Criterion Year Week 55: On The Waterfront

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

On The Waterfront

Spine Number: 647

Director: Elia Kazan

Genre: Drama


Some movies are iconic without a lot of people even realizing it. "I could have been somebody. I could have been a contender." That is one of those lines that you hear all over the place. It's, arguably, one of the greatest lines in film history, which is it's kind of everywhere. But a lot of people who use it don't even know where it coes from.

Well, it comes from "On The Waterfront."




Released in 1954, "On The Watefront" would go on to win 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director (Elia Kazan's second directing Oscar), Best Actor (Brando's  first), Best Supporting Actress (Eva Maria Saint in her first on screen role),and get three Best Supporting Actor nominations (Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, and Rod Steiger).

It's a movie about working class people struggling with corruption in the only industry many of them know, or have known for several generations. How do you survive in an area that depends on union jobs when the union is unabashedly corrupt? How can you be decent and honest when the institutions that govern every part of your life are fundamentally broken? Sound familar. Yeah, these problems have been around forever.

Brandow is amazing as Terry Malloy, dockworker, former boxer, and right hand man/enforcer to the corrupt union boss. Eva Marie Saint is captivating as Edie Doyle, sister of a murdered dock worker. Malden kills it as the honest priest trying to help the workers. Steiger is perfect as Terry's older brother and bookkeeper for the corrupt union. And Lee J. Cobb steals the show as Michael J. Skelly, aka "Johnny Friendly" the cold hearted and ruthless mob connected union leader.

This movie is fantastic and damned near plays like a beautifully shot documentary. It's a stunning portrait of working class life struggling against unimaginable corruption. 

So, check it out with us. Oh, and we also talk about the election and stuff.



Next week,  

 Spine number 24:High and Low

 Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows! 

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Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

And remember, you can be a part of the show any time you wild like. How's that? All you have to do is call or e-mail us. If you live in the US, or any place that makes calling the US easy, just dial 512-666-RANT and leave us a voicemail. We will read the Google Voice transcript and play your message. It's both funny AND informative.

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E-mail us at and we will read/play whatever you send us, or you can e-mail to be part of  an upcoming "Ask the Film Thugs" show, where we answer questions on any subject without having heard them first.

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Also, be sure to check back often for our new endeavor The Life Masters, where we answer questions to other advice columnists.

Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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