On the Waterfront

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Conscience... that stuff can drive you nuts!

On the Waterfront is a 1954 film about an ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman who struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

Directed by Elia Kazan. Written by Budd Schulberg, based on magazine articles by Malcolm Johnson.
When things and people get in your way, you just knock them aside, get rid of them, is that your idea?

Terry Malloy

  • [to Johnny Friendly] You think you're God Almighty, but you know what you are? You're a cheap, lousy, dirty, stinkin' mug! And I'm glad what I done to you, ya hear that? I'm glad what I done!

Edie Doyle

  • But Pop, I've seen things that I know are so wrong. Now how can I go back to school and keep my mind on... on things that are just in books, that-that-that aren't people living?

Father Barry

Boys, this is my church! And if you don't think Christ is down here on the waterfront, you've got another guess coming!
  • [to the dockworkers] Isn't it simple as one, two, three? One, the working conditions are bad. Two, they're bad because the mob does the hiring. And three, the only way we can break the mob is to stop letting them get away with murder.
  • There's one thing we've got in this country and that's ways of fightin' back. Gettin' the facts to the public. Testifyin' for what you know is right against what you know is wrong. Now what's ratting to them is telling the truth for you. Now can't you see that? Can't you see that?
  • Some people think the Crucifixion only took place on Calvary. They better wise up! Taking Joey Doyle's life to stop him from testifying is a crucifixion. And dropping a sling on Kayo Dugan because he was ready to spill his guts tomorrow, that's a crucifixion. And every time the Mob puts the pressure on a good man, tries to stop him from doing his duty as a citizen, it's a crucifixion. And anybody who sits around and lets it happen, keeps silent about something he knows that happened, shares the guilt of it just as much as the Roman soldier who pierced the flesh of our Lord to see if he was dead...Boys, this is my church! And if you don't think Christ is down here on the waterfront, you've got another guess coming!
  • Every morning when the hiring boss blows his whistle, Jesus stands alongside you in the shape-up. He sees why some of you get picked and some of you get passed over. He sees the family men worrying about getting the rent and getting food in the house for the wife and the kids. He sees you selling your souls to the mob for a day's pay...And what does Christ think of the easy-money boys who do none of the work and take all of the gravy? And how does he feel about the fellows who wear hundred-and-fifty dollar suits and diamond rings, on your union dues and your kickback money? And how does He, who spoke up without fear against every evil, feel about your silence? You want to know what's wrong with our waterfront? It's the love of a lousy buck. It's making the love of the lousy buck - the cushy job - more important than the love of man! It's forgettin' that every fellow down here is your brother in Christ! But remember, Christ is always with you - Christ is in the shape up. He's in the hatch. He's in the union hall. He's kneeling right here beside Dugan. And He's saying with all of you, if you do it to the least of mine, you do it to me! And what they did to Joey, and what they did to Dugan, they're doing to you. And you. You. ALL OF YOU. And only you, only you with God's help, have the power to knock 'em out for good.
  • [to Terry] You'd better get rid of that gun, unless you haven't got the guts. And if you don't, you'd better hang on to it!


"Big" Mac: The only arithmetic he ever got was hearing the referee count up to 10.
Terry Malloy: You know you're not too funny today, fat man!

Edie Doyle: Which side are you with?
Terry Malloy: Me? I'm with me, Terry.

Edie Doyle: Shouldn't everybody care about everybody else?
Terry Malloy: Boy, what a fruitcake you are!
Edie Doyle: I mean, isn't everybody a part of everybody else?
Terry Malloy: And you really believe that drool?
Edie Doyle: Yes, I do.
Terry Malloy: You wanna hear my philosophy of life? Do it to him before he does it to you.
Edie Doyle: I never met anyone like you. There's not a spark of sentiment or romance or human kindness in your whole body.
Terry Malloy: What good does it do ya besides get ya in trouble?
Edie Doyle: And when things and people get in your way, you just knock them aside, get rid of them, is that your idea?

Terry Malloy: If I spill, my life ain't worth a nickel.
Father Barry: And how much is your soul worth if you don't?

Charlie Malloy: You're getting on. You're pushing 30, slugger. You know, it's time to think about getting some ambition.
Terry Malloy: I always figured I'd live a little bit longer without it.

Charley Malloy: Look, kid, I - how much you weigh, son? When you weighed one hundred and sixty-eight pounds you were beautiful. You coulda been another Billy Conn, and that skunk we got you for a manager, he brought you along too fast.
Terry Malloy: It wasn't him, Charley; it was you. Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and you said, "Kid, this ain't your night. We're going for the price on Wilson." You remember that? "This ain't your night"! My night? I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors in a ballpark, and what do I get? A one-way ticket to Palooka-ville! You was my brother, Charley; you shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn't have to take them dives for the short-end money.
Charley Malloy: Oh I had some bets down for you. You saw some money.
Terry Malloy: You don't understand, I could have had class. I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody... instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. [Charley takes it in.] It was you, Charley.

Edie Doyle: I want you to stay away from me.
Terry Malloy: Edie, you love me... I want you to say it to me.
Edie Doyle: I didn't say I didn't love you. I said, "Stay away from me."

[after Terry is badly beaten by Johnny Friendly and his goons]
Dock workers: How about Terry? He don't work, we don't work.
Johnny Friendly: Work! He can't even walk!
Longshoreman: If Terry walks in, we walk in with him. [To Father Barry] They're waitin' for him to walk in.
Father Barry: [to Terry] Do you hear that, Terry?...You lost a battle, but you have a chance to win the war....Can you walk?...Just finish what you started. You can!
Terry Malloy: Get me on my feet.
[Father Barry and Edie help Terry stand up]
Father Barry: How're you doing?
Terry Malloy: Am I on my feet?
[Terry staggers through past Friendly; the longshoremen follow]
Johnny Friendly: Where you guys going? Wait a minute! I'll remember this! I'll remember every one of you! I'll be back! Don't you forget that! I'll be back!


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