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The Friends of Eddie Coyle
The Friends of Eddie Coyle
Actor: Robert Mitchum
Director: Peter Yates
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2009     1hr 42min

In one of the best performances of his legendary career, Robert Mitchum plays small-time gunrunner Eddie ?Fingers? Coyle in Peter Yates?s adaptation of George V. Higgins?s acclaimed novel, The Friends of Eddie Coyle. World...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Robert Mitchum
Director: Peter Yates
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Criterion
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 05/19/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/1973
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1973
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 42min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 11
Edition: Special Edition
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A Low-Key Classic
Joseph D. Millett | Tennessee, USA | 02/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is not only Mitchum's best performance, but also the best all-around movie he was ever in. Surrounded by some of the best character actors of the time (Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan, Steven Keats), the script is taut and low-key, and remarkably faithful to George Higgin's excellent novel. Is a gem of a movie, worth seeing again and again. Never available on laserdisc, and rumored to get the full Criterion treatment, this has been on my "wish list" for years. It can't be released soon enough!"
Great view of Provincial Boston, before the tech/financial s
M. Jay Sullivan | Cambridge, Ma | 03/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I absolutely adore this film. My theory is that we sometimes feel a special affinity for films for the place and time where we grew up.
I think this is doubly true when we look back to a world we new that no longer exists. For me, who has viewed at least 2500 films in the last 5 years(more than half international) and came of age (21 or so) in the early 70's in the Boston area this is a particularly poignant, and powerful, film. I think for other people in this, at that time, very ethnically (e. g. Irish vs. Italian with Brahma still visibly at the top) racially (the busing crisis and the deplorable situation of Black people that still exists today), and economically segregated, pre-high tech, pre-globalized Boston, this film is very accurate and also reflects the somber economic quagmire of this area in the early 70's. I think only Paul Newman in the Verdict and the documentaries: particularly the Documentary "Salesman" - by the Maysles brother's- and to a lesser extent the great, largely unheralded, work- of Joseph Wiseman (e. g.; "Titticut Follies") come close to giving a unique view of this fascinating city before it started to lose it's provincial authenticity and charm; and the Oscar Winners: Mystic River, which captures some of pre yuppie Charlesown- although the characters are still a little too glamorous (i.e.; Sean Penn- although Tim Robbins is great) really doesn't capture the grit and desperation of that place at that time) although it is still a good story. Except for it's depiction of the somewhat Kafkaesque, and sometimes corrupt Boston Police and government, The Departed could have been shot anywhere. The Boston accents were terrible. Matt Damon played his usual- post "Good Will Hunting-" vacuous pretty boy self, and Jack Nicholson's representation of evil, or perhaps adult naughtiness, (what's new) was entertaining but not least bit Bostonian. Scorsese won an Oscar, not so much because this was his best film, but in true OSCAR style, his time was due: IMHO, Goodfellows, The Taxi Driver, and even Mean Streets were better, but they were too controversial for the "airheaded" superficial, self congratulatory OSCAR clique. DiCaprio was the real diamond in the ruff here and, as usual, he didn't get the credit he deserved. Also, Mark Wahlberg, a local, did a reasonably good job as a
Boston detective, but the power of his and Dicaprio's authentic acting was eclipsed by Martin's quick cutting (ever notice how quick the cutting
has become in many contemporary films compared to great masterpieces of
the past- another sign of the lack of depth in the postmodern aesthetic), and Jack, Matt, and the rest of the bozo's.

Sorry for my digression into the authenticity of Boston film portrayals,
and Back to Eddie Coyle. The post poster boy Robert Mitchum was fabulous
as Eddie Coyle, playing the down and out 2- soon to be 3- time loser, who fatefully decides to play ball with uncle (SAM) in the form of a fairly convincing Richard Jordan who plays an undercover agent a little too charismatically for this very uncharismatic film. Peter Boyle as the bartender/hitman was quite good (not as good as in his portrayal as the
monster in Mel Brook's Young Doctor Frankenstein though). In true racist
Boston style he tries to make the ultimate demise of Coyle look like "The Niggers" in Dorchester did it (shades of the infamous Charles Stuart murder case of the late 80's). This may be Mitchum's last great, albeit unrecognized, performance- he gives a great Boston accent without trying to sound like an upper class Kennedy or Brahman. The landmarks, whether they be the Old Boston Garden, the then new (since much hated) modernist monstrosity called the government center, and particularly the somewhat sparsely populated, compared to today, south shore suburbs or Weymouth Sharon and Quincy, are all very authentic for the pre boom/bust era; and I couldn't believe the light auto traffic compared to the gridlock of the
Boston area roads of today, but I guess this factor is sadly universal
exept perhaps in the emerging Economic powers of the so-called third world. Finally, the three highly stylized bank robbing scenarios were

This noirish story of the trials and tribulations of Eddie Coyle (Mitchum) and the almost too congenial Boston underworld (see Whitey Bulger) has lots of suspense, crime, mystery, and deceit. And it should keep most viewers involved even if they aren't old Bostonians like myself. Each time I watch this I find some more subtle but accurate elements that I missed. Although this is true of most movies with any depth as my film professor so aptfully taught me. It is nice that Amazon offers a download of this film. At last you don't have to get it on the black Market or wait for AMC or TCM to give it a rare cable showing. I do agree that it is a crime it's not out on DVD with another reviewer.

In closing, in this much too overly long explication I highly recommend this film for anyone, and it is essential viewing for anyone with Boston roots stretching back to the 50's of last century. (PS think of Barry Levinson's Baltimore (E.G.;"The Diner") as an analogy of medium sized city urban American authenticity. but even Levinson's films aren't as great an artifact as "The Friend's of Eddie Coyle," but I guess I'm a little prejudiced being brought up in Boston- also Levinson is a little too nostalgic for my taste, while Eddie Coyle is as cold as the barrels
of the stolen guns that Eddie buys in the Barbo's parking lot to bargain
for his freedom that never came.
Mitchum in Massachusetts
Sulla | Plymouth. MA | 11/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of Mitchum's best. An excellent adaptation of Higgins' crime noir novel and if you are a nostalgic Bostonian, watch it to see how the city and its surrounding towns were 35 years ago. Mitchum, by the way, remains the only actor not from the area who pulls of a flawless Boston accent. Jack Nicholson (The Departed) and George Clooney (A Perfect Storm) butchered the accent. But then, Mitchum outshines both of them put together in terms of sheer talent and understated presence."
Mitchum's Finest Performance
Michael B. Druxman | Austin, TX | 05/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Though often dismissed by critics as "walking through" his roles, Robert Mitchum) was perhaps Hollywood's most underrated actor. True, many of his films were not worthy of his talent, but when he did get a good script (e.g. THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, HEAVEN KNOWS MR. ALLISON, CAPE FEAR), his performance was always mesmerizing.

Arguably, Mitchum's finest screen performance can be found in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (1973), now available on DVD from The Criterion Collection.

Directed by Peter Yates, who supplies audio commentary on the disc, the film is set in Boston and casts Mitchum as a small-time felon, a family man facing a 2-5 year sentence on a smuggling conviction. His only hope of avoiding prison is to give an FBI agent (Richard Jordan) information that will help to bring down some bigger bad the men who have been on a bank-robbing spree and killed a teller during their last job.

Mitchum's problem is that, if he "rats" on those guys, his life is not worth a plugged nickel.

Peter Boyle co-stars in the picture, playing Mitchum's "friend," a former felon who is now a bartender and also supplies confidential information to the Feds.

Adapted from the novel by George V. Higgins by Paul Monash, this is a gritty, first-rate crime drama, shot in almost a semi-documentary style. Mitchum's performance, particularly his first scene in which he explains to a young punk gun dealer how he got the nickname, "Fingers," is unforgettable.

The Criterion package contains a booklet of essays on Mitchum and the film.

© Michael B. Druxman"