Father Barry: A True Catholic Cameo - The Catholic-based 1954 movie, "On the Waterfront" where Father Barry is played by Karl Malden.

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Jason Lago


RST 485

1 May 2007

Father Barry: A True Catholic Cameo

Catholicism is the largest religion in the United States of America and therefore plays a powerfully dramatic role in the culture of this country. In several ways, films have been used to either negatively or positively portray the Catholic viewpoint. Catholic figures, like Father Barry in the 1954 film On the Waterfront, have had an enormous impact on the film industry and the American society because of their brief yet poignant cameo roles. Father Barry, played by Karl Malden, is portrayed as a hero of the working class as he helps Terry Malloy, the protagonist of the film played by Marlon Brando, leave his unlawful and immoral ways and fight for justice. Although initially very passive, Father Barry realizes his potential influence in the lives of the suppressed workers at the dock and progressively becomes a more active, vocal figure.

He leads by stressing nonviolent, peaceful resistance while preaching God's word.

Father Barry is the Catholic priest whose parish primarily consists of longshoremen who work at the docks nearby. However, he knows very little about the corrupt nature of the labor union boss, Johnny Friendly. Terry Malloy, after his boxing career ends, works as Johnny Friendly's accomplice in murderous acts. When the vicious union boss kills Terry's brother, Charlie "The Gent" Malloy, Terry decides he needs to make a change for the better and help the rest of the longshoremen from the repression. Father Barry eventually finds enough strength in his own convictions to stand up and guide Terry and the rest of the union workers.

Father Barry is first seen consoling Eddie Doyle, played by Eva Marie Saint, as she mourned over her brother's dead body. He says a...