On The Waterfront. School is good for one thing (and many others), because several of these classics were first introduced to me at some point in those ole school-girl days.
Always take at least one film class in college, is what I always say. I watched this movie in one of my favorites, taught by an incredible, elderly (by that, I mean wise) ex-Shakespearean actor, turned English professor. A whole quarter just sitting, watching, and nerding out on discussing classic movies; it was fabulous! (Except for this one kid with his, "I only watch Ingmar Bergman movies" shtick. I swear I rolled my eyes in his general direction so many times that I'm surprised I still see straight.)
Really, I could be totally lazy on this post and bore ya'll by just copy and pasting a five page paper I wrote about how Elia Kazan used varying camera angles throughout On The Waterfront to intensify the acting. Now that is riveting reading!
Having only just watched The Godfather recently in my post-grad depression/movie devouring phase, I have not been subject to enough Marlon Brando in my life. On The Waterfront makes only two movies that I can even recall seeing him in, but this is the one movie to convert anyone who doesn't believe in Brando. Look at that picture for crying out loud.
The story follows Brando's character Terry, as he spends his days working hard as a longshoreman on the docks and spending his nights turning jobs for the local gangsters. Without a union, the mob runs the docks, and all the workers are subject to mistreatment, even ending in murder.
When Edie's (Eva Marie Saint) brother (one the workers) ends up dead, she tries to dig up all of the corruption. With no one speaking up, Terry is the only one who can help Edie and stand up against all the wrong doings.
Streaming instantly on Netflix as I type this, no one has an excuse to not have seen this movie by now. The riveting story of perseverance is one of the most timeless out of all these Best Picture winners. Everybody loves an underdog, especially when that underdog is Marlon Brando in his glory years.