On the Waterfront


On the Waterfront is a 1954 American drama film about mob violence and corruption among longshoremen. The film was directed by Elia Kazan and written by Budd Schulberg. It stars Marlon BrandoEva Marie SaintRod SteigerKarl Malden and Lee J. Cobb. The soundtrack score was composed by Leonard Bernstein. It was based on a series of articles written in the New York Sun by Malcolm Johnson.

The film received eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director. It is Leonard Bernstein's only original film score not adapted from a stage production with songs.


Upon its release, the film received rave reviews from critics. On the critics' website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 100% "Certified Fresh" rating, based on 48 reviews. In 1989, this film was deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United StatesNational Film Registry. Film critic Roger Ebert lauded the film, stating that Brando and Kazan changed acting in American movies for ever and then adding it to his "Great Movies" list.New York Times critic A.H. Weiler also hailed the film as a masterpiece, calling it "an uncommon powerful, exciting, and imaginative use of the screen by gifted professionals."

Academy Awards

Wins: It was the winner of eight Oscars:

Award Result Winner
Best Motion Picture Won Columbia Pictures (Sam Spiegel, Producer)
Best Director Won Elia Kazan
Best Actor Won Marlon Brando
Best Story and Screenplay Won Budd Schulberg
Best Supporting Actor Nominated Lee J. Cobb
Winner was Edmond O'Brien - The Barefoot Contessa
Best Supporting Actor Nominated Karl Malden
Winner was Edmond O'Brien - The Barefoot Contessa
Best Supporting Actor Nominated Rod Steiger
Winner was Edmond O'Brien - The Barefoot Contessa
Best Supporting Actress Won Eva Marie Saint
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration Black-and-White Won Richard Day
Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) Won Boris Kaufman
Best Film Editing Won Gene Milford
Best Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture Nominated Leonard Bernstein
Winner was Dimitri Tiomkin - The High and the Mighty


American Film Institute recognition