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MPAA Rating - NR

    107 Minutes


Original Release Date:
    Oct 23, 2001

    Elia Kazan

    Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, Pat Henning, Eva Marie Saint

Movie Summary
This classic story of Mob informers was based on a number of true stories and filmed on location in and around the docks of New York and New Jersey. Mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) rules the waterfront with an iron fist. The police know that hes been responsible for a number of murders, but witnesses play deaf and dumb (plead D & D). Washed-up boxer Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) has had an errand-boy job because of the influence of his brother Charley, a crooked union lawyer (Rod Steiger). Witnessing one of Friendlys rub-outs, Terry is willing to keep his mouth shut until he meets the dead dockworkers sister, Edie (Eva Marie Saint). Waterfront priest Father Barry (Karl Malden) tells Terry that Edies brother was killed because he was going to testify against boss Friendly before the crime commission. Because he could have intervened, but didnt, Terry feels somewhat responsible for the death. When Father Barry receives a beating from Friendlys goons, Terry is persuaded to cooperate with the commission. Featuring Brandos famous I coulda been a contendah speech, On the Waterfront has often been seen as an allegory of naming names against suspected Communists during the anti-Communist investigations of the 1950s. Director Elia Kazan famously informed on suspected Communists before a government committee -- unlike many of his colleagues, some of whom went to prison for refusing to name names and many more of whom were blacklisted from working in the film industry for many years to come -- and Budd Schulbergs screenplay has often been read as an elaborate defense of the informers position. On the Waterfront won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor for Brando, and Best Supporting Actress for Saint. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide


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