History Film / OnTheWaterfront

18th Jan '17 5:57:36 PM CumbersomeTercel
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* AndStarring: Eva Marie Saint gets an "an introducing" credit.
* AnimalMotifs: There are many references to birds that mirror the various human interactions in the plot.
* ArcWords: The word "bum", usually spoken in regards to Terry.
* ArchEnemy: Johnny Friendly to Terry Malloy.


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* CentralTheme: "Conscience, that stuff can drive you nuts".


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* DramaticTimpani: The soundtrack by Music/LeonardBernstein has the quiet title music followed by a pounding fugato for three drummers (though the third is actually on tuned drums rather than timpani).


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* KickTheDog: [[spoiler:Terry's beloved pigeons are killed by the kids]].
* NamesToTrustImmediately: Inverted with the corrupt union boss Johnny Friendly.


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* PlotTriggeringDeath: The story begins with the murder of Joey Doyle.


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* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: After Terry]] squeals on Johnny Friendly, he finds himself alienated from his fellow dockworkers and unable to get work on the dock. He decides to confront Johnny himself on how much of a rotten crook he's been in front of the all the longshoremen.
--> '''Terry''': You want to know something? Take the heater away and you're nothin'.
--> '''Johnny Friendly''': ''(enraged)'' [[SilenceYouFool Go on talkin'. You're talkin' yourself right into the river. Go on, go on]]...
--> '''Terry''': Take the good goods away, and the kickback and the shakedown cabbage away and the pistoleros away and you're a great big hunk of nothing! Your guts is all in your [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney wallet]] and your [[AppealToForce trigger finger]] you know that!
--> '''Johnny Friendly''': ''(enraged)'' [[TheStoolPigeon You ratted on us, Terry]]!
--> '''Terry''': From where you stand, maybe. [[HeelFaceTurn But I'm standing over here now]]. I was rattin' on myself all them years and didn't even know it.
--> '''Johnny Friendly''': Come on!
--> '''Terry''': You give it to Joey, you give it to Doogan, you give it to Charley, [[BadBoss who was one of your own]]! You think [[AGodAmI you're God Almighty]] but you know what you are? You're a cheap, LOUSY, DIRTY, STINKIN', '''MUG'''!
-->'''Terry''': I'm glad what I done today, see? [[IRegretNothing And I'm glad what I done to you, ya hear that? I'm glad what I done]]! [[DirtyCop And I'm going to keep on doing it]]-
--> '''Johnny Friendly''': [[UnstoppableRage Come on. Come on]]! ''(cue NoHoldsBarredBeatdown)''
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Some people (including the people who do the commentary track for the DVD version) are fond of claiming that the film's one weak link is Father Barry. According to the critics, his didactic sermons and high moral tone sometimes stand in contrast with the naturalistic dialogue in the rest of the movie, and Karl Malden occasionally overplays the part by being sanctimonious and one-dimensional. What they seem not to realize is that, according to writer Bud Schulberg, about 80% of Barry's "unrealistic" "Sermon on the Docks" was taken from the speeches of the real-life waterfront priest Fr. John Corridan, S.J. Not only that, but Karl Malden lived with Fr. Corridan for several days before shooting (he purchased Corridan's hat and coat and wore them onscreen), and was specifically asked by Corridan not to play the character as "holier-than-thou", and therefore made deliberate efforts to tone it down.


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* UncommonTime: The score includes a very fast, drum-heavy theme whose bars alternate between alla breve and 3/4.
20th Dec '16 11:47:46 AM Darkmoonfire
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* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Terry Malloy's fight against corruption was in part modeled after whistle-blowing longshoreman Anthony DeVincenzo, who testified before a real-life Waterfront Commission about activities on the Hoboken Docks and suffered a degree of ostracism for his deed. DeVincenzo sued and settled, many years after, with Columbia Pictures over the appropriation of what he considered his story. DeVincenzo claimed to have recounted his story to screenwriter Budd Schulberg during a month-long session of waterfront barroom meetings. Schulberg attended DeVincenzo's waterfront commission testimony every day during the hearing.

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* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Terry Malloy's fight against corruption was in part modeled after whistle-blowing longshoreman Anthony DeVincenzo, [=DeVincenzo=], who testified before a real-life Waterfront Commission about activities on the Hoboken Docks and suffered a degree of ostracism for his deed. DeVincenzo [=DeVincenzo=] sued and settled, many years after, with Columbia Pictures over the appropriation of what he considered his story. DeVincenzo [=DeVincenzo=] claimed to have recounted his story to screenwriter Budd Schulberg during a month-long session of waterfront barroom meetings. Schulberg attended DeVincenzo's [=DeVincenzo=]'s waterfront commission testimony every day during the hearing.
15th Dec '16 5:01:45 PM TheAustinMartin
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* Death by Falling Over
12th Dec '16 1:19:14 PM wittylibrarian
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* BittersweetEnding
* TheDeterminator: Terry, barely alive after a brutal beating by Friendly's goons, wills himself to the front of the worker's line to demand he work that day in spite of Friendly's death threats.


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* HeelRealization: What Terry goes through as he realizes what working for Friendly costs him. His turn also affects his brother Charley who tries to first talk and then threaten Terry not to testify. It takes Terry's "I coulda been a contender" speech to make Charley realize how ''he'' ruined his own brother's life, and he relents. [[spoiler:Friendly kills Charley for it.]]
17th Sep '16 6:18:01 AM CumbersomeTercel
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* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Terry Malloy's fight against corruption was in part modeled after whistle-blowing longshoreman Anthony DeVincenzo, who testified before a real-life Waterfront Commission about activities on the Hoboken Docks and suffered a degree of ostracism for his deed. DeVincenzo sued and settled, many years after, with Columbia Pictures over the appropriation of what he considered his story. DeVincenzo claimed to have recounted his story to screenwriter Budd Schulberg during a month-long session of waterfront barroom meetings. Schulberg attended DeVincenzo's waterfront commission testimony every day during the hearing.
27th Mar '16 1:06:52 PM toongrrl1990
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* SheIsAllGrownUp: Edie, she was said to have had very thick braids, glasses, and braces as a kid and is told "you grew up very nice".
13th Jan '16 2:26:27 AM damus2300
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* HonorBeforeReason: The dock workers are afraid of informing on Johnny Friendly but their children grow up believing ratting someone out is bad period. This leads some of them [[spoiler: to kill Terry's pigeons for deciding to testify even though he really is doing the right thing]].
14th Aug '15 1:23:54 PM BronyoftheOctaves
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* PetTheDog: Terry's love of pigeons should be one of your first hints that he's a good guy.

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* PetTheDog: Terry's love of pigeons should be one of your first hints that he's a good guy. Also helps he talks to a few kids and is kind to them as well. This makes it [[spoiler: ''worse'' when those same kids ''kill his birds'' simply because he testified against Friendly]].
22nd Jul '15 10:51:29 PM undertroper
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A 1954 film directed by Creator/EliaKazan, written by Creator/BuddSchulberg and starring Creator/MarlonBrando in his first UsefulNotes/AcademyAward winning-role, ''On the Waterfront'' was also the Oscar winner for Best Picture.

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A 1954 film directed by Creator/EliaKazan, written by Creator/BuddSchulberg and starring Creator/MarlonBrando in his first UsefulNotes/AcademyAward winning-role, ''On the Waterfront'' was also the Oscar winner for Best Picture.
Picture. It is also notable for being the only film scored by Music/LeonardBernstein that is not a musical.
11th Jun '15 11:18:14 PM redandready45
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* DirtyCoward: The only reason Terry lost the fight with Friendly was because Friendly called his guards to help him pry Terry off. The dockworkers, witnessing this, lose all respect and fear of Terry.

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* DirtyCoward: The only reason Terry lost the fight with Friendly was because Friendly called his guards to help him pry Terry off. The dockworkers, witnessing this, lose all respect and fear of Terry.Friendly.
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