who "courageously" stood up against his peers when they wanted him to keep quiet. The truth is more complex than that, but I would harldly imagine that cooperating with powerful fascists counts as "courageous." When you watch the movie and think about what Kazan is trying to tell you in that light, it is positively revolting.

    ...more info
  • I LOVE THIS FILM
    It is unfortunate that it took Brando's death for me to realize the acting genuis he was. In this movie he brought forth such a vulnerability that you wanted to root for him. His acting is brilliant, I can understand why he won an Oscar for this performance. I now know what true acting genius is, it was Brando. Highly recommend this movie....more info
  • Great movie
    The only thing I didn't like about this movie is the cops were to nice...way to nice. Anyways the premise of the movie will remain timeless. Until man decides to correct the injustice and apathy he produces the rest of mankind cannot follow. Marlon Brandon shines in this one as you can feel his despair and sadness and Lee J. Cobb as the antagonist likewise (the role isn't too far from his character in 12 Angry Men). If you like character driven plots powerful scenes and NO FILLER in the script (a lost art). This is for you....more info
  • Hey, you wanna hear my philosophy of life?
    This movie is outstanding as many others have mentioned. I remember seeing an interview where Richard Jenkins said that one of his favorite movies of all time is "On the Waterfront." I decided to see it, so I could get an idea of what he was talking about.

    This movie is truly one of the great iconic films of American cinema. The performances from Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, Eva Marie Saint, and Karl Malden are all excellent. Marlon Brando is hypnotic. He knows his character intimately and disappears within his character. He makes the viewer feel and believe that underneath his tough exterior is a tender soul that yearns for love and acceptance. Brando is able to convey feelings, thoughts and emotions in body language and facial expressions without even saying a word. Among the many wonderful scenes, the scene in the car with Steiger and Brando and the one in the bar with Brando and Eva Marie Saint are my favorites.

    Each character is perfectly pitched and the story moves along at a good pace. Elia Kazan said that Sam Speigel basically compelled Budd Schulberg to keep editing the script and the story, to wittle it down to what we have in the movie. Kazan felt that the story was edited down to perfection due to the fact that Budd worked so long and so diligently under Speigel's insistence. Of course, the finished product is a masterpiece, and a masterclass in the art of cinema. ...more info
  • Classic story and powerful acting
    Seamlessly unraveling on multiple levels, On the Waterfront has the period splendor of New York harbor culture, strong performances and a tightly woven suspense story. There are many memorable scenes including the famous "I could have been a contenda" speech and a powerful portrayal of a worker strike. On the Waterfront seems to have a frank message in the uplifting power of friendship, belief in the common man and conscience. Religious sentiments are echoed by a preacher in the film who seeks to stir up dock workers to testify against a murderous mob leader. Marlon Brando stars in the lead role as "Terry," a dock worker with mob ties, who begins to realize that there is more to his work and friendships than simply taking orders and keeping his mouth shut. His performance here goes deeper than in A Streetcar Named Desire. A gradual awakening to the choice he must make, along with the tender way he handles the other characters was really unexpected compared to the rugged machismo of his other roles. The symbolism with the doves and the hawks was not lost on me. The colloquial exchanges and careful depictions of day to day heroism still enlighten the social conditions over fifty years ago.
    ...more info