The winner of the Best Picture Oscar in 1954, On the Waterfront is a crime drama about urban violence and corruption amongst longshoremen in the New York docks. Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) is a former prize fighter turned longshoreman with links to mob connected union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb). After the death of a dock worker in suspicious circumstances, his sister (Eva Marie Saint) begins sniffing around and becomes involved with Terry which causes him to be torn between two worlds and right and wrong.
The film was nominated for an impressive twelve Academy Awards, winning eight including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Brando) and Best Supporting Actress (Saint). With eight wins it joined Gone with the Wind and From here to Eternity as the most highly decorated films in history at that time. The film itself was a fairly low budget expose of the corrupt underworld of the New York docks and bought to light the now common themes of mob racketeering and deaf and dumb police cooperation.