Marty (1955)

marty poster 1955 movie best picture ernest borgnine
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 8/10

Great character driven movie

Story is minimal and lends itself to minimal visuals

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Marty

Studio:   Hecht-Lancaster Productions/Steven Productions

Genre(s):  Drama/Romance

Release Date(s):  April 11, 1955 (Premiere)/

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Marty, if one more person calls me ugly, I’m going to get a complex for real…

Marty Piletti (Ernest Borgnine) is a butcher in Bronx.  He lives with his mother (Esther Minciotti) and finds himself wondering if he is passed the point of ever finding a wife.  When a night to the local dancehall ends with him meeting a woman named Clara (Betsy Blair), Marty finds that his future could be changing.  Unfortunately, Marty’s mother is worried about her future if Marty gets married…and Marty finds his friend have their own opinions of Clara that could cost Marty a chance at love.

Directed by Delbert Mann, Marty is a romantic drama.  It was based on a TV movie of the same name which first aired on The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse on May 24, 1953 and starred Rod Steiger.  The low-budget film became a huge moneymaker and actually cost less than its awards campaign.  The film was a critical success and is the only film to win the Palm D’Or and the Academy Award for Best Picture (the Palm D’Or had previously been called the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film when won by The Lost Weekend).  In addition to Best Picture the movie won Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Actor (Ernest Borgnine), Best Writing—Screenplay and had nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Joe Mantell), Best Supporting Actress (Betsy Blair), Best Cinematography—Black-and-White, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration—Black-and-White.  It was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library Congress in 1994.


Marty, I hear that girl you like has syphilis, gonorrhea, and crabs…but if you want to date her, it’s ok, Marty…

Marty is a short simple movie.  At ninety minutes, Marty is the shortest Academy Award winner for Best Picture and rather light on plot.  The film is a quick glimpse at a life and more of a fun little ride than anything else.

The story for Marty is almost non-existent…but that is ok.  Taking place over the course of a night and a day, Marty follows the humdrum life of the main character and his quest for love.  He finds potential love and discovers his loved threatened when he starts to listen to his friends…it’s a common and real theme, and it plays out well in the film.

The movie is primarily an actor driven theme.  Everyone is quite strong in the role but Borgnine steals the show as the lovable Marty.  At the time of the film, he generally played the heavy with villain roles, but here he played the complete opposite and it really worked.  I also really liked the strong (but too short) appearance by the “ugly” girl who wins him played by Betsy Blair.  Marty’s mother and aunt are rather clichés of the Italian mother, but many clichés and stereotypes have basis in fact and these two probably fall into that category.


I’m a butcher…who wants to marry a butcher?

Marty is a simple movie and has a simple look.  It doesn’t need to be flash, primarily appears to be shot on sets, and gets the job done.  The movie is a simple movie and benefits from a simple look…starring simple people.

At 90 minutes, Marty isn’t a commitment and well worth the time invested.  It is a great character movie and focuses on characters that generally aren’t “movie stars”.  Made at a time with a lot of glory and glamour, it is nice to see more ordinary people living ordinary lives…Marty is the every man!


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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