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After wrapping up our series on the history of allegations of mafia involvement in the International Longshoremen’s Association, we’d be remiss not to discuss likely the single biggest cultural touchstone related to the issue, the film On The Waterfront. Elia Kazan’s 1954 crime drama is considered an all time classic film, buoyed by an iconic performance from Marlon Brando. But the film’s attacks on unions as an institution, and its obsession with individual rather than collective solutions make it hard to really consider it part of the canon of “Labor Cinema.” We discuss the film’s merits, it’s flaws, and how it fits into the history of the ILA .
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