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Quick-Thoughts: On the Waterfront (1954)

Premise of On the Waterfront: A 29-year-old bum who primarily hangs out with kids wants to bang the sister of a friend he accidentally got killed. Hey, I’m just sayin’! 

Awe, yes, the classic bad guy who wants to become the good guy and lead a revolution of low-class citizens against the wicked higher-ups of the town; an allegory famously popularized by the Academy award-winning On the Waterfront. It’s the motion picture that’s been recreated a million times, and to the contemporary, the recycled anecdote never gets old. But where there’s a daddy, there’s a daddy, and On the Waterfront, you will always be, the father. 

Speaking frankly, however, I don’t believe On the Waterfront to be a perfect film. Occasionally the pacing in this iconic movie is actually too fast. Some of the most crucial plot junctures will go by in a jiffy, and it has the movie feeling quite uneven at times with many events patiently developed and some clumsily scuttled.  

But boy, would I be straight-up wrong if I thought that the dialogue wasn’t as sharp as a hook, or the performances weren’t borderline legendary, or even if I found the movie not to be relatively uplifting. Maybe, it hasn’t aged the best because factory lines of others have stripped its formula to a T, but the qualitative hallmarks of its presentation are details that simply never die. 

Verdict: B+

“On the Waterfront” is now available to stream on Vudu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, and Google Play.

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