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Sunday, July 10, 2011

On The Waterfront (1954)


Director: Elia Kazan
Cast: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb
Genre: Crime

On the Waterfront
Plot: Courage takes shape.

Terry Malloy (Brando) is a carefree dude whose brother Charley works for local crime boss Jhonny Friendly.

Jhonny Friendly has Terry's friend killed in plain view but all witnesses keep mum, as most of them depend on Friendly to get some Longshoremen job in that period of great financial depression. Friendly silences anyone who raises a voice against him – often by killing them. 
The patience of people is slowly running out but they need a courageous man to lead them. Father Barry keeps persuading everyone to take a stand against Friendly, especially Terry.

Initially Terry is unwilling to testify against Friendly but soon falls in love with his dead friend's sister, who along with father Barry plays an important part in his transformation into an honest man.
This relationship threatens Friendly as he fears Terry might testify against him. He asks Charley to straighten out his brother. They have an argument over it. Later (A very powerful and famous scene) in a car Charley tells Terry to give up his relationship, to which he disagrees. 

Here Terry—once a prize fighter—laments to his brother that he could have been a good fighter had Charley and Friendly not fixed his matches to lose for money.
Charley feels some remorse and hands his gun to Terry and leaves. Eventually, Charley is killed and Terry seeks vengeance against Friendly, he is equally supported by other workers and together they break-free of Friendly’s dictatorship.

The plot sounds pretty clich├ęd now but it wasn’t so in 1950s. Anyways it's not just the plot but the marvelous direction by Kazan and overall acting for which the movie is a must watch.

8.2/10

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