|On the Waterfront (1954)
Starring: Marlon Brando, Lee J. Cobb, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden
Director: Elia Kazan
This movie has to be considered one of the very best of all time. As long as you ignore the secret agenda director Elia Kazan had to make this masterpiece (it was the defense of his testimony at the House Committee on Unamerican Activities), it's almost impossible to not enjoy this one. The acting is stunning, especially Brando. The story is riveting with plenty of action and various emotional and philosophical struggles. There's a love story, betrayal, mob influenced violence, and the struggle of the working class against a brutally suppressive union. There's a brave and hardworking man who must decide whether it's best to stand up against oppression for himself and his peers, or just comfortably remain a part of the problem. Who could ask for anything more?
Marlon Brando stars as Terry Malloy, a former prizefighter turned dockworker who has fallen in with the wrong crowd. He and his brother reap the benefits of their association with the brutal union bosses running the docks. After unwittingly abetting in the murder of a fellow worker, Terry falls in love with the dead man's sister, who's determined to learn the truth behind her brother's death. Terry wants to just mind his own business and is certainly not willing to rat on his friends, however despicable they may be. Things eventually come to a head, and Terry is faced with a tough, life-altering (or ending) decision. The struggle with this decision is real. The movie makes it clear that there probably is no "right" answer, and either choice will have serious consequences.
Old movies don't come much better than this.