Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) is an ex-boxer who does odd-jobs and runs errands for Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb), the gangster boss of the longshoreman’s union. Friendly and his men decide who will work each day, which means that they get paid off by the men and by the ship-owners who rely on the union to unload their goods.
When a favor for Johnny leads to the death of a dockworker who was testifying in a rackets investigation, Terry begins to question his loyalties. And when he meets the murdered man's sister Edie (Eve Marie Saint) Terry gives into his conscience. He appears before a grand jury on waterfront corruption and testifies against his former friends. But they hit back.
Release date: July 28 ,1954
The film was shot on location in New York City and in New Jersey. Both in the USA.
Director Kazan used the film to justify being an informer before HUAC with Terry Malloy acting as a heroic stand-in for himself. Kazan: “Terry Malloy felt as I did. He felt ashamed and proud of himself at the same time, he felt it was a necessary act”. Source / More (Book)
The movie was turned down by all the major studios in 1953. Producer Sam Spiegel saved the project. He persuaded Marlon Brando (who had cooled to director Kazan as a result of his testimony to House Un-American Activities Committee, HUAC), to work for the director once more.
Grace Kelly turned down the role of Edie Doyle, deciding to make Rear Window (1954) instead.
The film was inspired by “Crime on the Waterfront”, a series of articles in the New York Sun that won, Malcolm Johnson the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Reporting. Source / More (Book)
Rod Steiger complained that director Kazan was favoring Brando. He left the set before Steiger had a chance to do his close-ups and he was left to play to an assistant director. Steiger “It must have just burned him up that we came out even in that scene - Despite what he did.” Source / More (Book)
Director Kazan: “He [Steiger] was right, but in this case it didn’t hurt the scene. I believe what had happened hurt his self-esteem but not his performance. If Steiger has played a scene better than that one, I have yet to see it.” Source / More (Book)
Steiger: “That son of a gun went home.  It was like a wound.  Oh, it’s the lowest” Source / More (Book)
Marlon’s mother Dorothy gave actor Henry Fonda his first job at the stage of the Omaha Community Playhouse in 1923.
April 3, 1924
July 1, 2004
Brando grew up in Illinois (USA), and after being expelled from a military academy, he moved to New York to study at Lee Strasberg's Actors' Studio. At the Actors' Studio, Brando adopted the "method approach," which emphasizes characters' motivations for actions.
He made his Broadway debut in 1944 in I remember mama. In 1947, Brando exploded into stardom with his portrayal of Kowalski in A streetcar named Desire. Three years later Brando reprised his role for the film adaptation of Street- car earning the first of four consecutive Academy Award nominations for Best Actor: Viva Zapata! (1952), Julius Caesar (1953) and On the Waterfront (1954).
During the 1960s his career had more downs than ups, but in the early seventies Marlon made a remarkable comeback with The Godfather and with Last tango in Paris. Since then Brando worked less frequently, appearing both in classics, e.g. Apocalypse Now (1979) and silly ones, e.g. Superman (1978). With his death there was gossip that his life had been reduced to a life of poverty.
1990 Nominated Supporting Role for: A dry white season(1989)
1974 Nominated Leading Role for: Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972)
1973 Won Oscar Leading Role for: The Godfather (1972)
1958 Nominated Leading Role for: Sayonara (1957)
1955 Won Oscar Leading Role for: On the waterfront (1954)
1954 Nominated Leading Role for: Julius Caesar (1953)
1953 Nominated Leading Role for: Viva Zapata! (1952)
1952 Nominated Leading Role for: A streetcar named Desire (1951)
Gary Carey -> Marlon Brando: The Only Contender (1985)
Peter Manso -> Brando: The Biography (1994)
Lawrence Grobel -> Conversations with Brando (1991/1999)