On the Waterfront

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On the Waterfront is a film that is as problematic as it is extraordinary, Director Elia Kazan’s beliefs are demonstrated within his main characters in “on the Waterfront”. Elia Kazan demonstrates his beliefs and situation through his character’s, such as explaining him testifying on his colleagues and such as relating the communist party to the mafia. Kazan throughout the movie tries to demonstrate his theories and philosophies though his main characters of the movie, many like terry, Edie, father Barry and more. The film opens at a point where a handful of longshoremen have decided they can no longer bear being exploited. Frustrated by other men growing rich and fat from his and his father’s hard work, Joey Doyle agrees to testify to the Waterfront Crime Commission about the restrictive and illegal practices taking place on the wharves. When Johnny Friendly and his gang get wind of Joey’s plans to testify, they decide to shut him up. Employing the cold-blooded tactics that have entrenched their power, the union heavies get Terry Malloy to call Joey onto the roof, with the pretext that he has one of his pigeons. Terry, a washed-up boxer whose brother Charley is Friendly’s right-hand man, was a willing participant, believing that all the gang was going to do “was rough him up a bit.” However, after Joey is thrown off the roof to his death, terry seems to feel bad and confused as he has being tricked to do something he did not intended. This relates to Elia Kazan’s situation, as a communist Elia Kazan did not like what he was in and what was happening within the party, therefore seeking for salvation, Elia ends up testifying against his colleagues , just like terry did to the mafia at the end of the film.

The social value of loyalty is embodied in the characters of On the Waterfront. Edie, Charley and Father Barry all display loyalties. The longshoremen, too, are loyal to Friendly’s gang, they “don’t ask any questions”...
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