A vicious Kansas City slaughterhouse owner and his hick family are having a bloody "beef" with the Chicago crime syndicate over profits from their joint illegal operations. Top enforcer Nick Devlin is sent to straighten things out.
A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
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
When Eddie and Dillon are at the Bruins/Blackhawks hockey game, a Hawks player is pulled down by a Bruin near the Chicago goal. Clearly visible in the background is the Chicago goalie wearing jersey number 35 (this was Tony Esposito in the 1970's). There is a cut to Eddie and Dillon in the stands and then a long shot showing the subsequent on-ice altercation. The Chicago goalie is involved in this brawl but he is now clearly wearing jersey number 1 (Gary Smith, the Hawks backup goalie in those days). See more »
[referring to Coyle]
Does he work anywhere?
Yeah, he's a night expeditor in Al's Trucking, but just try to find him there. He works about as much as Santa Claus.
See more »
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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