On the Waterfront - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

On the Waterfront Reviews

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Sarah Boslaugh
May 13, 2016
[Boris Kaufman's] neo-realistic style is a perfect match for Waterfront's gritty story... and the film was well served by the 36 days the cast and crew spent shooting in and around the Hoboken waterfront.
Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
Michael E. Grost
Classic Film and Television
November 28, 2015
Overrated melodrama about the alleged wonders of informing.
Top Critic
Kate Cameron
New York Daily News
February 22, 2015
Kazan over-emphasized the last sequence in the film, but on the whole, his fine direction shows in the strength and power of the dramatic action on the screen.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Tony Sloman
Radio Times
February 12, 2014
On the surface it's an extremely well-crafted and entertaining drama, but peel away some layers and you'll discover an apologia for informing.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Matt Brunson
Creative Loafing
March 7, 2013
A powerful watch, thanks largely to an incredible cast, Leonard Bernstein's strong score, and a handful of iconic scenes, none better than the moving "I coulda been a contender" sequence.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
James Kendrick
Q Network Film Desk
February 26, 2013
a watershed moment in cinema history; it remains one of the greatest films of the 1950s
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4

Total Film
February 15, 2013
An astounding drama that's still a contender almost 50 years on.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Simon Miraudo
February 12, 2013
Allow me to suggest On the Waterfront is one such 'classic' that holds up; a declaration that deserves only one, dismissive response: "No duh."
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
William Thomas
Empire Magazine
February 23, 2012
Add the acting/writing heroics a restrained score by Leonard Bernstein and a striking, charcoal look by cinematographer Boris Kaufman, and you have an elegiac portrait of labour relations that feels like a kick in the slats.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Nell Minow
Common Sense Media
December 26, 2010
Raises important issues about the nature of power.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Matthew Pejkovic
Matt's Movie Reviews
July 6, 2010
A strong morality tale about corruption and redemption, On the Waterfront is a timeless classic that features two masters at the top of their craft.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic

TIME Magazine
February 18, 2009
On the Waterfront has a script that is a work of love and shows it.
Top Critic
Variety Staff
January 30, 2008
Under Elia Kazan's direction, Marlon Brando puts on a spectacular show, giving a fascinating, multi-faceted performance as the uneducated dock walloper and former pug, who is basically a softie with a special affection for his rooftop covey of pigeons.

November 1, 2007
Elia Kazan's seminal American classic.
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
December 12, 2006
It's hard to deny that Marlon Brando's performance as a dock worker and ex-fighter who finally decides to rat on his gangster brother (Rod Steiger) is pretty terrific.
Wesley Lovell
Cinema Sight
November 8, 2006
Marlon Brando is outstanding as a former boxing champ torn between family and duty in the magnificent On the Waterfront
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Emanuel Levy
July 15, 2006
The film is shot on location in black-and-white, semi-docu style, which suits the realistic subject and commonplace characters, particularly Terry Malloy, the passive dock worker forced to become a crusader-fighter, splendidly played by Brando.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
January 26, 2006
It's pretty electrifying.
Mike Barkacs
July 5, 2005
This movie has to be considered one of the very best of all time.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Luke Y. Thompson
June 27, 2005
Do the politics make it bad? Not at all. It's a fictional story, not a soapbox.
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