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The Friends of Eddie Coyle

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0



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Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 1,096

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on the best-selling novel by George V. Higgins, The Friends of Eddie Coyle chronicles the last days of a weary Boston-based weapons dealer. Eddie Coyle (Robert Mitchum) doesn't want to serve a life sentence in prison, so he becomes an informant for both the police and the treasury department. Coyle is likewise unwilling to give up his lifestyle, thus he continues his illegal gun-running operation for the underworld. The mob becomes aware that Eddie is squealing to the cops, so they send


Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense, Classics

Paul Monash, George V. Higgins

May 19, 2009

Paramount Pictures

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All Critics (18) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (0) | DVD (8)

Deep weariness and disappointment hover in every gesture and line reading, especially when [Robert Mitchum] manages to get off a funny remark

November 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Peter Yates' crime drama is chock-full of wonderful moments, creative framing (especially an intrusion in a bank teller's home early on in the proceedings), and emotional punch.

July 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

Laced with a fatalism as romantic as its Beantown milieu is damp and grungy.

June 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Great icon-smashing and icon-making all in one.

October 11, 2010 Full Review Source:

Mitchums low-key performance as a total schlemiel is one of his finest.

January 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

a slow burn crime thriller that may lack flash, but is heavy with presence

June 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Though the picture doesn't really establish itself as any kind of masterpiece, it's a very, very good example of gritty 1970s Hollywood filmmaking.

May 22, 2009 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

... [Robert] Mitchum is at his best as a tired professional still hustling because it's all he knows.

May 19, 2009 Full Review Source:

It's a slug's-eye view of autumnal Greater Boston, remote when not sleazy; even when Mitchum and Boyle attend a Bruins hockey game, it's in the nosebleed seats.

May 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Mitchum's true swan song

March 23, 2009 Full Review Source:

A bleak look at how the Boston underworld operates.

May 2, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Friends of Eddie Coyle

Seventies noir that owes much of the austerity and realism to the cold city of Boston as well as to the the french crime thrillers of Jean Pierre Melville mostly to the superb "Le Doulos" as the character study of a man moving between two factions, Robert Mitchum as an old, weary weapons dealer turned into an informant to keep himself free from a conviction he thinks would be his last. The street prose of writer George Higgins, and Peter Yates' minimalist direction are the stronger points of this notable film.
October 28, 2011

Super Reviewer

The Friends of Eddie Coyle is a very good example of gritty 1970s Hollywood. It's also a great example of how a crime film should be made: methodically, with an emphasis on mood and behavior, instead and thrills and violence. Director Peter Yates' (yep, the same Peter Yates that did Krull...) carefully observed, yet mercurially pace establishes the perfect tapestry from which this story springboards from. Most films portray crime as a shady, shadowy, if not seductive venture; this film treats it as a form of day labor -- out in the open, with nothing to hide (be it a corner bar, or a supermarket parking lot).

Of course the film's lynchpin is Robert Mitchum (have I mentioned that I love him?). He often gets criticized for being lazy and uncaring in his performances. I contend that he's such a good actor, that he never overacts or calls attention to his emoting, that it throws people off. You'll never see him be showy, but he finds truth in every moment. He's subtle and nuanced, not "performative." He won't boast and yell in typical Oscar bait fashion, but watch his eyes sometime -- they say more than many actors' entire bodies could ever say. Eddie Coyle is a great example of this idea, and it just so happens to be one of Mitchum's finest roles, completely stripping down the brazen masculinity that had made him popular He's an aging, grounded, unsentimental, down-on-his-luck man who's trying to beat one last rap. There's both a quiet desperation and a sense of urgency behind every one of his lines.

Mitchum died in 1997 and it's hard not to think of his bellowing steel baron in Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man as his final bow. Yet, watching him take in a Bruins game, drinking a few beers and chanting "Number Four! Bobby Orr!" before his bartender friend takes him home for the night, it's even harder to consider The Friend of Eddie Coyle as anything less than Mitchum's true swan song.
April 7, 2011
Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

Gritty and realistic with great cinematography and acting. The story however is a little slow, but worth checking out if you're a fan of crime films.
January 28, 2011

Super Reviewer

What Friends of Eddie Coyle does have going for it is some knockout performances from Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle. And despite my complete and total lack of familiarity with the 70s-era Boston underworld, I'll dare say smarmy realism. Director Peter Yates does kind of succeed with telling the story of an aging low-level criminal about to go away to prison. I say this only because for much of the movie I felt like I'd been sentenced to a prison term while watching it. On the plus side, the bank robberies were well done and the hockey game sequence was also a nice change of pace. I'd recommend this if you're a fan of Mitchum but beyond that its pretty dull.
February 11, 2010

Super Reviewer

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