->''"You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charley."''
-->-- '''Terry Malloy'''
A 1954 film directed by Creator/EliaKazan, written by Budd Schulberg and starring Creator/MarlonBrando in his first AcademyAward winning-role, ''On the Waterfront'' was also the Oscar winner for Best Picture.
In the film, Brando plays Terry Malloy, a former prizefighter now employed as a dockworker for the corrupt Union-boss, Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb). One day, Malloy inadvertently participates in the murder of a dockworker that had planned to expose Mr. Friendly's illegal activities. As he comforts the dead man's sister, Edie (Eva Marie Saint), and meets a kindly priest (Karl Malden), Terry is urged to help expose Friendly's crimes before someone else dies. How long can Terry go on before he finally has to act against the corrupt men who own the docks?
!!This film provides examples of:
* AloofBigBrother: Charley.
* BadassPreacher: Father Barry. This guy punches Marlon Brando halfway across a room and at the outset of the film is the only character willing to stand up to Friendly.
* BigBad: Mr Friendly.
* DirtyCoward: [[spoiler: The only reason Terry lost the fight, was because Friendly called his guards to help him pry Terry off.]]
* FallenOnHardTimesJob: The very problem that inspires Terry to say...
* ICouldaBeenAContender: TropeNamer.
* InspiredBy: The source of this film was a 1949 Pulitzer-winning series of articles about corruption on the waterfront.
* GoodShepherd: Father Barry.
* GuiltRiddenAccomplice: Terry is duped into luring Joey Doyle to his death; he spends the rest of the film trying to make amends.
* HiddenDepths: Terry.
* IfYouKillHimYouWillBeJustLikeHim : Terry [[spoiler: is talked out of killing Friendly by Father Barry, who urges him to testify against him instead.]]
* OhCrap: Kayo Dugan, right before [[spoiler: he is crushed by a falling load of cargo.]]
* PetTheDog: Terry's love of pigeons should be one of your first hints that he's a good guy.
* RedOniBlueOni: Terry and Father Barry respectively.
* StuffedInTheFridge: Towards the climax of the film, the corpse of [[spoiler: Terry's brother Charlie]] is found strung up on a wall.
* TakeThat: Elia Kazan, infamous for the rest of his life for naming names on the HUAC committee, made this film to show his critics an informer in a positive-light...which didn't have much of a effect, given that people were still protesting his choice when he won the Honorary Academy Award.
* ThrowingTheFight: Kid, this ain't your night. We're going for the price on Wilson.
* TroubledButCute: Terry.
* VillainousBreakdown: [[spoiler: Johnny Friendly at the end.]]