On the Waterfront (1954) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: 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. Runtime: 108 mins Release Date: 23 Jun 1954
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 <more>
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
"Im just a bum sitting in a motor home on a film set, Brando said, and they come looking for ZEUS". I think Brando was a guy who was perfect in the moment. All his power and shortcomings can be revealed in a single sentence. Other's might have been great and still more will be. But there's just something about him. For me, Brando has always been the ultimate male. Simply put, bruiting desire. Brando represents the very definition of method acting, even though he was said to have hated the phrase. Being able to reach inside yourself and pull something out that kicks everyone <more>
in the ass. He was truly one of a kind. They say sometimes beautiful people are born under a dark cloud. I think Brando was born under a rain of thunderbolts. He was powerful and tragic.On The Waterfront is basically a showcase for Brando. Everything coming together. This film is truly one for the ages. I guess the only thing really wrong with this life is time.
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, downbeat with a feeling of dread, magnificent black-and-white cinematography, etc.It's certainly not a "fun" movie but if you appreciate great 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 <more>
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. How many films does one hear about Jesus Christ being everywhere men are? None I can recall, offhand. He, like Saint's character, also influenced Brando to do the right thing.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.Suffice to say if you are looking for a hard-nosed drama with great acting and photography, a film that still looks and sounds up-to-date in many respects, 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.
A classic for all the right reasons (by ExpendableMan)
Watching On The Waterfront nowadays, two scenes stand out head and shoulders above the rest. First is the impassioned speech by Father Barry Karl Malden to the gathered dock workers in the hull of a ship where he tries to rally them against the mobsters running their lives. Second is the confrontation between Terry and Charlie Malloy Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger in the back of a taxi which ends in one brother pointing a gun at the other and Brando's now legendary "contender speech." Both of them are sequences where the characters do nothing but talk but each is a fine <more>
example of what makes On The Waterfront the undeniable classic it is; acting, scripting, cinematography, music, everything fits into one cohesive whole and the end result is a welcome addition to any film collection.The story here concerns Terry Malloy, a New York shipyard worker who finds his conscience bothering him when one of his friends is murdered. Terry at first is a tough guy with a grim outlook "you know my philosophy on life, give it to 'em before they give to you" who despite his inner turmoil refuses to confess anything to the Police as it would make him a "rat." However, the arrival of Malden's headstrong Preacher and the victim's innocent sister Edie Eva Marie Saint in her debut appearance throws his deaf and dumb world into chaos. Soon, Terry finds himself falling for Edie and the Preacher's words hit home, leaving the angry young dockworker to question what's really right. The mob meanwhile aren't too happy about Terry's UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP and begin to pile on the pressure, especially his older brother Charlie who's torn between loyalty to his boss and looking out for his younger sibling. Before anyone can put a lid on things, the dockyard becomes a very tense place to be.Brando of course puts his heart and soul into his performance. Terry by his very nature isn't one to carry his heart on his sleeve and so the great Method Actor is left to convey his turmoil through body language alone. It is a testament to how good he is that you can tell exactly what Terry is feeling even though he hardly ever expresses it verbally. Instead his shoulders hunch with resigned indignation and his eyes spark with anger, Brando playing the part so well he more or less disappears into the character completely. While he may have taken a lot of the credit however, he is far from the only strong presence in the film as Karl Malden's rock hard Preacher is just as compelling, his depiction of the dignified man of Christ who isn't afraid to drink beer and smoke cigarettes with the Wharf rats being a refreshingly positive portrayal of a Catholic leader. Eva Marie Saint meanwhile puts in a convincing portrayal of Edie, but she is hamstrung a little by some old fashioned writing. Her pursuit of her brother's murderers give her some powerful moments but there are a couple of instances where it becomes all too clear that the part was written by a man. However, she still gives us one of the most touching moments in the film, a confrontation with Terry where most of their chat is disrupted by a tug horn that is achingly sad despite the absence of dialogue.Acting is only one half of the equation of course and needless to say, the story remains constantly gripping. The murder that opens the film leaves an instant grip on the viewer's attention and as Terry spirals further into an intricate web of half truths, things get incredibly dark. The New York tenement blocks that tower over the proceedings provide an imposing sense of claustrophobia while the rooftops are a smoke laden jungle of chimney stacks and TV aerials. However, if you look closely it becomes apparent that the crew still had some fun with the material and there is some subtle humour to be had - a wedding party degenerating into a brawl and a bar full of panicked customers emptying into the streets followed by a shot of one isolated individual desperately jumping into the bathroom.All in all therefore, On The Waterfront is a film that is thoroughly deserving of its reputation. Brando excels in his role and heads up a highly talented cast giving it their all. Most of all though, it's an engaging and captivating story of urban paranoia, filled with tough guys spitting out slang in barking New York accents. Think you're a big shot, do ya? Huh? Well do us all a favour and check this one out. Ah enough a youse guys, ged outta here.
Plenty of cheers and jeers for On the Waterfront (by wa23gs)
Every movie has the basis of a story between good and evil, and On the Waterfront is not different. On the Waterfront however makes this competition quite interesting posing the decision between friends and good morals. Terry Malloy Marlon Brando witnesses a murder and has to decide between betraying his friends or doing what's right and getting the girl, Edi Doyle Eva Marie Scott , he loves. This movie has the perfect plot line for a movie, but unfortunately with this comes much ungrateful unfitting music, forced acting and scenes that seem to be shot by a three year old having a <more>
hissyfit. In many parts of the film the music seems like it is going to lead up to something big and then the scene ends leaving the viewer in utter disbelief that pinnacled music was brought up to a point of nothing. When the viewer would see something important happening it wasn't accented at all by the music but followed by awkward silence. The music throughout the whole film is not only unfitting but also very cheesy. Terry Malloy's love, Edie Doyle, should have received an award for most likely to not impress a stoner at his peak of intelligence instead of Best Supporting Actress. Every scene that she was in, she forced out her words and feelings like she was being controlled by a very bad ventriloquist. Some film critics have said that they have cried from her touching performance, I think I cried after laughing so much at her awful acting. Edie wasn't the only actor whose skills seemed rather forced, Father Barry Karl Malden , also had his moments to have his strings pulled. Most of his speeches, like the rousing speech at the packing plant, were very well done; but sometimes Father Barry would act more like monkey on a leash rather than a priest. With so much jeer for the film there is probably a greater amount of cheer. Marlon Brando does a very good job of playing a former prize fighting Terry Malloy who tries to fight the mob and be himself. Marlon Brando took the part of Terry Malloy and molded it into the perfect part to make this film a little less than wonderful. The other great points of the movie were the scenes of the mob. Head mobster Johnny Friendly Lee J. Cobb does a very good job of intimidating others and showing that he deserves to be the head honcho. On a ten point scale I give this movie an 8. I loved the ultimate decision between friends and evil, which many of us come across everyday of our lives. Marlon Brando makes a land shattering performance and the mob scenes are very well done. The music and forced acting of Eva Marie Scott and Karl Malden brought this movie down significantly.
Quite simply one of the best 5 films ever made in my opinion. Brando makes a 'bum' poetic, but for me it's Malden who really shines as the defiant priest. Then again it's a flawless cast throughout. Why some of the other reviewers concentrate on Kazan's politics is pointless. Always take a film on it's own merits, and this one is pure class.
More and more, the Rolled-out Dough will crook the Rolling Pin (by CihanVercan)
Terry lives in the shadow of his smart brother Charley the Gent working for a double-handed businessman of the underworld. He had his best times of his life during his boxing career, and has brought his dimes in for his brother. Charley's boss named Johnny Friendly is the man who is behind Terry's fame, but he is also the same man who nibbled his dimes from boxing.The curtain opens with Terry working for Johnny Friendly to be participated in a murder. He does his duty and the murder takes effect. The victim was a labor, whose labor leader also works for Johhny Friendly. Terry turns <more>
gloomy when he finds out that the victim has been only seeking his rights when he became a rebel. Especially when Terry meets with the victim's sister his suspects grew. She reasons with him that there are two opposite sides: Johnny Friendly's rich and still-growing syndicate versus the dependent and needy workers who are driven into Johnny Friendly's punitive sanctions. Provided that Terry finds a third side: His own.A run of the mill plot of the mid-20th century. Everybody is pretty much familiar with labor union issues. Mainly the subject gives nothing more than workers seeking out their rights. However, consider that it's Elia Kazan who ushers a new era of actors who rage the whole scenes and turn out heroes out of bums. On the Waterfront has surely inspired millions. For instance, in Robert De Niro's "Raging Bull", a prize-fighter like Terry Malloy turns out to be a stage actor and affirms Terry's speech of reproach to his brother, where no other words could describe his situation he fell into.Marlon Brando's can-do attitude created an inspirational movement, imprinting our memory, that "If Terry Malloy can do this, yes; I can do this, and yes; everybody can do this". Subsequently movie makers began to deliver efforts and accomplishments to the silver screen in order to catch viewers' appreciations. On The Waterfront, Elia Kazan and Marlon Brando are those to remember together in the motion picture history.
Powerful portrait of N.Y. docks , being stunningly performed and excellently directed by Elia Kazan (by ma-cortes)
This compelling and dynamic drama is set on New York's dock where mobsters control the Union and stevedores . An ex-prize fighter named Terry Malloy Marlon Brando who deservedly won an Academy Award turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses Lee J Cobb and is embroiled in violence . Malloy faces the dilemma of whether or not to turn informer . While his brother it was originally offered to Lawrence Tierney , but he asked for too much money so the role went to Rod Steiger who was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance is a crooked lawyer and he <more>
meets a beautiful ex-nun Eva Maria Saint , Grace Kelly turned down the role of Edie Doyle, deciding to make Rear Window instead and falls in love for her .This interesting and thought-provoking film contains intense drama with pungent lines , emotion , wonderful performances , memorable final , magnificent direction and classic musical score by the maestro Leonard Berstein . Marvelous acting by entire casting . The taxicab scene , one of the most famous scenes in the cinema, in which 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 would have difficulty trying to talk reasonably with his brother 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. The idea for the film began with an expose series written for The New York Sun by reporter Malcolm Johnson , the articles won him a Pulitzer Prize and were reinforced by the 1948 murder of a New York dock hiring boss which woke America to the killings, graft and extortion that were endemic on the New York waterfront. Budd Schulberg was captivated by the subject matter, devoting years of his life to absorbing everything he could about the milieu. He became a regular fixture on the waterfront, hanging out in West Side Manhattan and Long Island bars, interviewing longshore-union leaders and getting to know the outspoken priests in Hell's Kitchen. The leading characters were based on real people: Terry Malloy was based on longshoreman and whistle-blower Anthony De Vincenzo; Father Barry was based on waterfront priest John M. Corridan; Johnny Friendly was based on mobster Albert Anastasia. On the Waterfront is widely known to be an act of expiation on the part of Elia Kazan for naming names to HUAC during the Joseph McCarthy witch-hunts of the 1950s. What is less widely reported is that Kazan intended it as a direct attack at his former close friend Arthur Miller who had been openly critical of Kazan's actions. Specifically, it was a direct response to Miller's play The Crucible.This trend-setting film has a gritty portrait of N.Y. waterfront and stand up well nowadays and resulted to be a huge financial hit , as from a budget of just under $1 million, the film went on to gross ten times its production costs in its initial release. Film debuts of Michael V. Gazzo, Pat Hingle, Martin Balsam, and Eva Marie Saint. The last gave a debut performance that won her the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. It's a winner all the way , winning eight Academy Award , including : Best Picture , Direction Kazan , Cinematography Boris Kaufman , Art Director Richard Day . Rating : Very good , above average , and a real must see . Well worth watching .
Spoilers herein.Though this is highly celebrated, I see too many flaws to make it work well.Some key roles are broken because the approach the actors took: Malden, Saint, Pops. It seems overtly theatrical compared to what Steiger and Brando are doing. Those two are doing something relatively new: establishing a parallel conversation over the 'ordinary' work of portrayal. It has the most obvious effect of making the characterization 'real.'Its often credited to some sort of inner connection via the 'method,' but that's not at all so. Meryl cannot; Dustin cannot. <more>
Only few have the gift: Marlon, Julianne, Kate, Sean. That's what makes this special, only Marlon's folded acting, supported by Rod's.What else doesn't work? The cinematography tries to be 'classic,' the writing is after a theatrical model that - although it has some meaty scenes - follows too simple a dramatic shape. But the biggest problem is the score. This is good music. And I understand it was key to adding jazz to the realistic cinematic vocabulary. But the personality of this music is one dimensional. Its message is purely in the direct sounds, the communication. Its as if all the conversation were in the words and none in the accompanying body language.Its okay, but Brando's work deserved something more dimensional. Only when the music is replaced by the waterfront sounds when Brando tells the girl does the composition of image and sound work. 'Streetcar' is where you need to go for a project integrated with the Brando fold.Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.