Well worth it. The movie spends the time necessary building the details of the story and the characters so that the climactic moments are deep and meaningful.I'm ashamed to admit I have never seen On the Waterfront. I'll be adding it to my queue...
It doesn't hurt that the cast is incredibly strong - yes, Brando, but also, Steiger (never gave a bad performance in his life), Malden (his best role ever?) and Cobb are at the tops of their game.
You also have the young and seraphic Eva Marie Saint trying desperately to wash away all the filth, corruptions, despair and dissolution that seeped into Brando's character from the waterfront. And she looks really good trying.
And it is filmed in glorious Black and White.
Finally, there's some good trad clothes eye candy sprinkled throughout.