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…
"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…
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.…
After a slow start, the film really picks up halfway through. Great performances all around.
ο Marlon Brando θα είναι πάντα ο ένας και υπεροχότερος.
You know this city's full of hawks? That's a fact. They hang around on the top of the big hotels. And they spot a pigeon in the park. They go right down on him.
Above all else, On the Waterfront is a deceptive film. Viewers begin by observing the unique culture of the early 1950s dockworkers, and the longshoreman's struggles against tough economic times, limited amount of honest work, and even the forces of mob corruption. The film slowly shifts its focus onto one singular man, Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando), and becomes two-fold in nature, half a character study and half an economic issue film. Luckily, the overall filmmaking prowess presented in the film does not forsake its themes in…
Does the final scene make any sense in terms of what is implied to be accomplished? What's portrayed as a triumph against the tyranny of the union seems like zilch in terms of 'what happens tomorrow'. Am I off base here?
first time viewing it since 2007, when I was just 14, and barely understood just how good it really is...see the Criterion version for some fantastic documentaries as well as a great interview by Kent Jones with Scorsese...
Terry: I could have been somebody instead of a bum, which is what I am now.
A bit slow in the beginning, melodramatic later, but with some of the finest acting seen on the screen.
Good: Some of the finest acting you'll ever see on the screen--especially with Steiger and Brando in taxi scene.
Bad: Score is a little dated for modern audiences--perfect for its time, but sounding overly dramatic now.
Rating: 9.6 / 10 (Excellent)
Man sometimes I feel dumb. Like, why do I never listen? People keep telling me, I keep on ignoring. Come on now, get it together.
Well in any case, On the Waterfront is one of those dumb moments, because whoa, this thing is a masterpiece. And it’s interesting to see the correlation of this film between the backgrounds of both its historical basis as well as Kazan’s own political context. Even without any knowledge of subtext, this would be a damn fine film. And I think that that’s one of the most important pieces. Kazan’s ability to deliver a message organically is refreshing, especially to look back on. It’s not overbearing, it picks it’s moments beautifully. (Yeah yeah, like a…
This film earned Marlon Brando the first of two best actor Oscars (the second was for The Godfather), and he was certainly good as traumatised ex-boxer Terry Malloy.
Considering Brando's tour de force performance in A Streetcar Named Desire a few years earlier, it was no surprise to see him shine here. But was the story in On The Waterfront really hinting at the communist trials?
In support we have Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, Rod Steiger, and Lee J Cobb, and all are excellent. It could even be said that the scene with the ‘coulda been a contender' speech allows Steiger to steal the scene. It is certainly a close call.
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All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
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most recent update - Monday, July 12, 2014, 8:22 PM EST
The letterboxd crew has unveiled a new feature that…