Great Characters Wiki
Great Characters Wiki

Michael J. Skelly (better known by his union name Johnny Friendly) is the main antagonist of the 1954 Academy Award winning film, On the Waterfront. He's a union boss of the waterfront who uses the union for his and his thugs' benefit callously exploits his workers.

He is portrayed by Lee J. Cobb, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance.

Why He Rocks

  1. Lee J. Cobb does an wonderful performance as the union gangster leader.
  2. Despite being a gangster, he's stated that he's been a victim of a tough childhood and victim of several gangster fights, showing he has a reason for becoming a mob boss.
  3. One thing that makes him an interesting character is he thinks he's a good guy in the situation. Which ties into his harsh childhood and how he feels like people will pay attention to him in his position.
  4. As a gangster, he's shown to be able to get his priorities straight, as he knows when he's in danger of being reported, and eliminates the person before they can report him and his cronies.
  5. He's also a strong and ruthless leader, as he kicked one of his cronies out of his crew, and killed his right-hand man, who's also Terry's brother, Charley, for failing to convince Terry to stay quiet about the union gang.
    1. Plus left Charley's body hanging on a meat hook where Terry could see it.