The film ‘On the waterfront’ is an Elia Kazan film set in the early 1950’s where crime gangs hold the power over the trade at the New York docks. ‘On the Waterfront’ depicts the lives of longshoreman on the docks and one in particular, Terry Malloy, the main protagonist. Terry is a man who cares only about his self just like everybody else, not bright and follows the code “D and D”. Redeeming yourself in this film is about righting your wrongs, to the people you’ve hurt and the people you owe.
The actions that Terry takes in this movie is about redeeming his self, although he loves Edie and his brother and love has a vital role in the film but redemption is a more important factor. Terry’s love for Edie is the spark that makes him realize he needs to redeem his self. Terry is a bum who has no life because his boss Johnny Friendly made him lose his career as a contender. Though Terry doesn’t see himself as a bum, when his lover calls him a bum, he believed that he is one. “Pop said Johnny Friendly used to own you. I think he still owns you.
No wonder everybody calls you a bum”. After this Terry wants to redeem his self, he doesn’t want to be a bum. In the bar scene where Terry points a gun at Johnny friendly he just thought about redeeming his self, he knew he would go to jail for it and that would mean him and Edie would be over, but this scene proves that he cared more about redeeming his self than love for Edie and his brother. Terry and Charley have a distant relationship, they love each other because they are brothers and grew up together, but Charley owes Terry for ruining his life as a contender.
Charley is Johnny Friendly’s “right hand” man which makes the relationship with his brother distant and even more difficult when Terry went against Johnny Friendly. Terry wanted to take down the mob and Johnny Friendly, but the real problem was his brother Charley. Charley is asked to bring Terry in, to question him and keep him quiet and if Terry doesn’t keep agree then he will suffer the ultimate consequence, his life. Charley is in a cab with Terry on the way to the mob, Terry doesn’t know he is going there so decided to ask Charley why he ruined his life, “I could have been somebody. Instead of a bum… which is what I am. Let’s face it.
It was you, Charley”. In this scene although they truly loved each other, Charley see’s and realizes that he needs to redeem his self to Terry and taking him to the mob isn’t going to help, and see’s that his done enough damage, so he redeems his self to Terry and tells him the truth and lets him go. “I’ll tell them…… I couldn’t find you. Ten to one they won’t believe me. Here, you take this. (Gives gun) You’re going to need it”. Charley knows that this is not going to end good for him, and pays with his life. Though they love each other, Charley redeeming his self to Terry was more important than how much they loved each other.
Father Barry is the guy who began all this and helped Terry to change his mind. Edie Doyle convinced Father Barry that he needed to do something about the mob when her brother Joey is murdered for trying to “rat”. “You’re in the church if I need you? Did you ever hear of a saint hiding in a church? I want to know who killed my brother! ” Father Barry needed to redeem his self for the people of Hoboken, so he gathers the longshoreman and other people of the community to the church for meetings, he wants to get someone to testify against the longshoreman. …And anybody who sits around and lets it happen… … keeps silent about something he knows has happened, shares the guilt of it. … just as much as the Roman soldier… who pierced the flesh of Our Lord to see if He was dead. ” Although it wasn’t much of a success, with Kayo Dugan being murdered for working with Father Barry and nobody else daring to testify, Johnny Friendly sent men to the meetings to see what happens there and Terry was one of them.
Terry and Father Barry worked together to testify and bring down the mob and right there wrongs by redeeming themselves. “On the Waterfront” is a film mainly about redemption, though love plays a vital role in the movie, it is like the spark to redemption in this film. Terry, Charley, Father Barry and many others needed to get there redemption. Edie and Terry’s love is very strong and important as it changed Terry and Edie herself, changed Father Barry.