When I worked at a movie theater and then later at a video store I gained a reputation as being the guy to talk to about aspect ratios. I saw it as a personal mission to educate the world – and you have to keep in mind this is before widescreen TVs became the norm – that they were missing half or more of the movie they were watching by blindly picking out “full screen” versions of movies or complaining that the theater screen didn’t look like their TV at home.
So I love this video from Criterion that walks through the history of On the Waterfront and its different aspect ratios. Watch and enjoy. I did.