On the Waterfront- How Important If Family Loyalty in the Film

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How important is family loyalty in the film? In his film On the Waterfront, Elia Kazan places great emphasis on the notion of loyalty. Not only does the film portray family allegiance as the blood ties between kin but also depicts the Hoboken community and the longshoremen as a faithful family. Similarly, despite the many vices of Johnny friendly and his goons, even these men display a sense of kinship. From the onset of the film, Kazan underpins the strength of family ties through a close-up of Edie, capturing her raw hurt and anger, as she demands to uncover ‘who killed, [her] brother’ the propelling force behind the plot. Yet despite loyalty being a dominant theme throughout On the waterfront, viewers are also exposed to the dishonest and untrustworthy nature of some characters. The profound sense of loyalty between blood relatives is no doubt signified by the impenetrable relationships between various characters . Although unexpected, the greatest loyalty is displayed by Terry and his older brother Charlie. As the film progresses viewers gradually uncover and understand the complex nature of their relationship. Initially, Charlie is portrayed as the older sibling who protects his ‘kid brother’ from Johnny Friendly. This is clearly observed in the opening bar scene after Joey Doyle’s murder. When Terry shows signs of weakness and hesitation about the nights proceeds in front of Johnny, Charlie artfully places a hand on Terry’s wrist a subtle signal to be quite - a sign he is ‘looking out’ for Terry. Similarly, Terry displays a deep loyalty throughout the entire film, by refusing to ‘rat’ on Johnny despite his guilty conscience simply because he does not want to ‘put the finger on [his] own brother’. Kazan further emphasises the closeness of the brothers through the emotional charged scene in the taxi cab. Inside the cab Terry and Charlie are sitting rather

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