Written June 11, 2011
The significance of this film not only lies in past popularity. It is a reputable depiction of American politics surrounding organized labor. That is a simple classification. What I find so important, is the late Marlon Brando's meandering character- one whose dreams lose ground in the wake of organized crime. While we think of organized labor as critical to protecting worker rights today, this film shows how the absolute power of a few at the top, can wind up leaving people dead; that is in this story, until the police and the church get involved in suppressing the terror. The reluctant hero, in this film, takes a beating - a sensitive soul, now fond of pigeons. But, without fighting in "the ring", like a boxer, with a lot of help from his friends, and victims - organized labor would not really fall; but, it would see a restructuring and hopefully optimism for the longshoremen in NY. Not to be ignored, this film is also about family, community, and love for brother and for sister.
Written November 08, 2014
Marlon Brando could simply look you in the ye for a split second to prove he is a movie star. He was one of those few celebrities who really made a difference in films by bringing epic characters in a powerful and moving way. Each character he acted as gave remarkable dialogue and had meaningful motifs. By far his best performance comes from the 8-Oscar winning classic drama "On the waterfront." Brando plays Terry Malloy, a hardened young man who dreams about being a prize fighter, while running errands at the docks for Johnny Friendly (Lee J.Cobb), 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 (Eva Marie Saint) and feels responsible for his death. She introduces him to Father Barry (Karl Malden), who tries to force him to provide information for the courts that will smash the dock racketeers. This is a story of Hollywood history. "On the Waterfront" is an ode to life in terms of the moral messages it provides. That's why this story stands out. It has a strong conflict that tests the moral abilities of our protagonists and gives a triumphant ending to satisfy audiences. Each actor gives charismatic performances. Brando does his best by showing a moral conflict through shame and redemption, Eva Marie saint is lovely as his girlfriend, Lee J.Cobb is one of the most hateful characters on the 20th century, and Karl Malden is a cinematic hero for his wisdom. The film is jam-packed with stars. Elia Kazan was one of the older American filmmakers who showed he wanted stories made that really meant something and impacted the audiences spiritually. His story is directed with the 50's 35 mm format with stunning Black and White, but a vibrant range of emotions coming from rich characters created by Budd Schulberg, a man that changed the way movies were written due to his socially relevant messages prompted by his magnificent characters. "On the Waterfront" is an epic story about morality that can still inspire those who are willing to come across it. This is a cinematic icon.