Movie House Memories

On The Waterfront (1954)

Episode #73

Columbia Pictures released On The Waterfront to theaters on June 22, 1954; grossing $9.6 million in the United States. Elia Kazan directed the film which starred Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, and Lee J Cobb.

On The Waterfront Movie Summary

On The Waterfront is a story of corruption and fear in the New York waterfront district during the mid-20th century. The film follows the story of Terry Malloy, played to Academy Award perfection by Marlon Brando. Terry is a dockworker and former boxer whose older brother Charlie works for mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly. Terry’s years as a boxer are in the past, and now he works for Friendly on the periphery; mainly out of allegiance to his brother.

Friendly rules the waterfront, and the police and Waterfront Crime Commission are powerless to stop him. Most dock workers play deaf and dumb to what is going on. Those unlucky few who dare to open their mouths come to a grisly end. Joey Doyle is one such unfortunate soul. He’s set to testify against Friendly before the Crime Commission. Joey’s friend, Terry, unwittingly lures the stool pigeon into an ambush. The thugs throw him off of the building to his death. This upsets Terry because he believed he was only assisting them in leaning on Joey to silence him; not kill him.

Meeting Joey’s sister, Edie, further exacerbates Terry’s guilt. Angry about her brother’s untimely death, Edie shames the local priest Father Barry into action against the mob-controlled union. Father Barry holds a meeting with some of the dock workers. He hopes they will turn against the union and Friendly. The union boss sends Terry to attend the meeting, and report back to him. However, Friendly’s enforcers break up the meeting, and Terry helps Edie escape the violence. Terry begins to fall for Edie, but does not tell her of his involvement in her brother’s death.

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Columbia Pictures released On The Waterfront to theaters on June 22, 1954; grossing $9.6 million in the United States. Elia Kazan directed the film which starred Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, and Lee J Cobb.

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