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The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

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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.

Director:

Peter Yates

Writers:

George V. Higgins (based on the novel by), Paul Monash (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Mitchum ... Eddie 'Fingers' Coyle
Peter Boyle ... Dillon
Richard Jordan ... Dave Foley
Steven Keats Steven Keats ... Jackie Brown
Alex Rocco ... Jimmy Scalise
Joe Santos ... Artie Van
Mitchell Ryan ... Waters
Peter MacLean Peter MacLean ... Mr. Partridge
Kevin O'Morrison ... Bank manager #2
Marvin Lichterman Marvin Lichterman ... Vernon
Carolyn Pickman ... Nancy
James Tolkan ... The Man's contact man
Margaret Ladd ... Andrea
Matthew Cowles ... Pete
Helena Carroll Helena Carroll ... Sheila Coyle
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Storyline

Eddie's friends are numerous, but the term "friends" is suspect. As a small time hood, Eddie is about to go back to jail. In order to escape this fate, he deals information on stolen guns to the feds. Simultaneously he is supplying arms to his bank robbing/kidnapping hoodlum chums. But who else is dealing with the feds? Who gets the blame for snitching on the bank robbers? Written by MovieMaster

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's a grubby, violent, dangerous world. But it's the only world they know. And they're the only friends Eddie has.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 June 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Freunde von Eddie Coyle See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Mitchum gained weight for his role as Eddie Coyle. See more »

Goofs

At the hockey game, Eddie and Dillon arrive and sit together. Eddie goes to get beer for them, he is wearing his jacket. When he arrives back at their seats, Eddie's coat is folded and hanging on the rail in front of their seats. See more »

Quotes

Jackie Brown: Life is hard, it is even harder when your stupid.
[John Wayne did not say this]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"If you want a friend get a dog!"
4 September 2006 | by dgrahamwatsonSee all my reviews

The friends of Eddie Coyle is one of the 1970's lost crime/cop movies of it's era which in all fairness deserves better treatment i.e. a nice restoration on DVD done in wide-screen would not go a miss! The biggest draw back of the movie from a box office draw perspective is that lead actor Robert Mitchum's stardom was on the wain by 1973 and his main body of fans would not have liked the character that he played. They would remember him for his roles as a leading ladies man or tough guy roles from his earlier films not an aging crook down on his luck who struggles to support his family. Although a rather sorry character the viewer is not sympathetic to Coyle although he probably doesn't deserve what's coming to him.

Secondly, it's located entirely in the Boston area unlike the more familiar seedy locations of New York, LA or San Francisco that provided many box office hits during the 70's. It moves slowly and does not feature the violence, shoot outs, car chases of the FRENCH CONNECTION, DIRTY HARRY or the later DEATH WISH movies, or a tough talking, wise cracking hero who would save the day by shooting first and asking questions later. Having said all that what makes this a good movie? Well to start with the fact that it's different from the above mentioned movies.

Robert Mitchums sleepy looking demeanor made him very believable as a worn out aging two time loser who can't face the prospect of more jail time was very good in his role. Also in the light of recent revelations about organized crime in the city and law enforcement corruption in the 1970's makes the movie more relevant today. What many people would not know is that the South end of Boston was notorious at this time for organized crime. In addition a large part of the city police dept as well as state law enforcement was riddled with police corruption. To make things even worse the local Boston office of the FBI was allegedly involved, the local media were intimidated and did not report what was going on and the political establishment also turned a blind eye too! This movie portrays this quite well and the fact that the movies conclusion is located at Bostons government center is in itself ironic if not significant.

The Boston underworld in the 1970's was spearheaded by James "whitey" Bulger a notorious convicted felon and local hood, who at some point was involved in all of Bostons seedy shenanigans. Right up until the late 80's Bulger wrecked havoc and even today is still one of the FBI's 10 most wanted. It's worth mentioning that because it provides a decent incite to what went on and thus makes the movie much more believable to those who might not have any knowledge of organized crime in Boston. In fact despite this some now believe that Bulger himself might have been an FBI informer too i.e. playing for both teams while enriching himself!

Yes the movie does move slowly, but it is more than compensated with a pretty reasonable story and a fine list of American character actors who are very believable in their roles. Alex Rocos is good as the lead crook, a baby faced Peter Boyle as an informer and the versatile Richard Jordan playing a bent FBI official top the cast along side Robert Mitchum. There are some great location shots of Boston, it's suburbs and New England in the Autumn. There is also a shot of the old Boston Garden featuring an ice hockey match with the Boston Bruins in their heyday led by the legendary Bobby Orr. For anybody interested to see what Boston looked like in the early 70's with it's greasy spoons and neighbourhood bars check this one out.

Many of the characters here are not likable at all, they are devious, manipulative, self centered and two faced, but I suppose it's true what they say "no honor amongst thieves!" It's not the greatest of films but not all that bad, it's well worth a watch for all of the above!


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