On the Waterfront

Movie review by Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
On the Waterfront Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 13+

Raises important issues about the nature of power.

NR 1954 108 minutes

Parents say

age 12+

Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 11 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 12+

On The Waterfront - On Target

Bud Schulberg’s hard-hitting story and screenplay were destined to become an instant hit and in the directorial hands of craftsman, Elia Kazan was turned into a worldwide phenomenon. Schulberg’s writings covered a curious variety of topics from corruption within the fight game ‘The Harder They Fall’ to the plunder of bird plumage in ‘Wind Across the Everglades’ - even taking a serious shot at Media and the promotion of corrupt charlatans as ‘hero’s’ with ‘A face In The Crowd’. In his early war years, Schulberg also gathered evidence for the Nuremberg trials - not one to hold back on the trail of inhuman activities. Adding immeasurably to the power of ‘Waterfront’ were the towering talents of Composer Leonard Bernstein - creating a haunting musical soundscape that gave life to the settings and soul-searching torment of its characters. Performances, guided by Kazan, were career cementing for Brando, Eva Marie Saint (introducing) and Karl Malden, along with a hand-picked cast of powerhouse support players all destined for solid careers. The violence portrayed within this picture was not simply sensationalistic, as it was for many that tried to copy ‘waterfront’ but rather to make a statement against violence, in an effort to bring justice into a corrupt institution. It still packs a wallop today as it did 70yrs ago. Boris Kaufman’s striking B/W cinematography (‘Patterns’ 56) adds considerable visual power. The Columbia DVD features a good image and sound transfer and I see has since been remastered in HD.
age 12+

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Movie Details

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