On The Waterfront (1954)

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An ex-prizefighter and errand boy for a corrupt dockyard union unwittingly aids in the murder of a fellow worker, leading to a crisis of conscience that alienates him from his friends and co-workers.

On The Waterfront is one of the great American movies. It’s essentially a fable about having the strength to do what you know to be right and standing up to the violent and corrupt in defence of your fellow man. Marlon Brando puts in a career-defining performance as Terry Molloy, a man who has known nothing but hardship but rediscovers his humanity when faced with the consequences of his actions and the guidance of his new love and a local priest. It has a wealth of classic scenes, including the iconic “I coulda been a contender” scene with his brother featuring another fantastic performance by Rod Steiger, Terry’s confession to Edie and my personal favourite, the electrifying speech given by Karl Malden in the wake of yet another murder.

Beautifully shot, brilliantly played and written with nuance and sophistication including a genuine and important message about the human condition, On The Waterfront is an all time classic and worthy of its reputation as one of the best film ever made.

10/10

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