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Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy with Eva Marie Saint as Edie Doyle.

This classic story of Mob informers was based on a number of true stories and filmed on location in and around the docks of New York and New Jersey. Mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) rules the waterfront with an iron fist. The police know that he's been responsible for a number of murders, but witnesses play deaf and dumb ("D&D"). Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) is a dockworker whose brother Charley (Rod Steiger) is Friendly‘s lawyer. Some years earlier, Terry had been a promising boxer until Friendly had Charley instruct Terry to deliberately lose a fight that he could have won, so that Friendly could win money betting on the weaker opponent. As the film begins, Terry sees boss Friendly's men kill another dockworker to keep him from testifying against Friendly before the crime commission, and Terry resents having been tricked into helping to set up the murder. At first Terry is willing to remain D&D. The dead dockworker's lovely sister, Edie (Eva Marie Saint) shames "waterfront priest" Father Barry (Karl Malden) into fighting against the union/mob. Soon both Edie and Father Barry are urging Terry to testify. Then another dockworker does testify, and Friendly arranged for him to have a fatal accident. As Terry increasingly leans toward testifying, Friendly decides that Terry must be killed unless Charley can bribe, or threaten, him to keep quiet. Charley tries, but fails. Terry reminds Charley that if it had not been for the fixing of the fight, "I coulda been a contender". Charley gives Terry a gun and tells him to run. Friendly finds out, and has his goons murder Charley, and try to kill Terry. Terry tries to find, and shoot, Friendly, but Father Barry obstructs that course of action and finally convinces Terry to fight Friendly by testifying. In a final face-to-face confrontation with Friendly, Terry gets beaten up, but the dockworkers fall in behind Terry, sensing that he has defeated Friendly. On the Waterfront has often been seen as an allegory of "naming names" against suspected Communists during the anti-Communist investigations of the 1950s.