“The characters On the Waterfront struggle to understand what true friendship really is” Discuss.
Set in the harsh environment of New York Docklands, “On the Waterfront” presents a picture of the life of longshoremen in the early 1950s, as they struggle to survive and make a living in the corrupt world dominated by the union leader Johnny friendly, who controlled the entire corrupt world. Friendly made all the decisions on the waterfront, as to who works, who pays extra money to secure days work and whose family will have be on minimum food. Workers had no say in his world, which is employment and had little opportunity for improvement of a life outside the docks. The story reflecting the physical moral struggles of several characters immerses the views in a black and white setting that accentuates the corruption and debauchery within the film. Kazan’s classic film although ad mist waterfront corruption in the 1950’s America, can still be seen by the modern audience as a social comment about the exploitation of power and struggle within the characters to understand the importance of a true friendship.
In order for a friendship to be understood, an individual faces decisions of difficult consciences. At the heart of this film lies one man’s choice. Terry Malloy which begins the film as a young man who understands the importance of “standing with the right people so you have a little bit of change jinglin’ in your pocket”. His journey from a character focused on self-preservation, to one who possesses an understanding of some greater moral truth and is determined to finish what he started. Terry understood the importance of loyalty and its clear representation in the tradition of “D ‘n’ D”. Terry, like many of the other longshoremen, stands as an individual in the face of authority, represented by both the Union mob and the Waterfront Crime Commission. Terry knew the level of loyalty towards the mob that was required