The basic plot of On the Waterfront is that it is the story of an ex-prize fighter who has turned into a longshoreman, and it goes on to tell the tale of how he is struggling to stand up to his corrupt union bosses. "Terry Malloy dreams about being a prize fighter, while tending his pigeons and running errands at the docks for Johnny Friendly, the corrupt boss of the dockers union. Terry witnesses a murder by two of Johnny's thugs, and later meets the dead man's sister and feels responsible for his death" (Tinto, 2007). There are many other issues that are included in this film as well, and overall it can be categorized as being in several different film genres, namely that of crime, drama and romance. The film takes place in New York City, and there is a lot of violence throughout the film, although this violence is necessarily in regards to the film's overall plot.
The fact that this film came out in the 1950s has a great deal to do with the way that it was made, the characters that were used, and the way that the film drew out, and one of the most ingenious parts of all about this film is the fact that although it was created over a half a century ago, it is still compared to movies of today of the same genre, and not only that but it is considered as being just as good or even better than most of those of the present day.