On The Waterfront

Opening shots set the scene for the film.
 Soundtrack – forewarns the audience that
something sinister is about to take place.
 The office of local 374 – compared to the
large ship on the right of the screen – visual
representation that Johnny Friendly’s power
is minute compared to those he serves.
 Members of Johnny’s gang emerge –
expensive looking care
Terry’s lack of power and status is highlighted
The image dissolves into a high angle shot of the high
rise tenement buildings that make up the working
class neighbourhood
Drumbeat escalates – an event looming
We are witness to Terry’s treachery as he lures Joey to
his rooftop.
The camera pans upwards and we are provided with
a low angle shot of two of Jonny’s henchmen on the
roof – emphasising the eminent danger
Joey trusts Terry
Terry lets the bird go as the music reaches a climax.
Joey’s comment of having to watch himself hints at
the fear.
Outside Friendly’s bar – Charley and two other thugs are waiting.
As Terry joins his brothers – there is suspense in the music
Low angle – we hear a scream and watch as a body falls from the roof.
We discover that Joey was going to “sing to the crime commission”.
Terry had no knowledge of the plans on the roof “the worst they were
gonna do was lean on him a little bit.”
Jonny the boss – control.
The joke “Maybe he could sing, but he couldn’t fly’, is juxtaposed with
Terry’s concern and guilt = highlighting his awareness of the immorality.
Thugs push past Terry – emphasising the lack of power
The camera lingers of Terry – showcasing his unease – Charley offering to
buy him a drink.
Mrs Collins “same thing happened to my Andy five years ago.”
Community fear.
Joey “was the only longshoreman that had the guts to talk to the crime
investigators” – motive for murder
Corruption – crime to flourish in the neighbourhood – ineffectual legal
system, isolation – Pop Doyle’s refusal to speak “feel about cops”
Edie’s question “who’d want to kill Joey?” –
determined to find the killer – drives the narrative.
Clear loyalty to her brother – don’t cover his body
with newspaper “Stay away from him”
Father Barry “time and faith” “great heelers” – Edie
wants answers.
Father Barry – comfortable in the church – he is
challenged by Edie “Did you ever hear of a saint
hiding in a church?”
Terry spits on the ground – lack of refinement.
“Keep quiet, you’ll live longer, aligns silence with
Back room of Friendly’s bar – noise and smoke fill the screen.
Johnny bemoans the fact that “there’s nobody tough anymore.” – values physical
strength and toughness. Ironic as he insists on controlling those around him and getting
rid of those who stand up to him.
Johnny refers to Terry warmly “slugger” “kid” – fondness
Johnny’s corruption – loans, sheet metal, demands respect (take the cigar out when he
Trust to Terry – count the money – public demonstration
Jonny goes to Terry’s defence – Big Mac makes fun of him
A previous fight – Terry was tough – reinforces Terry’s position as being values and
unusual. “our boy”
Johnny – manhandling of Terry – physical power
Charley – understands how the world works – prevent Terry from getting into fights
Resilience and determination if you are going to succeed in the world “had to keep his
hand over his throat to stay alive and he still went after them”
Provokes a sense of sympathy – Johnny’s upbringing
Joey Doyle “lousy cheese-eater” “bum” – stark contrast to the description offered by
Terry’s struggle with his conscience momentarily overrides any fear he may have of
Johnny “figured he should have been told” – conscience triumphs over fear.
Johnny – volatile temper – attack on Skins. Skin’s expulsion highlights Johnny’s
ruthlessness – contrast of his generosity towards Terry.
Terry is reluctant to accept money – simple needs, lack of ambition.
Moral dilemma – Charley warns Terry not to forget the “friend” in Johnny. – Charley –
parental role.
Scene ends with ‘pay day’ – reflecting how all of them are part of the corruption.
The horn of a ship sounds – symbolising the waterfront and the impact of the corruption
on those who earn their living in a harsh place.
Tommy finds Terry alone on the rooftop. Terry envies the simple life of the pigeons
“eating, sleeping, flying around like crazy, raising gobs of squabs.” – Simple desires. Terry
has a softness within his rough exterior “catching cold.”
On the pier – siren sounds and Big Mac emerges. The camera moves behind him – we
see the enormous number of men who approach – their pay. Strength and desperation
– Pop Doyle (death of his son).
Brotherhood – willing to help each other despite their own hardships. “Joey’s
windbreaker”, passing on of coat.
Dugan’s remarks about Johnny “great labour leader.” “poorer now than when I started”
People willing to defy social conventions and risk their own safety and security in order
to act in accordance with their own moral code.
Crime commission investigators – resistance.
Terry had promise in the boxing ring.
Terry refuses to meet the investigators’ eyes “I don’t know
nothing” – adherence to the code of “D ‘n’ D.”
JP – Johnny’s banker – forced loans “if we don’t borrow, we
don’t work.” Lack of care and sensitivity.
Edie arrives on the pier – coincides with the blowing of the
whistle. Father Berry’s presence reinforces his genuine desire to
help – Edie’s comments have struck a chord with him.
Medium close-up on Big Mac’s face – eyes roam the crowd –
the power he holds over these men.
The crowd of men turn on Mac – music signals desperation.
Terry and Edie dance. Edie is Joey Doyle’s sister – respect from
“This is my parish, I don’t know how much I can do, but I’;; never
find out unless I come down here and take a good look for
“The waterfront is tougher….like it ain’t
part of America.”
 Fearful of standing up for themselves.
 “Johnny Johnny and his cowboys” –
taken over the union that is meant to
provide protection.
 The basement of the church is offered as
a safe place.
 “Is this all you do, just take it like this.”
Ship’s loft – Terry reading, enjoying the ‘cushy’ job.
Johnny Friendly needs Terry to keep an eye on the
Friendly’s omnipresent (always there) power.
“Stooling is when you rat on your friend.” – Charley
“Break the mob” – Father Barry’s meeting – they
know “who killed Joey Doyle.”
Unchristian to not speak out.
Terry’s presence is not welcomed – Dugan – Terry’s
connection with Johnny.
“On the dock we’ve always been D and D… deaf
and dumb. No mater how much we hate the
torpedoes, we don’t rat.” – barrier. A moral struggle
of “right against… wrong.” Father Barry’s naivety.
Church meeting ends – henchmen attack –
The pace of the music reflects the frantic
fear of the men inside the church and the
aggression of the attackers.
Edie ends up being assisted by Terry – shots
of them managing to get out are intercut
with images of the longshoremen being
Father Barry rescues Dugan “stand up.”
Father Barry – advocate “You stand up and
I’ll stand up with you.”
“Juicehead” who declares Doyle a “saint, the
only one who ever tried to get me
compensation”, revealing the history of
standing up to those in power.
Terry is referred to as a “bum” – how they feel
about him. Terry doubts himself – maybe he
does fit this description.
Edie’s ambition is to be a teacher. She is gentle
and gracious. Terry admires brains. Terry is
“Which side are you with?”
“Me? I’m with me, Terry.”
Doyle’s apartment – Pop has packed Edie’s
belongings – sending her back to Saint
Anne’s. He is concerned about her growing
relationship with Terry and wants to protect
her from the harsh world. Pop is determined
to give her the best life, Edie saves
vulnerable creatures.
 “Edie, for years your mom and me put
quarters in the cookie jar to keep you up
there with the sisters and keep you from
things like I’ve just seen outside the
Edie meets Terry and some of the Golden
Warriors. It is revealed that Terry has been
looking after Joey’s pigeons – guilt?
 He Awkwardly attempts to charm her –
making the egg disappear.
 Invitation for a beer – her first – different
people, different worlds.
 “You know the city is full of hawks? They
hand around on top of big hotels. They spot
a pigeon in the park, right down on them.”
Terry reveals some of his past to Edie over drinks –
they share their philosophies of life.
Edie is an advocate of social responsibility and
looking after others.
Terry’s life has led him to focus on survival.
Terry feels for his prize-fighting career.
Terry is suspicious of Father Barry – everybody has a
He is beginning to reveal signs of paranoia, reflecting
the guilt of Joey’s murder.
Edie pleas “help me if you can for God’s sake.” can’t
break him down.
She believes he would help “if you could” – this pains
Terry – he knows he can.
Edie needs Terry to help her escape again – the wedding.
They dance and nearly kiss – interrupted by one of
Johnny’s men – summoning Terry.
Terry refuses to leave Edie – insisting on walking her home.
Subpoena for Terry – determined to not “to eat cheese.”
His struggle is beginning to show.
Terry tries to convince Edie to place her own safety first –
justice for her brother. She realises who is behind his
“It was Johnny Friendly who had Joey killed, wasn’t it?
“Pop said Johnny Friendly used to own you. Well, I think he
still owns you. No wonder everybody calls you a bum.”
Dark – Friendly’s car screeched up next to
Terry. Revealing he knows that Dugan has
made a statement – testifying against him –
Charley trying to shield his brother – fatherly
Johnny wants Terry to stay away from Edie
unless they are both “tired of living.”
“We got to do something to muzzle this Dugan
or he’ll raise the biggest stink this town’s ever
seen. We got the best muscle on the
waterfront. The time to use it is now.”
High angle shot – Terry unloading boxes –
he is powerless.
 “The good Lord takes care of us all the
 Dugan is killed
Father Barry compares the death of the men willing
to stand up to the mob to crucifixions.
He believes religion is needed on the waterfront the
Terry is transforming – he punches Tuillo to prevent
him from further disrespecting Father Barry.
Edie looks for Terry to give him Joey’s jacket – speak
up against corruption. They embrace.
: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
crusher on a good man, tried to stop him from doing
his duty as a citizen, it’s a crucifixion.”
Terry reveals to Father Barry that he was
the one who “set Joey Doyle up for the
 Father Barry encourages Terry – reveal
the truth to Edie.
 “If I spill, my life ain’t worth a nickel.”
 “And how much is your soul worth if you
Terry confesses to Edie – it is drowned out
by a steam whistle – extreme close-up of
Edie’s pained face which is half hidden
behind her gloves (white) – innocence is
being shattered. She runs away.
Detective Glover makes his way to
Terry’s roof and Terry reveals that he
threw his last fight – unfilled talent.
 Charley defending his brother Johnny
 Charley must assure Terry’s silence or
bring him to be killed.
 “When those guys want to win a bet,
there’s nothing they won’t stop at.”
Charley picks up Terry – they discuss the
Terry is offered a lucrative offer “boss loader”
“have to lift a finger.” If he doesn’t testify.
Moral struggle
Drawing of a pistol – desperation to get Terry to
do what Johnny wants.
Charley experiences guilt – lets Terry go.
“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. It was you Charley.”
Terry breaks into Edie’s apartment to tell her his
There is a voice outside beckoning Terry to see his
Terry and Edie go out into the street.
The music from scene 1 is replayed – signaling that
another crucifixion has taken place.
Terry and Edie run from a speeding truck – glass pane
is broken with hand.
They find a place of shelter.
Edie’s costume has changed – normally conservative
(naivety), in this scene her femininity is accentuated.
Emerging from the shelter – Terry can see
his brother hanging from a hook – his
coat ruined by gunshots and blood.
 Edie begs Terry to think of physical
survival and Terry knows he has to do
 Terry walks off – gun – wants revenge for
this murder.
Terry at a low angle – not seen often – this reveals his lack
of fear – he now feels power.
Terry goes to the bar to find Johnny – Father Barry
convinces him that killing someone isn’t being brave –
instead he needs to tell the truth.
Terry throws the gun at the picture of Johnny and Mr
Upstairs – shattering the glass.
Terry now holds the power to shatter Johnny’s powerful
“You want to hurt Johnny Friendly?....For what he did to
Charley and a dozen other en who are better than
Charley? The don’t fight him like a hoodlum down here in
the jungle. Because that’s just what he wants. He’ll hit
you in the head and plead self-defence. You’ll fight him in
the courtroom tomorrow with the truth.”
Local 374 is on trial – there is background laughter – indicating it
is not going well.
Terry’s testimony is vital.
Big Mac takes the stand – can’t produce financial records “we
was robbed” – mockery of the legal system – they need Terry.
Cameras, flashes, reporters – the public.
Edie, Father Barry, Pop Doyle sit waiting for Terry’s testimony.
Terry’s lack of worldliness – inability to respond to the courtroom
We go from inside the courtroom to Mr Upstairs private residence
– watching the proceedings on TV.
Terry’s testimony will impact Johnny – Mr Upstairs rejects Johnny.
“You’ve begun to make it possible for honest men to work the
docks with job security and peace of mind.”
Rooftop – Terry wishes to escape from his confusing
Terry encounters Tommy who throws a dead pigeon
at Terry (his old hero). He has killed many to get at
Edie fears for Terry’s life when he decides to go down
to the shape-up “and get my rights.”
Johnny’s growing anxiety.
“Everybody works” at the pier except Terry – he is
rejected for his treachery.
“A pigeon for a pigeon.” - Traitor
“They always said I was a bum. Well I ain’t a bum,
Terry is frustrated by his treatment.
 Terry approaches the local office – calls
for Johnny to come out.
 They exchange words in front of
 Terry is satisfied with his decision.
 “You ratted on us, Terry.”
 “From where you stand, maybe. But I’m
standing here now!”
Resorting to physical violence – still in him.
A fight between Terry and Johnny – choreographed.
Johnny’s thugs join in – unable to maintain power without
Father Barry and Edie arrive – Terry is lying on the river’s
Big Mac’s whistle no longer holds the power it once had
over then men.
Johnny has lost his power – pushed in the river by Pop.
“You want him? You can have him! The little rat’s yours.”
“How bout Terry.”
“He don’t work, we don’t work.”
Terry walks unaided to the end of the
pier – solidarity (unity).
 He is in pain – camera switches between
front on shots of Terry and point-of view
shots – disorientated.
 Johnny “I’ll be back.”
 “If Terry walks in, we walk in with him.”
 “You lost the battle, but you have a
chance to win the war.”
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