Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
On the Waterfront
The Man Lived by the Jungle Law of the Docks!
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.
One of the great American Classics that somehow managed to elude me all this time.
I now fully understand what people mean when they say that acting has a pre-Brando and a post-Brando era. Brando delivers a seminal performance here that shook things up mainly because he showed a natural quality to his acting that wasn't common in those days. He wasn't articulate, was very physical and clearly improvised a lot.
As an adept of the Actors Studio he was a practitioner of Method Acting and if ever there was a definitive example of what that can do to a performance, it is shown in Brando's portrayal of Terry Malloy. In a story…
**Part of the Best Picture Project**
On the Waterfront is a masterpiece. That much anyone can be sure of as it concludes. But just why is it a masterpiece?
As I talked about in my review of Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire, that film dealt with the conflict between the old Hollywood romanticism and the incoming age of realism, where stories weren't overplayed, merely depicted. In many ways, On the Waterfront is a spiritual successor to that film, arriving after that conflict is over.
Seeing On the Waterfront in historical relevance with the other Best Picture nominees only seems to make it stand out more. Here, Italian Neo-Realism arrives to Hollywood. On the Waterfront may have aspects of it that…
Some people just have a face that sticks in your mind.
I'm eternally grateful to Elia Kazan for casting exceptionally handsome leading men in his films: James Dean, Gregory Peck, and my all-time favorite, Marlon Brando. In A Streetcar Named Desire Brando displayed such raw sex appeal and naturalism that I keep forgetting that I didn't like the film. But On the Waterfront is (finally!) a film starring Brando I can truly enjoy.
It's such a pity that he didn't seem to give a damn about his career. One look at his filmography and you wonder what the hell he was thinking, squandering his looks and talent all those years. Thankfully, On The Waterfront is utterly gripping from start to…
Can one simultaneously love and detest a work of art?
I was surrounded by both of these feelings when watching Elia Kazan's 1954 film On the Waterfront. It often is put on lists of top films of all time, and I do think it is fantastically done, but the message of this movie deeply troubled me.
To expand on this, let me explain the history of this film a bit. Elia Kazan was at one time close friends with the playwright Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman et al) in the late forties. They often came to each other for advice and even collaborated on occasion.
Cut to the early 1950s in America. The Red Scare was in full swing…
Why Marlon Brando is the Best Actor in the World?
Watch On The Waterfront, you will know why.
Story of Terry who could have been a contender, but now toils for a boss Johnny Friendly on the waterfront. Terry is guilt-stricken when one of his worker friend is murdered with his help to lure him on the roof. But he fall's in love with Eddie who is the dead friends sister and starts to question his conscience. He gets in deep when his brother Charlie is killed for not killing him. He then tries to crush Friendly's empire by testifying.
One of exciting ting about this film is that it has a simple yet flowing screenplay with exceptional camera work.…
"You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charley."
There is so much I want to say about Elia Kazan 'On The Waterfront', so I gonna break it down in segments..
If anyone had any doubt of Marlon Brando acting at any point, just watch his interpretation of Terry Malloy, using the Stanislavski's system of acting, you will see there is Brando and then, there is the rest.
Eva Marie Saint, on her screen debut was…
The greatest contender of all time.
The latest entry into my CRITERION 101 column on Psycho Drive-in is the classic "On The Waterfront" from director Elia Kazan and starring Marlon Brando available now in a gorgeous The Criterion Collection edition.
Marlon Brando puts on one of the most famous performances of all time as Terry Malloy, the would-be boxing champ who became a bum because of his reluctance to rock the boat.
When the mob that runs the waterfront dock-workers union goes too far, Malloy is shaken up by a noble priest (Malden) and a beautiful gal (Saint), who make this not-so-smart guy question what he's going to stand up for.
It's ironic that director Elia Kazan was someone who "ratted out" suspected communists in the McCarthy Era, because this is a film of such idealism, such integrity, where the brave few stand up to the tyrannical many.
The script is outstanding, if a little Pollyannish at the end, and Brando's now-legendary naturalism is decades ahead of its time. Considering this was made in the mid-1950s, it is astounding how non-wooden and realistic the film is in its performance. A great film.
Reputation deserved. A fascinating premise, nuanced characters and fine performances make this a solid classic that still feels fresh, vibrant and modern.
A Brando tour-de-force that, irritatingly, enjoys underlining its emotional tone to heavy-handed music a little too much. Still, Kazan's direction means an effortless flow (as it is in the better still A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE) and a palette of fine performances.
Out of all of the 'great American pictures' long accepted into the cultural canon, ON THE WATERFRONT may actually be the most smug and self-satisfied. Seriously.
Kazan was crafting a careful allegory/justification for his role in HUAC, as we all know, but what seems to be forgotten is just how sanctimonious it is to turn one's past misgivings into an act of near-spiritual heroism, as Kazan does with Brando's character.
(the movie's obviously unbelievable and all that but I needed to get that spiel out anyway)
Great performances and story.
Noir November (Film #23)
"He tries to act tough, but there's a look in his eye."
Marlon Brando stars in Elia Kazan's unforgettable 1954 epic On The Waterfront. On The Waterfront won a total of eight Academy Awards and was nominated for a total of twelve. And yes, it was definitely deserving. On The Waterfront tells the story of Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando), an ex-prize fighter who lives and works on the gritty docks. Terry runs errands for the corrupt Johnny Friendly, who controls the dockers union with thugish force. Terry's brother Charley is Johnny Friendly's right hand man which makes Kelly feel he has to follow his brother's lead and respect Friendly. One night while running an errand for…
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Godfather
- Seven Samurai
- The Godfather: Part II
- 12 Angry Men
most recent update - Friday, November 22, 2014
The letterboxd crew has unveiled a new feature that allows users to…