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The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

R | | Crime, Drama | 27 June 1973 (USA)
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.



(based on the novel by), (screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Steven Keats ...
Peter MacLean ...
Bank manager #2
Marvin Lichterman ...
The Man's contact man
Helena Carroll ...
Sheila Coyle


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


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


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 June 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Freunde von Eddie Coyle  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


"The Friends of Eddie Coyle" is one of director Yates' three favorite movies. The other two are "Breaking Away" and "The Dresser." See more »


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 »


Dillon: There's this truck. It bothers me. I know it sounds funny because I suppose you would think that what would be worrying me would be the guys in the truck or maybe some guy I don't even know watching me pretty close in the bar or something. But I have seen the truck. Put two guys in that truck, they could get the pope. The only time I see an engine like that is in a Cadillac. So you know you aren't gonna run away cuz that thing's gonna run right away with ya. In the windshield they got a crack ...
See more »


Referenced in The Town (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

It's a shame that one of Mitchum's finest portrayals is still regulated to bootleg hell
23 October 2006 | by (Worcester, MA) – See all my reviews

We all know that Robert Mitchum is a great actor, so its a shame that one of his finest portrayals is still regulated to bootleg hell. His performance of Eddie "Fingers" Coyle, a small time hood who gets himself into a lot of trouble, ranks up there with "Night of the Hunter" and "Out of the Past" as his best. Until this film receives the treatment it deserves, it will continue to only possess a small cult following. I became a fan of it after seeing it on AMC a few years back (when they showed good films), and was lucky enough to track down a low grade print off a torrent.

The thing that makes the film work so well is the realism throughout. This isn't a flashy "Godfather" type portrait of organized crime. These are bored crooks who simply do what they must do to have some sort of income for their family. Coyle is a crook because he doesn't want his family to go on welfare. The performances and the screenplay further this realistic atmosphere. There aren't any over the top violent shoot outs. The bleakness is probably what turned off audiences in 1973 expecting some quickly paced action thrills. The characters aren't likable by any means, but are fleshed out and you eventually feel sympathetic for them by the end.

Now no film is completely flawless and there are a few slight complaints I have about this one. Occasionally scenes are dull and seem to go no where and the conclusion seems a bit rushed. Past that, this is one of the best crime films of the 70s, a decade known for its great films. Its a shame that it continues to be overlooked. (7/10)

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