This gem tells a simple story about regular people. A 34-year-old bachelor named Marty Pilletti is hounded by his friends, his family, even the customers in the butcher shop where he works in the Bronx about why he is still single. It won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Picture and the Palme d'Or at Cannes.
It's not that Marty doesn't want to marry. But Marty, who lives with his widowed Italian mother, has had no luck even in dating. In one of the film's first scenes we see Marty, played by actor Ernest Borgnine, calling a young lady he met a month earlier and asking her out. (pictured above) We can tell from the expression on his face that she is turning him down. From that lonely moment in his parents' living room, his pain and his quest are ours. "I've been looking for a girl every Saturday night of my life. " Marty says. He is stocky and plain but we can see he is also a good man, honest and hardworking and loyal.
American playwright Paddy Chayefsky wrote the screenplay, with its believable depiction of mid20th century Italian immigrants and their Americanized children. The dialogue is superb: funny and poignant.
When Marty meets Clara, a plain lonesome high school Chemistry teacher, he brings her to his mother's house. Later, his mother tells him: (on the steps of their parish church)
This film is short: 91 minutes. The plot and setting are simple. But because Marty's quest becomes our own, this movie will find a place in your heart long after the DVD is over.