Tagline – The Man Lived by the Jungle Law of the Docks!
Starring – Marlon Brando (Terry Malloy), Karl Malden (Father Barry), Lee J. Cobb (Johnny Friendly), Rod Steiger (Charley Malloy), Eva Marie Saint (Edie Doyle).
Released – July, 1954
Directed By – Elia Kazan
Produced By – Columbia Pictures Corporation, Horizon Pictures
Distributed By – Columbia Pictures
Description – Johnny Friendly is the mob-connected boss of the docks. He rules with an iron hand and is known by the police to be responsible for a number of murders. However, they can prove nothing as any and all witnesses are “deaf and dumb.”
Terry Malloy was an aspiring boxer with potential, that is until he throws a fight so Friendly can make a killing betting of Terry’s opponent. The request to throw the fight came from Terry’s brother Charley, who just happens to be Johnny Friendly’s lawyer.
Terry is considered by Friendly as being somewhat simpleminded and now tends pigeons and runs errands for the boss of the docks. One of those errands was to lure a popular dockworker into an ambush where the dockworker is murdered to prevent him from testifying before the Crime Commission.
Although he regrets his participation in the killing, Terry also chooses to remain quiet until he meets the victim’s sister Edie. Terry is immediately attracted to Edie and learns that she and Father Barry are trying to do something about the conditions on the waterfront.
Another worker steps forward against the union and mob boss agreeing to testify with the full support of Father Barry. He too winds up dead.
Terry’s conscience begins to torment him and he is starting to consider testifying himself. This possibility is perceived by Friendly and he orders Terry’s brother Charley to silence Terry, or Terry’s will be the next body to be found on the waterfront.
NOTABLE: On The Waterfront won an amazing eight Academy Awards that include Best Picture, Best Director (Elia Kazan), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brando), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Eva Marie Saint), Best Writing, Story and Screenplay, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White, Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, and Best Film Editing. Additional nominations included Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Lee J. Cobb), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Rod Steiger), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Karl Malden), and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.
In 1989, On The Waterfront was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
This motion picture was based on a series of articles in the New York Sun that received the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting.
In one scene Marlon Brando watches a ship on the Hudson River. The ship was the Italian oceanliner The Andrea Doria which would sink after a collision in the Atlantic Ocean in 1956.
The role of Terry Malloy was originally written for actor John Garfield who died before the picture could be made. Frank Sinatra was also considered for the role.
Three of Johnny Friendly’s thugs were played by Tony Galento, Abe Simon, and Tami Mauriello. All three were once professional fighters and all fought Joe Louis.
Actress Grace Kelly was offered, and turned down, the role of Edie Doyle choosing instead to star in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.
On The Waterfront is ranked as #8 on the American Film Institutes’s list of 100 Years…100 Movies.
Marlon Brando’s work as Terry Malloy is ranked #2 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.
The American Film Institute ranks this film as the 19th Greatest Movie of All Time.
Personal Note: This is a tough, reality based look at mob corruption on the New York waterfront. A true motion picture classic with outstanding performances that will forever be considered one of the greatest films ever.