The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: After his last crime has him looking at a long prison sentence for repeat offenses, a low level Boston gangster decides to snitch on his friends to avoid jail time. Runtime: 102 mins Release Date: 27 Jun 1973
See The Friends of Eddie Coyle (by kikiloveslegwarmers)
What a great movie! One of the most realistic stories of the small-time criminal. Robert Mitchuim gives an outstanding performance as Eddie Coyle, a small-time Irish gangster who works both sides of the fence. Richard Jordan in a fine supporting role as a hard-nosed detective out to burst a gang of well-trained bank robbers. Alex Rocco as a no-nonsense bank robber, and Peter Boyle as the stoolie/hit-man. The movie however is stolen by the late Steven Keats. Keats plays a gun runner who sells machine guns out of the trunk of his sport's car. The friends of Eddie Coyle is extremely <more>
well-acted, grittly filmed, and low-key. It has a brutally shocking and surprising ending. An outstanding movie which for some strange reason hasn't found it's way to DVD or video.
I was lucky enough to catch this on video before they pulled in out of release. It was during Mitchum's last hurrah, when he made interesting character studies like "Farewell, My Lovely." This story is a loser's tale, in the same vein as many of Paul Newman's best films, like "The Hustler" and "Nobody's Fool." Some audiences will have a hard time with the nature of the role because they expect a tough guy like Mitchum to kick into gear at any moment, but he never does because it's not that kind of movie. Rumor has it that director Peter Yates <more>
is frequently harassed by friends and collegues who have heard of this gem and tried to get their hands on a copy. Let's hope it comes to DVD soon, so we can all relish one of the great stars in one of his last meaty parts.
Mitchum has never been better. This is an absolute gem of a film, very underrated and very under appreciated. Peter Boyle is also excellent and the direction superb. I think this film captures Boston and the lives of small time mobsters better than any other film.Elmore Leonard called the novel upon which the movie is based the best crime novel ever written. The movie does it justice.
Metabetrayal (by rmax304823)
George V. Higgins' novel flowed along filled with atmosphere, intrigue, and ironic dialogue. Even Normal Mailer praised it, however reluctantly -- "And to think that this came from the fuzz!" Well, practically no movie is as good as the book. How can you squash a book-length story into an hour and a half, unless you're Bondarchuk or Gance or von Stroheim or somebody? You'd need a budget and an ego to match. Actually, this attempt, by Peter Yates, is quite good. It's not an imitation of The Godfather or Bullit or any other movie; it's sui generis, or almost, since <more>
after all we've had a few other gangster/squealer/caper movies before. The location shooting was, I thought, well done. Late fall in New England: chilly mists alternating with pale sunlight on startlingly green fir branches; stretches of tawny dried winter grass fronting on ice blue bays. I suppose it could have been set in Sarasota but if it doesn't matter -- and I think in this case it does, if you intend to establish an Irish-American milieu -- then Boston and environs is as good a place as any. Poor Eddie. Desperate to keep his wife and two kids off welfare and to stay out of the slams, he brings himself finally to blow the whistle on a cocky young gun dealer, hoping that the Feds will put in a good word for him with the DA in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, the Feds, represented by the cynical and smoothly manipulative young Richard Jordan, are as tricky to pin down as eels and they press him for yet more. After a long battle with his conscience the weary Eddie decides to turn over some bank robbers that he knows well and who trust him. But it's too late! Peter Boyle's bartender/snitch has also been working with the Feds and has turned them in first. Boyle manages to shift the blame onto Eddie and manouvers him into a drunken stupor from which Eddie will never have to suffer any hangovers. Eddie is in the peculiar position of actually wanting to snitch on his friends but finding no opportunity to do so and winds up the victim of a kind of metabetrayal. Boyle shows no remorse whatever, and the cops ignore Eddie's demise since he is no longer of any use. Yates is a straightforward and unpretentious director. You might think that after the sensation caused by the car chase in Bullit he would try to outdo himself here, but not so. He wisely left that up to other, more imitative directors. The indoor settings are appropriate: sleazy bowling alleys, sterile and overlighted cafeterias, and the kind of lowlife barroom where it might be fun to sit down on a stool and shoot the breeze with the thug sitting next to you. Of course a great deal of the original dazzling understated dialogue doesn't survive, but some of it does, and it lifts the film out of the realm of those that sound as if they'd been written by a committee of recent English Lit majors. Some of the cutting, though, us unaccountable. When Eddie and the gun dealer are doing business in a supermarket parking lot, the dealer asks him why his wife doesn't do all the shopping. Eddie's reply in the novel concludes, "I didn't understand it when they told me; and you wouldn't understand it if I told you." It doesn't appear on screen, and it helps establish Eddy's sense of resignation, and it's cool, and would only add a few seconds to the picture. The performances are all good, especially Mitchum's. He hit his stride at around this age, beat and tired, as in "Farewell My Lovely." His Boston accent is impeccable and, well, he didn't get it growing up in Bridgeport. His wife is believably middle-aged and a bit dumpy, and the scene in which the two grapple naughtily for a few seconds is endearing. We come to like Eddie, just a good guy trying to keep his nose above water and, alas, as so often, good guys get it in the neck while the evil flourish as the green bay tree.
Mitchum nailed it. His best performance (by jbfinnerty)
I'm 42 and I've lived in Boston my whole life. I travel extensively and pay attention to the way people talk. Everywhere. For those of you that are not from here: People from Boston do not talk like the Kennedys. Really. No one except the Kennedys talk like that. OK, William Devane and Martin Sheen do sometimes, but they don't know any better.Here's the point: Mitchum nails it. He doesn't over-do it Cliff Claven and doesn't under do it. Critics claim that Mitchum is good at accents but he really does nail this one - the toughest one: A native Boston accent. That is <more>
indicative of the whole movie. Mitchum nails everything. This is his most believable performance. Listen to him in this movie and you could really imagine him as a resident of Quincy. It fits. The bleak, cold hopelessness of the title character's life is played out to its inevitable conclusion. A real classic "not-trying-to-be-film-noir" example of classic film noir. Signed, The Director's Son Just Kidding - this is awesome! Watch it!
Peter Yates at his low-key best in a New England classic. (by tonypuma)
It is essentially criminal pun intended that this neo-noir classic resides in the grey market, with unofficial copies being the best available way to see this film. It's 1973 and we are exposed to the criminal world in the greater Boston area during a relatively desolate autumn. Coyle, played in grand loser style by Mitchum, is running out of time while looking at an inevitable 3-5 year prison stint for bootlegging liquor an outdated crime if there ever was one . He's an old hood, still wrapped up in doing favors and still in the know, but he's becoming a liability as he <more>
scrambles to avoid doing time. Peter Boyle is an associate of his, who runs a bar while also keeping his hands involved in the seamy side of business. Alex Rocco leads a band of bank robbers linked to Coyle who are making headlines as they take out banks left and right and Richard Jordan is a treasury agent who keeps intense links with underground figures who keep him in the know, including Boyle and Mitchum. Steven Keats plays a hotshot gun-dealer in one of his best-ever roles. Yates makes this an intense film, slowly boiling over but never less than riveting. The locations cannot be overlooked; even if you weren't around in Boston at the time, the vibe is irrepressible. The dour, gray working class environs that the characters operate within still exist in Boston. The film has so many well-placed and subtle Boston area locations that one might easily consider the film not being as effective elsewhere. For Boston natives and residents, there is everything from a gun deal on Memorial Drive, to location shots at the Dorchester and Alewife bowling alleys, to repeated shots of Government Center, the Sharon train station, several old bars believed to be in Jamaica Plain or Downtown, Qunicy residences, South Station diner, and much more. For me, there is no greater classic Boston film from the period- the scene where the lead characters watch Bobby Orr and the Bruins play at the original Boston Garden cinches that. Also especially notable is the attention to detail, both regionally and in plot. Although filmed in the early 70s, this film amazingly features NO black characters. This cannot be a coincidence- even though a renaissance of black actors was in effect at the time, the point is made that Boston was is? a hotbed of racial tension, especially in the pre-busing days. Some carefully placed comments elucidate this: KEATS- "I got some guy asking me for machine guns..." MITCHUM- "What color was he?" KEATS- "He's a nice guy.." Mentions of city districts and Coyle's expatriate Irish wife Sheila also add to the realism. Coyle is barely staying afloat in this world where no one is to be trusted. This classic noir motif works very well here, since it's quickly made obvious whose lives matter and whose don't in this almost airtight crime thriller. The Friends Of Eddie Coyle is simply one of the best true-to-life films I've ever seen and a movie so well made it's hard to believe it's such a sleeper. Also note the excellent Dave Gruisin score which is also unreleased. One of the absolute best of the 1970s. Meanwhile in Boston today, bank robberies still occur regularly.Now available from Amazon as a legal download, looks like no one else was eager to touch this classic for DVD release-- that's a real shame. Was also incidentally shown at Cambridge Massachusetts' Brattle Theater late 2007 in a spectacular print.
A bit of a mini masterpiece -- just as long as you know what you are in for. (by Pedro_H)
An ageing small time hood Robert Mitchem - in the title role is looking at jail time and wants to cut a deal with the forces of law and order. However this is just one of the many plates that he wants to keep spinning on their wobbly poles.This is a film that is a bit different. Indeed having seen a million films or it seems like it you expect it go off in a different direction, grab hold of the drama and try and pep it up with cheap thrills. The Friends of Eddie Coyle fights against that - throwing away many of the free gifts that comes its way and focus on how a man can paint himself in <more>
to a corner.This is Mitchem's best ever role. Never having been in classic this is the next best thing. The world weariness helps him for this part - you feel that he really has been in the crime business since it was invented and has really seen it all and done it all as his bar room stories seem to indicate . However for Eddie the party is over. He is like a late Elvis - fat, bloated and living on his old reputation. Hoping that he can play both ends against the middle one last time.The title has an irony. He really has no friends. He knows that too because he is not stupid , although he has to make do with people that pretend to be. It is too late for another life and the bills keep having to be paid and food needs to be kept on the table. He is not a master criminal -- more a brave odd-job man.While this movie hasn't been widely seen it gets of odd plays on UK TV a lot of important people have seen it. You can see the Sopranos in some of the scenes where people view crime as a business with death and prison being occupational hazards.This is quite dark and mean, but you are comforted that the people getting hurt or doing the hurting are more or less the same. People caught in the vortex of earning an easy buck and it is far too late to start changing now. Friends is a tough movie and one of the few films I have seen that while steeped in crooks and crime remains fair and moral for every frame.
A gritty and realistic underworld thriller with bad people doing very bad things! (by MartinHafer)
This is NOT the Robert Mitchum your granny would have watched! Soon after the film began, I was a tad surprised to hear the 56 year-old Mitchum and his cohorts using language that even by 1970s standards was harsh. The F-word and racial epithets might catch the casual viewer by surprise! While this does add to the film's realism, it certainly ISN'T what many will expect from one of his films.Mitchum plays the title character. He's in a bind. He's about to be sent back to jail and he's grasping at straws to escape this fate. At the same time he's supplying guns to hoods <more>
for a robbery, he's also desperate enough to try to work out a deal with feds to finger the person that supplies him with the guns. This double-dealing sure makes the word "friends" in the film's title ironic, huh? As far as the robberies goes, they're a big highlight of the film. The perfection and professionalism of the plans are amazing. Additionally, I noticed that at times I stopped breathing with trepidation. In particular, with the first one, as the bank manager was told to walk away from the car with the robbers--I kept waiting for the worst and was on the edge of my seat.The gun running aspects of the film are also amazingly tense. Watching gun deals go down as well as going down badly once again set my heart to pounding as well.Overall, it's extremely well written, tough and realistic. I'm actually surprised this film isn't more well-known considering it's a high quality film throughout. I like how the film is very tough but also not mired if ultra-violent images like more recent gangster films have been. In other words, it's a nice middle ground between the sanitized gangster films of the 30s and 40s and the so violent that they are repellent films of the 80s and 90s.
If you can't do the time, don't have friends who do the crime. (by urnotdb)
Every now and then HBO feeds the illusion it's worth subscribing to for movies by showing one like this. Classic crime story featuring great performances, esp Mitchum as "working-class" hood whose life intersects with bank robbers, an aggressive cop and his informant. Set around Boston, this would make a good double bill with "Mystic River." The novelist, Higgins, was a Boston attorney, and this film has a realistic look and sound I know Boston, although I know nothing about crime . Some of Higgins' paperbacks featured blurbs by Elmore Leonard, and as one of the <more>
other reviewers pointed out, one of the male characters in this story is named Jackie Brown! According to Higgins, Leonard, Hammett, etc., the most dangerous part of a life of crime is other criminals.