On the Waterfront

Superb performances (none more so than Brando as Terry Malloy, the ex-boxer unwittingly entangled in corrupt union politics), a memorably colourful script by Budd Schulberg, and a sure control of atmosphere make this account of Brando's struggles against gangster Cobb's hold over the New York longshoremen's union powerful stuff. It is undermined, however, by both the religious symbolism (that turns Malloy not into a Judas but a Christ figure) and the embarrassing special pleading on behalf of informers, deriving presumably from the fact that Kazan and Schulberg named names during the McCarthy witch-hunts. Politics apart, though, it's pretty electrifying.

Release details

Duration: 108 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Elia Kazan
Screenwriter: Budd Schulberg
Cast: Rod Steiger
Marlon Brando
Pat Henning
Karl Malden
Leif Erickson
John Heldabrand
Eva Marie Saint
John Hamilton
Martin Balsam
Lee J Cobb
Rudy Bond
James Westerfield
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