The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
Directed by Peter Yates
Based on the novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins
Screenplay by Paul Monash
Starring: Robert Mitchum, Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan, Alex Rocco, Joe Santos
Eddie (Mitchum) is a low-level gangster looking at a long prison sentence after a lifetime of crime. Looking to reduce his time, Eddie begins working with the cops. Now he’s living the dangerous double life of a snitch.
This film is based on the book of the same name, written by George V. Higgins (Killing Them Softly) and published in 1970. The screenplay was written by Paul Monash (Salem’s Lot). Peter Yates (Breaking Away) worked as director. The film stars Robert Mitchum (Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison), Peter Boyle (While You Were Sleeping), Richard Jordan (The Hunt for Red October), Alex Rocco (The Godfather), and Joe Santos (The Panic in Needle Park).
This film is a solid crime story that hits hard and stays on track from the very first minute. Stripping away anything unnecessary, this one has the time to focus on the twists and turns. This might have been just an ordinary film if it wasn’t for the unpredictable nature of the story. Early on the movie seems to be open to a number of possible outcomes, making it hard to guess the winners and losers. The payoffs are also worth the wait. Despite all of the great things already mentioned, the real star in the writing is the dialogue. This script gave the actors some incredible lines to work with. This is one of the better crime films of its era. I’d compare the writing to films like The French Connection or Mean Streets.
This one features a cast of incredible actors, starting with Robert Mitchum. This movie feels like it was written for him, and he nails every scene he’s in. He seemed to understand the character and he made the dialogue feel natural and genuine. He also found the right ways to connect with the other actors in the film. He also knew when to allow the tension to stay just underneath the surface. Overall, it’s one of the better performances I’ve seen from Mitchum. The film also features great performances from Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan, Joe Santos, and Alex Rocco. This has some great performances that really do wonderful things with the material.
This movie has just the right look for the material. It feels like the production crew found just the right locations for the story to play out. They also did a great job with the costuming and other aspects of the visuals. Cinematographer Victor J. Kemper (Dog Day Afternoon) did a really good job creating some of the necessary visual tension in the movie. The film also features a solid score, written by Dave Grusin (Three Days of the Condor).
This is more than a solid 1970s crime film that lives on the edge of being film noir. If you’re a fan of crime movies this is one to see. I would also make this a must-see film for fans of Robert Mitchum. With the great writing, acting, and production; this is one film fans need to see. I give this one 4.5 out of 5 stars.