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On The Waterfront

Posted by Bruce Kahl on January 12, 2005

In Reply to: Re: "I coulda been a contender" posted by David FG on January 12, 2005

: : What does the famous quote from On the Waterfront 'I coulda been a contender' mean?

: It means something like 'I could have been a champion (boxer I think, in the context) or at least I could have been in contention for the championship.' I think.

: DFG

Terry (Marlon Brando): Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and you said, "Kid, this ain't your night. We're going for the price on Wilson." You remember that? "This ain't your night"! My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors on the ballpark and what do I get? A one-way ticket to Palooka-ville! You was my brother, Charley, you shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn't have to take them dives for the short-end money.

Charley (Terry's Brother played by Rod Steiger): Oh I had some bets down for you. You saw some money.

Terry: You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charley.