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The marvelous performances of Brando and Steiger (as well as Karl Malden and Lee J. Cobb), Boris Kaufman’s photography, and Leonard Bernstein’s score all justify the film’s fame. But ‘On the waterfront’ is regarded by many as an attempt at justifying the decision on the part of Kazan (and Schulberg) to name names before Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee. In this study, Leo Braudy tells the complicated story of the film’s production. He revisits the facts behind the controversy of Kazan’s testimony, but above all he analyzes the elements that contribute to the film’s enduring appeal; the method-inspired acting, the music and cinematography, the use of authentic locations, and its powerfully symbolic depiction of postwar American values.