Marlon Brando gives one of the screen's most electrifying performances as Best Actor in this 1954 Academy AwardŽ winner for Best Film. Ex-fighter Terry Malloy (Brando) could have been a contender but now toils for boss Joh... more »nny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) on the gang-ridden waterfront. Terry is guilt-stricken however when he lures a rebellious worker to his death. But it takes the love of Edie Doyle (Eva Marie Saint) the dead man's sister to show Terry how low he has fallen. When his crooked brother Charley the Gent (Rod Steiger) is brutally murdered for refusing to kill him Terry battles to crush Friendly's underworld empire. Directed by Elia Kazan (A Streetcar Named Desire) and written by Budd Schulberg (What Makes Sammy Run?) this unforgettable drama about Terry's redemption is among the most acclaimed of all films.System Requirements: Running Time 107 Min Genre: DRAMA Rating: NR UPC: 043396784093 Manufacturer No: 78409« less
"If you want to know why Marlon Brando inspired and influenced an entire generation of actors, see On the Waterfront. His Terry Malloy is real down to his fingernails. Brando in his prime took and held the screen like no one else, absolutely magnetic, whether as a seeming uncaring pug with unawakened nobility in his heart (Terry) or a Mexican revolutionary (see Viva Zapata) or a racist jet ace (Sayonara) or whatever. Matching Brando is a perfect cast. Karl Malden, Eve Marie Saint, Rod Steiger, Lee J. Cobb, there isn't a missed note or lesser performance from any of them, not to mention the thugs and real-life dockworkers surrounding them. Elia Kazan was an actor's director, and his skill at eliciting superior performance is nowhere more evident than here. He also knew how to make a movie, and his work with the camera and pacing is first rate. The B&W photography is gritty, beautiful and serves to locate the film in time and place while eliminating distraction from the performances. You must know the story by now, culled from the real dockside union problems of the day, Budd Schulberg & Kazan fashioned a story that is about courage, loyalty (misplaced and otherwise), responsibilty and the willingness to stand up for something, stand alone if need be, and in that stance to risk the mistrust and misunderstanding and ostracism of your friends, your society, and the loss of your place in the world and even your life. They created a powerful melodrama of greed & corruption, of the struggle with compromise and conscience, of loss and redemption.Frankly, this is just great movie making. It isn't done any better than this, and if for some reason you have never seen this film, treat yourself to excellence.This is one of the best, don't miss it, and don't miss one of our greatest actors in his prime."
VERY DISAPPOINTING TRANSFER OF AN AMERICAN CLASSIC
Nix Pix | Windsor, Ontario, Canada | 03/11/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Columbia continues its downward spiral where its classic DVD output is concerned. "On The Waterfront" is not only a great Academy Award winning film, it is an American icon. The plot is concerned with a union stooge, Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) who eventually realizes that the intimidation racket of his boss, Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) is an evil and destructive force in his community. Eva Marie Saint costars as Edie Doyle, the sister of a man who was thrown off of a rooftop on Friendly?s orders. It is partially through her love and the stoic commitment of Father Barry (Carl Malden) that Terry reforms his ways. Rod Steiger is particularly effective as Charley Malloy, Terry?s brother.Quite simply: this transfer is a let down. Contrast levels are extremely low, fine details are lost in video noise reduction enhancement and digital grit, grain and noise are detected throughout. The gray scale is poorly balanced. Scratches, chips and distortions in the original camera negative stick out like a soar thumb. The audio is mono and undistinguished. It's not a bad mix, though there are moments where a slight background hiss crops up. No extras! Oh, come on Columbia. This is one of your BEST PICTURES and it gets this kind of treatment on DVD?!? It ?could'a been a contenda'!?"
A dramatic triumph!!!
J. Botha | Melbourne, Australia. | 05/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""On the waterfront" is one of my favourite movies of all time. Marlon Brando is superb in this film and the dramatic tension throughout the entire production is a testament to the filmaker's skills. The acting, cinematography and script are all top-notch here. To the guy who wants this in widescreen, widescreen was not used greatly in 1954, the previous year saw the first use of it with "the Robe" so I wouldn't be holding my breath to see this one released in widescreen! For the other guy who won't watch it unless it's in colour, I hope your joking!! Talk about spoiling a great film.Thanks for reading and buy and enjoy this dvd."
One of the best films of all time
flickjunkie | 11/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Often mentioned among the greatest films of all time, this gritty story of corruption in the longshoremen's union and one man's courage to resist the mob bosses, hits with the force of an emotional sledgehammer. The film was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won 8 including best picture, best actor for Marlon Brando, best director for Elian Kazan and best supporting actress for Eva Marie Saint in her feature film debut. The acting talent was so deep that four cast members (Saint, Malden, Cobb, Steiger) were nominated in the best supporting actor category. The film was also rated number 8 on AFI's top 100 list of the twentieth century. The story focuses on Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando), a small-time former boxer whose brother was highly placed in the corrupt longshoremen's union. Terry lures out Joey Doyle, an informant and friend of his, so the mobsters can deal with him. Terry thinks they are going to rough him up to keep him quiet, but instead, they throw him off a roof to his death. The guilt begins to gnaw at Terry, compounded by the fact that he is falling in love with Joey's sister Edie (Eva Marie Saint). He is further urged to inform on the mob by Father Barry (Karl Malden) setting up a dramatic confrontation with the union.The setting was highly realistic, filmed on the docks of Hoboken, NJ with the New York City skyline as its backdrop. Most of the extras were actual longshoremen who worked on those same docks. The use of black and white film rather than color only served to enhance the dramatic effects.This film was a vehement and personal political statement by Elian Kazan. Kazan had just finished testifying before the House Unamerican Activities Committee, naming former associates who were affiliated with the Communist party. As a result, he was ostracized by most of the filmmaking community. "On The Waterfront" became his personal mission to justify his testimony. He looked at Terry as his own alter ego. In one scene, a union boss shouts, ``You ratted on us, Terry,'' and Brando retorts: ``I'm standing over here now. I was rattin' on myself all those years. I didn't even know it.'' This was Kazan's defiant statement in response to the vituperation of his critics. For this reason the film was reviled by the Hollywood elite and Kazan vilified as turncoat. In his 1988 autobiography, he wrote about how he felt after the film won 8 Oscars: "I was tasting vengeance that night and enjoying it. `On the Waterfront' is my own story; every day I worked on that film, I was telling the world where I stood and my critics to go and **** themselves.''The political agenda aside, this was brilliant filmmaking. The story had gut wrenching power, a classic struggle between good and evil with one man defying insurmountable odds and certain death to stand by his beliefs. It contains one of the most memorable and most quoted scenes in film. Brando gives his now famous "I coulda been a contenda" speech in chastising his brother for selling him out and making him take a dive so the mob could win the bets they laid on his opponent. The ending of the film is one of the most triumphant in filmmaking history. The acting was superlative across the board. Brando's performance is without question one of the most unforgettable ever. His character was a simple man with extraordinary courage making him an amazingly attractive hero. The anguished torment he portrayed was deeply affecting. Karl Malden was electrifying as the defiant priest who stood with the union members to encourage them to oppose corruption. Lee J. Cobb was also fabulous as Johnny Friendly, the crooked and maniacal union boss who would stop at nothing to maintain power. Rod Steiger gave a fantastic performance as Terry's older and "smarter" brother who was nothing more than Johnny Friendly's stooge. Eva Marie Saint was compelling as the courageous sister of the slain longshoreman. Also playing minor roles were a very young Fred Gwynn and Martin Balsam.This is one of my favorite films of all time. Of course, I rate it a 10/10. It is required viewing for any classic film buff. Its power cannot be adequately described, it must be experienced."
An American Classic
firstname.lastname@example.org | Metro Atlanta | 12/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In On the Waterfront, all the elements of great film making meet so ideally that the subtext of Kazan's self-justification becomes a non-issue. Those who dismiss the film because they villify its maker have a personal ax to grind and forget that great art is often achieved by very flawed artists. The plot turns Greek tragedy (and Shakespearean) on its ear. Brando's Terry Malloy is a self-proclaimed bum with no apparant redeeming virtues. But he rises to greatness when one virtue surfaces and exhalts him. It is not a sense of duty to break the corrupt union that saves him. It is love--for his brother and for the girl whose brother he has helped to murder, although unwittingly. The acting, from Brando all the way to the slightly smarmy government agents and the thugs and hangers-on who do Johnny Friendly's dirty work, is supurb. Kazan has said that Brando's performance is the greatest in American film history, and I agree. He is so inventive and so unlike anything that had ever been seen at that time. Though his character is certainly not subtle, Brando's performance is immensely subtle. I'll mention one emotion that is central to the theme of the story: indecision. In the scene in the bar (with Eva Marie Saint), he suffers a moral agony unfamiliar to him as his attraction to her, his horror at her brother's death, and his misplaced sense of "don't squeal" values hold him in conflict. This indecision comes to its conclusion, again in a bar, when he struggles with the same sense of allegiance and his hatred for Johnny Friendly. Kazan achieves one his most brilliant insights when Brando hurls the pistol at the mirror which holds his own reflection: his decision is clear. (Interestingly, Kazan used a smashed mirror to convey an entirely different idea in "Streetcar"). The music, which is indeed by Leornard Bernstein, not Elmer, is as elemental, brutal, and blood-stirring as is Kazan's direction and Brando's acting. I've seen Citizen Kane and the other films that some rate above this one, and I don't get it. On the Waterfront is America's great movie, the product of two geniuses at their best."