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5,295 Ratings

On the Waterfront

Directed by Elia Kazan
United States, 1954


When a dockworker is murdered before he can testify against corrupt New Jersey union bosses, a sullied former boxer must take a stand for his beliefs in this Academy Award-winning saga.

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On the Waterfront Directed by Elia Kazan

Awards & Festivals

Venice Film Festival

1954 | 4 wins including: OCIC Award

Academy Awards

1955 | 8 wins including: Best Picture

1955 | 4 nominations including: Best Actor in a Supporting Role

The film’s abiding power has everything to do with Kazan’s ability to temper and heighten a style of realism, in the movie’s visual design and through his unrivaled sensitivity to actors—real actors. On the Waterfront earns its status as a masterwork and a classic by breaking free of strict realism to tell a story that is, finally and enduringly, a poetic fable.
February 19, 2013
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Stripped of that historical context, On the Waterfront remains an incredibly stirring and relevant melodrama. Kazan conjured an illusion of docudrama spontaneity with his on-location shooting that allows him to stage images with psychological symbolism and religious metaphor with relative subtlety.
February 17, 2013
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Though cherished for Marlon Brando’s performance, the film gains much of its power from the understated efforts of Boris Kaufman—the Polish-born cinematographer who began his career with Jean Vigo and later brought a greater naturalism to Hollywood.
March 23, 2012
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