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U.S., 1954
Directed by Elia Kazan
Starring Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger
Screenplay by Budd Schulberg
Cinematography by Boris Kaufman
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Approx. 108 min. DCP.

“I coulda been a contender,” agonizes Marlon Brando’s pigeon-raising ex-pug Terry Malloy, as he gets mixed up in corruption and murder in a Hoboken longshoremen’s union, thanks to brother/mob mouthpiece Rob Steiger, then must face victim’s sister Eva Marie Saint. Winner of 8 Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay (Budd Schulberg) and Cinematography (Boris Kaufman). “In the category of undercover political statement, ON THE WATERFRONT, the work of two friendly witnesses, Elia Kazan and Budd Schulberg, stands on its own.. There are no communists here, but [John] Friendly [Cobb] and the plutocrats who support him are akin to the thug like Reds in many of the era’s reactionary films and to the Mafia-like Klan in STORM WARNING, the era’s other major drama about bearing witness. And the government commission before which Terry confesses would have evoked for contemporary viewers the HUAC hearings about communists in Hollywood. Terry’s decision to become a friendly witness against his union boss is not made lightly: the core of the film, and of Brando’s incandescent performance, is the inner drama that precedes the character’s public testimony.” – Foster Hirsch


“A landmark in any history of New York filmmaking.”
– Richard Koszarski, “Keep ’em in the East”: Kazan, Kubrick, and the Postwar New York Film Renaissance

– J. Hoberman, Village Voice

“One of the best performances ever recorded on celluloid.”
– David Shipman

“If there is a better performance by a man in the history of film in America, I don’t know what it is.”
– Elia Kazan

– Geoff Andrew, Time Out (London)

“Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, and Lee J. Cobb are all as good as they’ve ever been.”
– Jonathan Rosenbaum

Film Forum