2020 Blind Spot Series: On the Waterfront

What I knew going in: All the Oscars it won and that famous line.

Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) is an ex-fighter working odd jobs on the docks for some shady people. After her brother is murdered, Edie Doyle (Eva Marie Saint) starts asking questions around the docks and catches Terry's eye.

I've heard a lot of people say this is one of Brando's best performances, so that's the main reason I added it to my Blind Spot list. He's great in this (The Godfather is still my #1 of his though) and Eva Marie Saint was as well. They had wonderful chemistry which I sometimes feel is lacking in older dramas that I watch. I found them both compelling and even though parts of the story felt slow, I was always interested in seeing where they went.

This is the second film I've seen from director Elia Kazan, the other being A Streetcar Named Desire, while I think I prefer that to On The Waterfront, I've still been thinking about this film quite a bit, even weeks after I've watched it. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Conscience, that stuff can drive you nuts." - Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando)


  1. I do love this film as it is a true American classic.

  2. It's not that I don't like Marlon Brando, he can at times be very fine but he could be equally self indulgent and hammy which is why I put off watching this fully for decades. Of course I knew the "I coulda been a contender" scene but outside of that and a few snippets which never drew me in I didn't sit down and give it a beginning to end viewing until just a few years ago.

    I was happy to find this was one of those instances where Brando fully committed and was very good indeed. The story was complex and involving but needed to be seen from the start which is why happening upon it in progress had never engaged me before.

    I was also a bit wary of Eva Marie Saint as Edie. It's not that I haven't always liked her and thought she was a very good actress but I knew that the casting decision had come down between she and Elizabeth Montgomery and since I've always been a huge fan of hers I felt she had been robbed. Silly but there you are. Anyway Eva Marie was pitch perfect and while I could still see EM in the part I can't imagine she could have brought any more to it.

    I don't revisit the film but wouldn't rule out a repeat viewing and I was glad to have seen.

    1. Brando's backstage antics sound awful lol. I haven't seen a lot of his films but aside from Island of Doctor Moreau, I haven't ran across too many bad performances of his.

  3. I like this one, and I liked springing it on Sean even better!

  4. I’m glad you like this! Brando is so good and so is the film. I actually prefer this to A Streetcar Named Desire.

    1. He was! Streetcar has the edge to me, but I can understand preferring this.


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