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On the Waterfront
SUBJECTS — Cinema; U.S./1945 - 1991 & New York;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Redemption; Breaking Out;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Responsibility.
Age: 12+; Not Rated; Drama; 1954; 108 minutes; Color.
On the Waterfront is a classic movie about organized crime's penetration of a longshoreman's union in New York during the 1950s. Several men break the community's code of silence to stand up to the gangsters and expose the murder of a friend. Marlon Brando's portrayal of Terry is considered by actors to be a classic demonstration of "method acting."
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to On the Waterfront will help teachers introduce the problems of corruption in labor unions and the need for courageous individuals to stand up to corrupt union bosses, and, by extension, any criminal enterprise. It will also help introduce the concept of codes of silence and their origins. This film, along with the information and discussion questions in the Learning Guide is an excellent supplement to a class on the history or culture of the U.S. in the 20th century.
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On the Waterfront is a classic of American film.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve lesson plans, we have set out below a paragraph from the Learning Guide to On the Waterfront.
Why did the people shown in this film tolerate the gangsters? Obviously, they felt intimidated. In addition, there were too many workers chasing too few jobs. This problem is especially severe in low skilled occupations. In times of surplus labor, there is always another guy with a strong back who wants the job.
The Learning Guide to the film On the Waterfront contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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