A boxing movie that never has a scene in the ring.
A gangster movie without a drive by, and the mob boss doesn't kill off his greatest threat.
An anti-hero that we can really like, despite his deeply cynical viewpoint on life.
A priest that is truly a complex character.
On the Waterfront defies genre and typical movie characterization and yet is deeply satisfying. It treads new ground in the time of the Hays code, and yet it wasn't-- couldn't be, really-- copied by a hundred other films. The closest we come to an imitation of this film is the second season of The Wire.