User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 72 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 67 out of 72
  2. Negative: 1 out of 72
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  1. MartB.
    Jun 18, 2006
    9
    They don't make 'em like this anymore.
  2. Sep 3, 2012
    4
    I know it is a classic, blah, blah...it still was not interesting and boring. Some fine acting and well known lines isn't going to make someone fall in love with the movie.
  3. JonathanF.
    May 10, 2005
    8
    This is a superbly acted movie. Marlon Brando delivers the character of a tough ex-prize fighter, and he does it with beautiful grace. What I liked about this film, is that no one died at the end. Although Brando's character, Terry, walks "with the cross", in a Jesus style, he doesn't die, and become a mortar. And on the other side, the bad guy ,Johnny Friendly, isn't This is a superbly acted movie. Marlon Brando delivers the character of a tough ex-prize fighter, and he does it with beautiful grace. What I liked about this film, is that no one died at the end. Although Brando's character, Terry, walks "with the cross", in a Jesus style, he doesn't die, and become a mortar. And on the other side, the bad guy ,Johnny Friendly, isn't killed for his crimes. He's just pushed away. This movie is a message movie, against organized crime and mobs. How a person should listen to his conscience. However, I think the Christian - "Jesus is with you" monlogue was way over the line. The most remembered scene is in the car, where Terry's brother tries to convince Terry to work for the mob and not testify for the police. The acting there was truly touching. As an animal rights activist, I hope that the scenes with the dead pigeons was made with dummies and not real dead pigeons. 8/10 Expand
  4. Sep 6, 2010
    9
    The InstaFlicka Index 4.67/5 ----- The InstaFlicka Podcast Doing our part to help you by watching the NetFlix Instant Queue until our eyes bleed. http://instaflicka.squarespace.com/
  5. Jun 7, 2013
    7
    Winner of no less than eight Oscars at the 1954 Academy Awards On the Waterfront is quite rightly considered a classic. Based on a series of articles that appeared a New York newspaper at the time it tells the gripping story of union violence and corruption amongst longshoremen on the docks of Hoboken, New Jersey.

    For a film that is now close to sixty years old On the Waterfront has
    Winner of no less than eight Oscars at the 1954 Academy Awards On the Waterfront is quite rightly considered a classic. Based on a series of articles that appeared a New York newspaper at the time it tells the gripping story of union violence and corruption amongst longshoremen on the docks of Hoboken, New Jersey.

    For a film that is now close to sixty years old On the Waterfront has aged remarkably, largely thanks to Brando in what must still be amongst the greatest ever screen performances. There are a few signs of the films era, such as the slightly intrusive music, and as with many early Hollywood movies it is a little slow in places. None of this can detract from the overall quality of the film however and it remains an example of 50's Hollywood cinema at its best.
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  6. Dec 30, 2013
    8
    This Kazan-Brando collaboration (after A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, 1951 9/10) finally granted both an Oscar along with a sweeping 8 wins including BEST PICTURE out of 12 nominations. The prestige of this monochromic magnum opus is merely indisputable so as to my sheer expectation could not be more intrigued.

    It is a forthright story, a bum longshoreman’s awakening to his conscience and
    This Kazan-Brando collaboration (after A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, 1951 9/10) finally granted both an Oscar along with a sweeping 8 wins including BEST PICTURE out of 12 nominations. The prestige of this monochromic magnum opus is merely indisputable so as to my sheer expectation could not be more intrigued.

    It is a forthright story, a bum longshoreman’s awakening to his conscience and takes on a venal union boss and his heavy minions. There are several incentives for his self-morphing into a better person, his love to a girl who in turn elicits his true grit, the demise of his brother (a pretty slow-witted move to put the final nail in the coffin to urge a man at his wits’ end to go to the opposite of the line), and a religious influence from a virtuous priest, whose righteous homily is spirit-lifting but cannot deliver the huddled mass from numb apathy. Against the grain, it is also an indictment of the repressed workers who is suffer from crowd conformity psychology and cowardice, the most abhorrent thing is one of the sidekick child massacres all the pigeons just to demonstrate an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth when Brando finally musters his courage to be a key witness in a murder case against the boss, it feels blatantly inexplicable and rather far-fetched. The same can be referred to the ending, a battered-up Brando (with horrible bloodstain make-up) struggles to stand up and walk towards the gate so rest of the longshoremen can be convinced that they should follow suit and disregard whatever reasons hold them back. It is a too-well calculated victory.

    Bad-mouthing about some uneasiness while watching this picture aside, Brando emanates a tremendous air of competence as the young loafer stranded in the underbelly of the dock, his two-hander with Eva Marie Saint comes well-handled, alternately romantic and endangered, and Saint’s film debut is also a fortuitous triumph for her, a borderline leading part nabbed BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS trophy. Wondrously, the film also holds the record of securing three slots as BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR nominees (but no win), Kazan’s longtime workmate Malden emotes a paragon crime-defender as the priest, J. Cobb is the pure evil as the ringleader while his henchmen are completely imbecile and a young Steiger is the in-between as the ill-fated brother, an ambiguous image betrays great empathy in the illustrious conversing scenes inside the taxi with Brando.

    ON THE WATERFRONT also manifests Kazan’s top-notch deployment of the camera, with DP Boris Kaufman, the close-ups and fixated angle shots run fluently without tampering the rhythm of its grim reality. Leonard Bernstein’s accompanying score adheres firmly to the vascular impulse of the predictable diegesis. Thus, it is a fine piece of filmmaking and reminisces of the Golden Age with a touch of working-class bashing which may leave a small number of its modern audience nonplussed.
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  7. Apr 16, 2013
    9
    Sincerely complex and immaculately-acted characters accentuate the gripping thematic ideas at hand in "On The Waterfront," another stone-solid testament to Elia Kazan's perfect directorial skill.
  8. chw
    Jun 14, 2015
    9
    On the Waterfront is one of Marlon Brando's best movies and makes one of his best performances (the best at the time of the release, since The Godfather came out 18 years after). It is definitely a must-see.
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. 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.
  2. 100
    The acting and the best dialogue passages have an impact that has not dimmed; it is still possible to feel the power of the film and of Brando and Kazan, who changed American movie acting forever.
  3. Reviewed by: A.H. Weiler
    80
    Moviemaking of a rare and high order. (Review of Original Release)