The 1954 film, On the Waterfront, is one of the best motion pictures of all time and won an Academy award for Best Picture. The drama weaves a story of corruption and violence that takes place among various dock workers. The film was directed by Elia Kazan and was written by Bud Schulberg.
Marlon Brando stars in the movie and plays his part brilliantly. He did not win an Oscar nomination, but his portrayal of the beaten down and beaten up boxer, Terry Malloy is classic. The scene where Brando utters, “I coulda been a contenda,’ sums up the struggles of his character who has searched his entire life to be somebody.
Instead, Malloy ends up running errands for his crooked boss and being a witness to a murder. Malloy has to decide what he should do, tell the police what he saw or stay loyal to his greedy and corrupt union boss, Johnny Friendly, played by Lee J. Cobb.. Telling the authorities what he saw, puts his brother-s life in jeopardy. Rod Steiger plays Malloy-s brother, Charley Malloy.
The film also stars Eva Marie Saint who plays Brando-s love interest, Edie Doyle, and is the sister of the young man whom Terry saw murdered. Karl Malden rounds off the cast. He plays, Father Barry who gets Brando to listen to his conscious and compels him to tell the truth, which eventually causes the life of his brother and brings down his boss.
On The Waterfront, is a gripping melodrama that will remain one of the best acted and directed films of all time. It was nominated for twelve Oscars and won eight. Leonard Bernstein composed the soundtrack.