1954, TSPDT Rank #90
Elia Kazan is primarily remembered as a director of actors, and many of his films, especially this one, helped to establish film acting as a serious art. Don't get me wrong, this is a very cinematic film, never theatrical feeling, and on many levels - cinematography, staging, editing, story - it is top-notch. But it's the brilliant acting (by the likes of Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Eva Marie Saint, and Rod Steiger) that raises this movie up in the ranks of film history and makes it so compelling and worth watching today. Feels very fresh - never dated.
Now I go for the quite necessary and clever closing line: This film undoubtedly was, and is, a contender.