Matt J  [very fine in every respect (save for one “s” too many)—clear and direct writing with thoughtful commentary: 3+]


“On the Waterfront” depicts a union suppressed by its leadership.  The leadership controls access to the jobs on the waterfront, and are able to use this power to require additional fees from those who receive the jobs.  The lucrative nature of this setup encourages corruption and misuse of power, the likes of which “On the Waterfront” details very clearly.  [really crisp intro]

From a Marxist perspective, the men of the union appear very much to have been born into the system.  They also appear to have no way of escaping, unless they resort to violence or illegal activity.  In the beginning of the film, Johnny Friendly described how he worked his way up from “in the hole” to union boss.  Based on his character in the film, we can assume he didn’t do so by saying “please.”  However, not everybody can be the boss, and this leaves most union members on the short end of the stick.  Friendly extorts the men, diminishing their meager wages for his opulent consumption.

With Joey’s murder, the wheels begin to come off the cart as more and more men are expropriated. [odd but apt word] Next was the man (K.O. Dougan?) who was crushed by the pallet of whiskey, someone else who was planning to blow the whistle on the leadership’s corruption.  It was incredible to see so many men unwilling to blow the whistle, thereby protecting the corrupt leadership at their own expense.  Had everybody stood up at once in an organized fashion, they would have been able to overthrow Johnny Friendly and his cohorts. That they did not speak[s] to their belief that the system would have just produced another corrupt leader.

Although these tactics were meant to keep the rest of the men in line, they eventually made it worthwhile for them to revolt, the opposite of the intended effect.  This is a clear example of a Marxist class struggle because the less powerful eventually had enough people in their ranks to make revolt a successful proposition.  This film also clearly demonstrated how those in power abuse that power until they have created an opposing force of equal or greater value.

Nicholas C  [really excellent, a most thoughtful and very well written comment; 3++ ]


“On the Waterfront” is not as much an exempli gratia of the negative impact unions can have on labor as it is a study of human corruption within the capitalist system.  [In the film]The organization called the longshoreman’s union in the film is a union in name only.  The organization exploits the longshoremen by controlling the flow of work and extorting funds - union dues - for their misdeeds.  This behavior of the longshoreman’s union is not one that can be universally attributed to labor unions, for the union’s fundamental task is lessening the misery of the unionized workers.  The longshoreman’s union in the film, then, is an example of unscrupulous men taking advantage of desperate workers and protecting themselves by using the tools of the capitalist system.  The “union” threatens the longshoremen into submission by murdering those who do not abide by the union’s rules.  The organization’s working identity as a union gives its leaders some social credibility, allowing them to deny any wrongdoing. The workers are controlled by the threat of being killed, and adopt a policy of “deaf and dumb,” claiming ignorance of the organization’s criminal activities.

This friction creates an interesting dynamic between the faux union and its “members”– the longshoremen – in that the longshoremen choose to abide by the unfair rules of the longshoreman’s union because the cost of dissent – death – is much greater than the cost of work lost, “union dues,” and living in abject misery.  A three tier system appears: within the oppression of the capitalist system, there is another oppressing agent - working under the pressures of capitalism – which increases the misery of the working class.  This added pressure leads the workers to revolt, overthrowing the lesser oppressor and restoring their status in the capitalist system.  This outcome essentially shows how, with the appropriate means and vision, revolution can be brought about by the discontent working class.  However, this success was possible because the workers had the law – a basic component of capitalist society – supporting them; the system wanted the longshoreman’s union removed.  The workers succeed in defeating a microcosmic oppressing agent born from human corruption, but the same outcome is not guaranteed if the working class is to challenge the capitalist system – the social-economic macrocosm of corruption.



Yana N  [ok, but not reference to any of the paradigms, and a couple of small writing issues as noted; 2]


 “On the Waterfront” is a powerful film about love, corruption, violence, and unions.[nice!!] It reveals the pain and struggles workers endured while working for an oppressive, mob operated labor union. The story begins with the murder of Joey Doyle, a waterfront dockworker. Joey was an honest and well-respected young man, who intended to tell the truth about the criminal activities that went on in the union. Even though the dockworkers knew that mobster Johnny Friendly committed the murder, they refused to give any information to the Waterfront Crime Commission. Betraying Johnny Friendly was the same as digging oneself a grave.
     Terry Malone, who was partially responsible to for Joey’s death, found the courage to defy the mob, and gain justice for the Waterfront dockworkers. He began to question his affiliation with Johnny Friendly [after having met Joey’s sister, Ede.  start sentence with this] Although Terry seemed tough on the outside, his guilty [conscious???] took over as he spent more time with her. He realized that his loyalty to the Johnny Friendly was not worth the torment that the dockworkers experienced. When Charley, Terry’s older brother and Johnny Friendly’s crooked lawyer, protected Terry from the mob and got killed instead, Terry took revenge and testified.
     Essentially, the film conveys how fear can overpower one’s own sense of morality. Rather than uniting and justifying the murder of Joey Doyle, the Waterfront dockworkers kept silent. However, the silence only tore them up inside. As violence and corruption escalated, they supported Terry and walked with him to victory.


Isaac S [very fine economic/political analogy and commentary;  writing is equally good: 3+]


 Who can blame the dockworkers?


On The Waterfront is a perfect example of a bad equilibrium.  The longshoremen, individually, have little incentive to be anything other than “D and D.”  Their silence and Johnny Friendly’s control of the docks is because they cannot communicate effectively, cannot organize efficiently, and only look out for their interests as individuals, not as a group. 

            Just as there are public goods, Johnny Friendly is a public bad.  Individuals using a public good face an incentive to overuse public goods, because their marginal benefits exceed their marginal costs.  For a public bad, individual “use” of the resource (speaking out against corruption) is not a rational choice, as the marginal costs (death) outweigh the benefits (public testimony that may damage Johnny Friendly).  For a public good, it is necessary to organize regulations to keep people from following their self interest.  For a public bad, it is necessary to organize to change the incentive structure, and make the marginal benefits (a free labor market on the waterfront) greater than the marginal costs.

            In our lives, the government has filled the role of regulator, because they have the voluntary support of the majority.  In On The Waterfront [comma]the Father fulfilled the same role: he was an organizer because people voluntarily submit to the church, and want their lives to be regulated.  However, it is only through each individual taking action that the problem is dealt with; the priest is an organizer and facilitator, not an agent of direct action.  He encourages Maloy to make his own decisions, and declines to tell him what to do, because ultimately the power is in the congregation.  Our government may at times appear to be the priest, and sometimes Johnny Friendly, but in both cases the people have the power.  They just need to realize it.



Lindsay S  [content is fine, and while writing is ok, I think this is a case where simpler would be better, as suggested; 2+]


The film, “On the Waterfront,” is an intelligent and entertaining drama concerned with the corruption and oppression generated under a labor union controlled by the longshoremen mob of New York. Encompassing a system of conflict described by Marx, the mob-leaders own the access to the means of production [comma]forcing workers to submit to lives compromised of [compromised BY, comprised OF]fear, poverty, and silence. As the film progresses, Terry Mallow, an ex-prize fighter, is depicted as a flawed hero who initiates reform and assists the community in overcoming the depressed lifestyles produced from the mob.

            The film launches [odd word---begins is simpler; you launch a boat, yes?] with the murder of a waterfront worker, setting the stage of events and drama for the remainder of the story. Terry, tormented by his assistance to the murder, is divided [torn??] between abiding to [ obeying…again is simpler]the commands of the mob to act “deaf and dumb” or to unite with the priest’s campaign to challenge the mob and restore order to the waterfront.

            Insight [in] to the workings of Adam Smith’s characterization of a human’s innate instinct, the pursuit of self-interest, is illustrated through the workers. “Everyman for himself,” no man would “rat out” the mob because they valued their lives more than the well-being of the community.  However, flaws in Smith’s neo-classical market perspective are evident as the pursuit of self-interest does not serve the common good in this case scenario. The power imbalance allows the workers to be exploited and their objective, to preserve their life, produces a barrier to the common interest of the community.

            Testifying against the union leaders, Terry morally redeems himself and ultimately [provides precedence in the community---somewhat awkward] to not permit the mob to further depress their lives. In the end, the workers recognize their common interest and symbolically unite against the mob. With the deliverance of strong performances and a well-crafted plot, this film will continue to be a brilliant American drama for many generations. 


Jeff M  [fine in all respects: solid writing with a clear and apt commentary; 3+]


The film “On the Waterfront” was the story of a corrupt local seaport union that did more harm than good.  The leaders of the union ran illegal operations and killed anyone who stood in their way. The filmed showcased a very unique Marxist world filled with conflict, “Money Bags” and a revolution. [nice summary statement]

          A large source of conflict in the film was between the classic workers and owners.  In the film, the workers worked on the docks and the owners were the union leaders, “Money Bags.”  Throughout the film, the leaders of the union force the workers to accept low wages in exchange for hard labor.  This earns the leaders of the union large profits and it exemplifies the Marxist idea of paying the worker less than he produces. 

          Another source of conflict in the film was when the leaders of the union used “divide and conquer” techniques when the Waterfront Crime Commission arrived.  The Waterfront Crime Commission came to the docks to investigate the illegal business practices of the union leaders.   In response, the union leaders assaulted any dockworker cooperating with the investigation.  This led to dividing the workers into what they called canaries, people who talked to the Waterfront Crime Commission and D and D’s (Deaf and Dumb) people who didn’t talk to them. This gave the union leaders the ability to have total control over them.

          The most apparent sign of Marxism was the revolution at the end of the movie.  In the end, a single worker stands up against the union leaders and physically fights the most senior union leader.  The worker eventually was assaulted by all of the union leaders and loses the fight.  However, the other dockworkers watched their fellow worker stand up to the previously untouchable union leaders.  This inspires the rest of the workers to follow in his footsteps and rebel against the union workers by refusing to work.  This revolt was successful and ended the corrupt regime.  Nothing could have been more Marxian, the reserve army consumed by the misery of their jobs revolting against their oppressors.  The expropriators were expropriated.


Tina Q [writing is fine…comment short a discussion of any of the paradigms; 2+]


It is easy to see why the film, “On The Waterfront,” won as many awards as it did.  The acting was superb, and the storyline kept the audience captivated throughout.  From beginning to end, this film kept me wanting more.  Marlon Brando did an excellent job portraying a push over who turned into an icon. [nice] In the beginning, Terry Malloy was favored by the corrupt union leaders,[and] used by them to do their dirty work.  Throughout the story, Malloy slowly realizes the injustice of what is going on, and ends up being the key to turning things around.

            It is easy to see why this movie would make one disapprove completely with the idea of unions.  A union can end up being run by only a small group of people who end up forcing their ways upon everyone in the union.  I found that this film, however, took it to the extreme.  It is hard to believe that today such blatant corruption could be possible in a union.  However, I think that this movie is a great example of how a union can sometimes be more harmful than it is helpful.  It doesn’t seem fair that a small amount [number]of people should be in charge of the fate and choices of an entire group of people, especially if the union is forced to follow their decisions.  I believe that every worker should have the ability to decide for themselves the best way to maximize their utility. 



Colleen B  [very well done in all respects; clear at focused writing, with thoughtful perspective; 3]


“On the Waterfront” is a film that is perhaps best described in Marxist terms. The unusual thing about it though is that “moneybags” in this story is the union leaders, the very people that are meant to empower the workers. Instead, the workers are made submissive and will only be able to improve their position if they are willing to make serious moral sacrifices. This film represents an unusual incidence where the union is a complete failure.
        The film could also be thought of in terms of the Neoclassical perspective. The actions of most people in this film is [are]motivated by self interest. The union workers remain “deaf and dumb” in order to keep their jobs and their lives. The mobsters' actions are motivated by their interest in money and power, but also to an extent, by the need to stay alive.
        Ultimately though, the union men choose to stand up against “moneybags.” They acted against self-interest by risking their lives, especially Terry Malloy. The laborers realized by making a decision collectively to stand up that they could change their situation. The actions of just one person was able to set into motion something greater.
        However, this movie cannot be used in general discussion of unions, because this is only one rare instance of when a union fails. Corruption to this extent is in no way common, and does not represent [all if not the majority (?) of] unions. At best, this story can be used as a cautionary tale, showing people that they have to be careful about who they trust as union leaders, and how a union should not be organized. The corruption in this movie was on an extreme scale, but this does not mean that other unions should not be wary of this pitfall.


Alex Q [very nice and thoughtful commentary; writing if fine save for the items noted; 3-]


"On the Waterfront" can be described as a drama romance that focuses on mob corruption, poverty, and is wrapped around a story about standing up for what you believe in. This film is about the injustices longshoreman endure under the control of racketeering union leadership. This film is magnificent: Marlon Brando does an amazing job portraying his character and his transformation from a bum into a moral, human being is incredible. However, there were some points during the film were the music was completely overpowering and, ultimately, anticlimactic.  [in a sense you’re right, but only because the score was so good]

When taking a stance based solely on the role of unions, this film takes a Neo-Classical perspective. This outlook is basically that unions are 'corrupt rip-off institutions' that encourage shirking and monopolistic discrimination in which wages are lower than they should be. [the neoclassical view would be more that all of the workers are in it for self centered reasons…but the corrupt union leader is part of the broader neoclassical perspective] However, [where] the Neo-Classic perspective fails is that these longshoremen do not have any kind of individual labor choices in their lives. They are at the mercy of the dock foreman who decides is someone works that day or not. [see previous comment]

When considering the role of government and other factors, this film seems to lend itself to more of a liberal perspective. The mobster union leaders are probably the clearest version of Marxist "Money Bags" we have seen to date with their shakedowns and exploitation, but Marxist theory does not adequately explain everything. Therefore, the liberal stance is better used in order to understand that the use of government intervention—in this case the, like the Waterfront Crime Commission—is a tool that protects basic humanity. In addition, the most important correlation between "On the Waterfront" and the liberal perspective is that capitalism denies innate social human motives. For example, Brando's character is motivated to name names for the Commission [comma] not our of self-interest, but out of love for Evie, hatred of Johnny Friendly, and the spirituality of Father Barry.


Jessica L  [a couple of minor writing issues as noted, but  otherwise writing is fine with extremely thoughtful commentary; 3]



Greed, corruption, and violence are all prominent themes in the 1954 Academy Award winning film, On the Waterfront. The film is centered on longshoreman and their corrupt union bosses.  Terry, played by Marlon Brando, unknowingly helps in the murder of one of his fellow workers.  He has past ties with union boss, Johnny Friendly, and subdues to mob pressure to keep quiet.
The film critiques unions from a neo-classical standpoint. It shows unions as corrupt and only beneficial to those in charge.  In the film the union bosses use the union worker’s dues for their own, personal expenditures.  They also took a portion of the shipment revenue from the company.  This shows the neo-classical view that unions hurt not only the workers, but the rest of the company as well.
The aesthetics of this film were very interesting. Throughout the film, Marlon Brando was seen behind various barriers.  There were several iron gates, pigeon cages, and fences.  This seemed to symbolize his captivity under the mob.
The historical context of this movie, in my opinion, is more interesting than the actual movie itself.  The film praises and sympathizes with Terry Mallow, who eventually testifies against the mob.  The film’s director, Elia Kazan, was an informant for the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1952.  Kazan gave many names to HUAC of alleged communists in Hollywood.  It seems On the Waterfront was made to defend his actions.
Although I didn’t agree with the message this film was sending, nor did I agree with the personal actions of the director, I enjoyed it.  The score, cinematography, and acting were wonderful.  I just hope people appreciate the movie for it’s cinematic aspects rather than it’s message.

Harry A  [very nice…well written and concise but very well taken commentary; 3+]



"On the Waterfront" was an excellently planned out film. It developed the characters and plot at a pace suitable for a gripping, grand finale. When Terry (Marlon Brando) walked into the new job at the end, free from the oppressive gangster constraint, he opened the floodgates to freedom as the workers all poured in after him. The film acts as a strong counterpoint to the Neoclassical perspective because the driving factor for Terry is not self interest of maximizing a quantifiable utility.
    How can you measure the value of love? Terry was handed the opportunity to do minimum labor and make much more cash guaranteed. As much as it was tempting, a taste was all he got. Maybe if he never met Edie, he might not have had the epiphany that he was being just as bad as the other gangsters. The idea of a moral compass and emotional interest in others is overlooked by the Neoclassical perspective. The gangsters with all the money and control may be looking out for their own interest, but where is the harmony that is supposed to result from everyones interaction. If hate could be measured, it would be very clear that not everyone won in the transactions on the waterfront. There is always a winner and a loser. Johnny Friendly might collect extra money, but multiple men at the docs that could have worked suffer from the lack of pay and lack of job availability as a result. 
    Capitalism breeds bot greed and inequality. This film gives hope to people working in unfair conditions. With motivation, determination, hard work, and the truth, there is no telling what limits or boundaries can be broken.

Alan Y [fine in all respects: solid writing with very thoughtful and insightful discussion;3+]


When gangs take over unions, as in the case of the film [comma]On the Waterfront, the entire dynamic of the union changes. While it might be possible to say that the “unionized” longshoremen enjoy fringe benefits under Johnny Friendly, such as “loft jobs” and protection within the mafia, the options of voice and exit (should they be chatty upon leaving) are potentially life threatening. This model becomes the exact opposite of a union’s original purpose of giving workers a formal channel for expressing grievances and concerns. This situation implies that labor unions with strong, unilateral leadership are a perfect means to quash the social justice of workers while maintaining a facade of fair representation. After all, how do you object to working conditions when you are forced to be deaf and dumb?  [very nice intro]

Where Friendly succeeds in his management of the longshoremen is in union branding and his political economics understanding of competition. Friendly strengthens the union label through violence tactics, creating a circumstance whereby to be in his union is to have work, and to be excluded from his union is to be out of work. Friendly also understands that competition in the labor market is detrimental to workers. Having a large number of workers to choose from makes it easier to exploit, exclude, and dominate. The chosen longshoremen learn to appreciate their jobs because they realize just how expendable they are.

Johnny Friendly’s downfall can be explained through individual workers weighing costs and benefits and coming to the same conclusion; they would be better off without the union. The high costs of membership include relinquishing one’s morality and silencing one’s conscience. There are also irritating occasion[al] dues, such as assuming the role of accessory to murder. These costs come at a high price to the psychological well-being of individuals and are emotionally taxing. To quote the liberal perspective, “where profits are the driving force, a work environment is created that is not suited to human needs and development.” All of this translates into a very Marxist revolt in the closing scene of the film.



Karl S  [very fine in all respects;  solid writing with a very thoughtful commentary; 3+]


In the beginning of On The Waterfront, the workers had no bargaining power at all. They would call themselves 'deaf and dumb,' showing that they feared for their wages as well as their lives. They understood that the mob was in control of their jobs and determined who worked as well as who lived. The mob took a neoclassical approach towards unionization since they believed it was in the best interest of the economy, their behind the scenes pay offs.
        In the end, when the workers were finally together as a collective union, they benefited very much in terms of the 'voice face' of unions. At first only a handful of workers were given tokens and allowed to work. The ending scene showed all the workers marching in to the workplace, thus ending the mob[‘]s discrimination towards certain workers. Hence, in regard to fairness, the power of the mob was restricted and wage/income inequality was reduced.
        Also, with the collective union, the workers were no longer 'deaf and dumb,' they had voice. This voice allowed for them to speak out for their social and political justices finally. They did not just listen and take orders like [as]before. This was shown in the scene where the mob boss was yelling at the workers to go to work after his fight with Terry. The elderly worker stepped up and pushed the mob boss into the harbor while explaining that he was tired of taking orders from him. With this action and voice, the workers are no longer without representation.
        The ending of the film did not leave any clues as to how the workers unity affected productivity, but I would assume that their triumphant march into the workplace led to higher moral on the job. They must have increased productivity, at least on that day, since they were so happy that they finally defeated the oppressive mob. Like Exit Voice Loyalty explains, the workers feeling of voice should lead to more effort on the job, increasing productivity. [nice concluding paragraph]

Andrew D [generally fine in both content and writing, save for items noted: 3-]


"On the Water Front one word]," is a 1954 film about union corruption and mob violence among longshoreman at the New York harbor. Unions are usually developed to ensure equal opportunity and fair wages, however the union depicted in the film uses its authority to make a few selected men wealthy at the expense of other longshoremen.
        Marxist theory entails [implies}that exploitation will be the outcome of free markets and capitalism. Marx refers to the exploitation of an entire segment or class of society by another, and this is seen in a smaller scale at the docks of New York. Wealthy union leaders use their power to increase wages and employment opportunities to a selected group of longshoremen. This group is making more money and receiving more hours at the expense of other men.
        Liberal [neo classical?? theories of economics suggest that without government interference, the result would be a harmonious and more equal society of ever-increasing prosperity. The union in this movie used its power to manipulate the labor at the docks leaving some men without work and pay. Perhaps a more liberal distribution of employment at the harbor would create a more free market for jobs.
        Today [comma] being a longshoreman is a great paying job that many people wish they could have. It takes a long time to get your number called, but union organization has kept wages at the harbor very high and has structured fair employment for many years.
        Usually when employment is unfair and corrupt, the union is a safe-house for an honest working man. Mr. Friendly[comma] motivated by greed [comma] turned the entire union against its own labor force. He used scare tactics like murder to silent his crimes because he was willing to stop at nothing to keep all the money he made. With power comes great responsibility [comma] and money can sometimes blind people.
        This was a great film to watch and taught an important lesson in union structure. When authority is given too much power, greed can overthrow decisions to harm the opportunities of others. I believe unions should delegate [do you mean “determine” or “bargain over”?]wages and employment, but the actual labor force needs to be strongly protected with rights and fair standards.

Katharine R [fine as far as it went, good writing and fine intro as indicated but seems to need another paragraph---i.e., ends in “mid-thought,” or at least it seems so to me: 3--]


 "On the Waterfront" depicts mob violence in the union, and the Marxist paradigm is relevant throughout the film. The expansion of the Industrial Revolution brings,[no comma really needed here] not only a continuation of poverty, but also an increased misery among the working class. "Money bags" represents the mob bosses, and they are trying to capture the surplus value from the working class. The workers were described as deaf and dumb, and they became a product of their working environment. [good!!] Eventually, the working class misery grows to the point where workers recognize their common plight, and they revolt against "money bags".[very nice into al a Marx]

       Terry was pushed into mob life as an orphan, and only decides to "rat" once he falls in love with Edie Doyle. It was ironic that they fell in love, since Terry was an accomplice in her brother's murder. The minister tried to sway the community with his religious beliefs, and persuaded Terry to confess.  The characters played specific gender roles, and Edie Doyle was cast as the stereotypical female. She acted extremely naive, and was studying to become a school teacher. When she returned from school, for her brother's funeral, she seemed oblivious to mob violence in the big city.

Eric O  [content is fine, with a thoughtful take on religion, but for this far into the course, way too many little writing issues; on your remaining responses, you need to write fewer words with fewer such errors; the 614 words here are not necessary to deal usefully with the assignment…half would do; 2]


            Until I watched “On the Water Front”, [I give up] I had never really seen a detailed account, fictional or non fictional, about the organized crime run unions. Until now they have been just a footnote to the many other activates that the mafia undertook. With this new perspective the film showed a very dramatic example of monopoly “faced” unions.

            In the film the union being controlled by Johnny Friendly imposes arbitrary rules on who gets to work on the shipyards. By limiting the amount [number]of workers he creates a hindrance to efficiently, which supports the monopoly face perspective. It seems that by controlling the supply of labor, Friendly is also able to create hardships for those not part of the union. Even those who are members sometimes do not receive work due to Friendly’s unpredictable favor. His control over the means of production and [his] abusing it, create (or worsens) the despair of the common worker. 

Since the union is being exploited to the benefit of this “mob boss”, many of the voice face arguments for the union become irrelevant. The workers have no voice in gaining conditions that are favorable to them, since now one man speaks for everyone. Furthermore [comma]the voice face opinion that unions prevent bosses from abusing power becomes the opposite [comma] since Friendly is in fact that abusive boss.

Johnny Friendly is the exact depiction of Marx’s capitalist. He does not do any actual work, but rather just gains income at the labor of others. He throughout the movie [he] is seen “easing the masses suffering” by giving workers some extra cash, or a chance to work, but nothing that will improve their long-term happiness. He does everything in his power to prevent the revolution that is predicted by Marx. The film does a brilliant job of being able to depict Johnny Friendly as the individual in an society that takes advantage of a great ideal such as a union. His characteristics are the same as that of the old communist leaders of the past.

However [comma]the most unique segment of the film is not its take on unions or Marxist parallels, but rather the role of religion. The entire movie is lined with religious undertones of men doing what is inherently right and wrong. The sense of justice that the movie advocates is one in which takes an equal or even higher role to that of “self interest”. Polayni argued that self-interest maximizing behavior had begun to dominate over other behavioral motives (love, humanitarianism, sense of morality, etc.). This perspective is true throughout the movie when  [as]Marlene Brando is constantly being offered money or job security which all appeals to his self-interest maximizing outlook. However, his own personal sense of ethics makes him realize that there is a deeper role for man on this earth. The Priest plays as the guide for Brando’s character in showing him this morally right path. Polayni argued that people had become part of this new capitalist system [comma]  and that the “greed” that infests it had become the rule of the day on men’s conduct. Religion, and the Priest, in the movie perhaps ( and this is just an interpretation) show  a compassionate, non self-serving method of giving men the courage to fight against a system [that]  has become so corrupt and unnatural. Brando’s character [comma]who is guided by his morality, serves as a prophet- like character that delivers salvation and answers to his fellow oppressed men.  Perhaps this is a bit dramatic, and in the end the film just might be about a man or men being able to rebel against the tyranny that Marx saw suffocating man[‘]s full potential.



Solon S [fine in all respects;  very good writing, with thoughtful and extended  comments---a 9 out of 10, ah, I mean 3+]


On the Waterfront exemplifies the extremes of union power. Corrupt union bosses and shady dealings dominated the port’s politics. Johnny “Friendly,” the union boss, was the perfect example of how a union can go bad. He killed those who spoke against him, and wielded authoritarian power. As the ultimate “Moneybags,” Mr. Friendly dominated all aspects of port activity. He chose which people would work and who would receive the easy jobs. Johnny “Friendly’s” union was the complete opposite of what a union should be. The workers’ voice was not represented during union meetings or job distribution. Management had absolute power, and just as Marx predicts, revolting was the only solution. Terry Malloy and Father Barry led this revolution against the corrupt union.

With the encouragement from Father Barry, Malloy eventually shares his information about Edie’s brother’s murder with the feds. By “snitching,” Malloy is temporarily dubbed an outcast. He chose to not be D&D (Deaf and Dumb), and spoke out against the inadequacies he saw in the port union. He made a stand for what he believed in, and eventually changed how the union was run. He looked Johnny in the eye and said, “You’re a coward, and your reign at the top is over.” The most inspirational moment in the film was when Malloy gets up after getting beat up by Johnny’s thugs, and walks into the warehouse with the support of the entire union. This scene gives you hope that the union can be run for the workers, and not for the benefit of the bosses.

In one of the few positive films we have watched this quarter, On the Waterfront gives a positive [an optimistic---to avoid repetition] outlook for the future. The film shows that with persistence and motivation, good things will happen. The wonderful performances of Marlon Brando and Karl Malden (Father Barry) make you believe in the struggles and issues they encounter. Brando’s heart is torn over telling the truth for his woman and being a good brother by not snitching. Malden wants to see a real change in his people, and believes that he can make a difference in the port’s politics. The believable storyline and competent acting made this commentary on union corruption a joy to watch.


8 out of 10 stars