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On the Waterfront: Less is More

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On the Waterfront: Less is More

A film still from Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront.

A film still from Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront.

A film still from Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront.

A film still from Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront.

Jett Neeley, Entertainment Review

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I may be nearly 65 years late to this review, but I’ll be damned if I don’t make it. It doesn’t really matter how late I am, this review is for people my age, and this is my attempt to get them to watch a black-and-white movie, something I’m sure very few have done.

This movie, despite it being from 1954, it is still very relevant, accessible, and enjoyable.

Less is more. This movie delivers so much more than any other new action thriller, with so much less.

Recently action thrillers have become CGI-fests with fake explosions as far as the eye can see. Mile 22, which came out on August 17 this year, is an excellent example of this. On the surface, yes, you could say there is action. But after that, there is absolutely nothing — no great acting, no interesting writing or characters, and certainly no interesting music. These are all things On the Waterfront has.

Action thrillers have become CGI-fests with fake explosions as far as the eye can see.”

Marlon Brando, who also played the Godfather, gives the performance of a lifetime. His acting in this movie revolutionized the profession by introducing the ideas of naturalness and understatement. His mannerisms bring the character of Terry Malloy to life. By doing such simple things as moving his hands a certain way or the way he positions his body, Brando becomes the character.

Screenwriters Budd Schulberg and Malcolm Johnson combine for one of the best scripts ever made. Deep characters with internal and external conflicts and multiple motivations occur throughout the script. This is most clear in Terry Malloy — a man torn between his allegiance to his family and his conscience.

Leonard Bernstein provides the last piece of the puzzle in this masterpiece with his excellent composition. Bernstein also created the score for the legendary West Side Story. Before he struck gold with West Side Story, however, he struck gold with On the Waterfront. His score enhances every moment like it is a whole other character and adds to the emotion of every scene.

Deep characters with internal and external conflicts and multiple motivations occur throughout the script.”

On the Waterfront is a story about a young man torn between his gang that controls the docks where he lives, and his conscience. His journey to discover what he believes is right and what is his responsibility makes On the Waterfront a classic.

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