#123: On The Waterfront (1954)

When and how did I watch this?

June 20th and 21st, 2016, on Amazon Instant Video.

Had I seen this film already?


What did I know about the movie before watching it?

I knew it was a Marlon Brando film, which I suppose is an important attribute.  He’s considered a screen legend.  I don’t recall if this is the first of his on the list, but I’m quite aware this isn’t the last.

What do I know about it now?

It’s about a has-been fighter standing up to the man, even when his history and persona don’t call for it.  This aspect of the film worked; while some of the development was slow, I understood his initial reluctance, and then his desire to confront Friendly in the end.  A few scenes were particularly powerful, especially the car scene before Charley’s gruesome demise, Father Barry’s discourses, and the final scene when the dockworkers stand behind Terry in the end.  The cinematography felt ahead of its time, but occasionally the acting was plastic and the love story was particularly weak.

What are some themes in the film?

Greed, the mob, corruption (personal and police), family, justice

Did this affect me personally?

Yes — the dramatic conclusion, in particular.

Why is this ranked #123?

Marlon Brando is a Rocky before Stallone’s role, and his acting potential at a young age is obvious.  Everyone relates to having the desire to stand up to the corrupt authorities, and it happens in a realistic fashion in this film.

Did my wife watch/like it?

I think she liked it more than I did.

Would I watch it again?

Only for further clarity.  Again, this wasn’t my particular genre.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

It’s considered an important film, so yes.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

I think so. The film garnered several Oscar nominations, features action, peril, romance, and justice — all of the ingredients required to make a legendary film.  The cinematography is remarkable enough.

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