On the Waterfront ★★★★½

My knowledge of On the Waterfront before watching it was almost completely limited to one actor and one line he says, so I didn’t have any idea what to expect. If anything I thought it was going to be overwrought Oscar-bait melodrama. I was pleased to find that it’s actually a gripping tale of one guy and his struggles living under the arm of an unjust, mob-controlled union. Marlon Brando is amazing as Terry Malloy, because he blends toughness and naivete, so I instantly sympathized with him. Lee J. Cobb is an excellent counterpoint as the boss of the union. I just love watching that guy scream and shout. The heart of the movie is delivered by Karl Malden (playing the familiar role of the preacher in town) and Eva Marie Saint (the unlikely love interest.) It’s nice because the great cast provides a figurative angel and devil on Terry’s shoulders as he tries to figure out the right thing to do.

There’s a lot of drama throughout On the Waterfront. I was on the edge of my seat through most of it, because I never knew whether people would be safe or if they’d be met with an “accident.” There are several extremely poignant scenes, and there’s a reason that one line is so well known in pop culture because that scene almost brought me to tears. Almost everything in this movie worked for me on multiple levels. I was totally enthralled and when it was done I just wanted to see more. It took me through a whole range of emotions and left me feeling a buzz of excitement at the end. If I were to complain about anything it might be the shifting response of people in the crowds near the end of the movie. There were some times I didn’t see why they were behaving in certain ways, but I have a basic understanding of mob mentality, and it kind of makes sense. So even my one complaint isn’t really a complaint at all. I loved On the Waterfront and can’t wait to watch it again.

Wins against Arrival
Wins against Ruggles of Red Gap
Loses to Hell or High Water
Wins against Iron Man 2
Wins against Ant-Man
Wins against Doctor Strange
Wins against Witness for the Prosecution
Wins against Gambit
Wins against Panic Room
Loses to Hell or High Water

On the Waterfront ranked 158 out of 1257