A dockworker and once-promising young boxer stands up against a corrupt union boss with an “iron fist” control over the docks. Based in part on a true story, details a small man’s fight against union-fueled corruption and violence, a prevailing occurrence at the waterfronts of New Jersey during the period.
Marlon Brando delivers a superb performance, supported by the beautiful Eva Marie Saint. A well-paced drama with distinct Film Noir elements. Themes of love, crime, poverty, police corruption and brotherhood.
A great American masterpiece with a heavy historical significance in the early years of the Cold War. Elia Kazan had been a member of the American Communist Party during the 1930’s, but later became a “friendly witness” before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, which monitored for Communist political affiliations which may be harmful to national security in the country. His testimony against eight of his colleagues led to a “blacklisting” of the Hollywood Ten – a group of entertainment professionals which were excluded from the industry due to their leftist political views. The film is considered Kazan’s answer to those who criticized him for his testimony, including noted playwright and former friend Arthur Miller.
Won 8 Oscars out of a total of 12 nominations at the 1954 Academy Awards. Screenplay by Budd Schulberg, based on a 1948 newspaper article by Malcolm Johnson.
Here’s a great review of the film from the Film Noir Foundation: http://www.filmnoirfoundation.org/sentinel-article/On-the-Waterfront.pdf