On the Waterfront
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This classic story of Mob informers was based on a number of true stories and filmed on location in and around the docks of New York and New Jersey. Mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) rules the waterfront with an iron fist. The police know that he's been responsible for a number of murders, but witnesses play deaf and dumb ("plead D & D"). Washed-up boxer Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) has had an errand-boy job because of the influence of his brother Charley, a crooked union lawyer (Rod Steiger). Witnessing one of Friendly's rub-outs, Terry is willing to… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"On the Waterfront has a script that is a work of love and shows it."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"It's pretty electrifying."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"On the surface it's an extremely well-crafted and entertaining drama, but peel away some layers and you'll discover an apologia for informing."
‑ Tony Sloman, Radio Times
"An astounding drama that's still a contender almost 50 years on."
‑ , Total Film
"A strong morality tale about corruption and redemption, On the Waterfront is a timeless classic that features two masters at the top of their craft."
‑ Matthew Pejkovic, Matt's Movie Reviews
"Under Elia Kazan's direction, Marlon Brando puts on a spectacular show, giving a fascinating, multi-faceted performance as the uneducated dock walloper and former pug, who is basically a softie with a special affection for his rooftop covey of pigeons."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"You miss this, you're buyin' a one-way ticket to Palookaville."
‑ Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A powerful watch, thanks largely to an incredible cast, Leonard Bernstein's strong score, and a handful of iconic scenes, none better than the moving "I coulda been a contender" sequence."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"Allow me to suggest On the Waterfront is one such 'classic' that holds up; a declaration that deserves only one, dismissive response: "No duh.""
‑ Simon Miraudo, Quickflix
"Elia Kazan's seminal American classic."
‑ , Film4
"It's hard to deny that Marlon Brando's performance as a dock worker and ex-fighter who finally decides to rat on his gangster brother (Rod Steiger) is pretty terrific."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Indisputably one of the great American films, its power undiminished."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"a watershed moment in cinema history; it remains one of the greatest films of the 1950s"
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"Raises important issues about the nature of power."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"Marlon Brando is outstanding as a former boxing champ torn between family and duty in the magnificent On the Waterfront"
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
More reviews for On the Waterfront on Rotten Tomatoes

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