in about 100 words or less
USA, 108m, B&W
Director: Elia Kazan; Cast: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Eva Marie Saint, Rod Steiger
On the Waterfront is a realistic and authentic-looking gritty story about the mob control of dock workers in New Jersey. Terry, the main character is an ex-boxer and mob tough-guy, brilliantly portrayed by Marlon Brando, who is employed to intimidate his fellow workers who are suspected of collaborating with the Crime Commission. While Terry is introduced as a simple character, his persona becomes increasingly complex as he begins to question his motives after “falling” for Edie, the sister of a murdered dock worker. Faced with a moral dilemma, Terry is forced to make a choice which could cost him life. While not necessarily the most entertaining film, the strong performances of the main players are reason enough to admire this work (Klaus Ming August 2009).