First off, say what you want in a film review. It’s your opinion. If you thought something wasn’t good, say why you thought it wasn’t good. There are a lot of things that worked in films 50 years ago that would stick out like a sore thumb in a film today, so if you think something’s a bit silly and old-fashioned, don’t be afraid to say so. Here are a couple of points to get you thinking (again, you don’t have to agree with what I say):
ON THE WATERFRONT
DIRECTION: ON THE WATERFRONT
On The Waterfront was directed by Elia Kazan, who also directed A Streetcar Named Desire and East of Eden. Kazan won a Best Director Oscar for On The Waterfront, and it was well deserved. One of his main strengths is that he directed stage plays before moving into films, and so would be considered an "actor's director" - meaning he understood how actors, (particularly the famously intense "method" actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean) operated and was able to draw great performances out of them, like Brando’s performance in Waterfront (see the taxi scene between the two brothers in Waterfront…acting masterclass.)
Actually, Kazan's largely responsible for discovering both Brando and Dean: he brought Brando over from the stage to the screen for Streetcar Named Desire, basically making him a movie star overnight, and James Dean's first big role was in Kazan's adaptation of East of Eden.
THE MARLON BRANDO QUOTE BELOW IS TAKEN FROM WIKIPEDIA's PAGE ON ELIA KAZAN: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elia_Kazan
Marlon Brando, in his autobiography, goes into detail about the influence Kazan had on his acting:
I have worked with many movie directors – some good, some fair, some terrible. Kazan was the best actors' director by far of any I've worked for... the only one who ever really stimulated me, got into a part with me and virtually acted it with me... he chose good actors, encouraged them to improvise, and then improvised on the improvisation... He gave his cast...