Peter YatesUSA102 minutes1973ColourEnglish
"Mitchum has perhaps never been better" (Roger Ebert) than in this fatalistic, Melville-like portrait of the Boston underworld, which gave the actor one of his final career-defining roles as the eponymous Eddie, an aging, small-time gunrunner nicknamed "Fingers" after the appendages he once got slammed in a drawer as payoff for a betrayal. Facing another prison term if he doesn't cooperate with the feds, Eddie snitches on some of his underworld pals, leading his "friends" to hire hitman/bartender Dillon (a chilling Peter Boyle) to douse his lights. Director Peter Yates gives the film a clenched, minimalist vibe with its washed-out cinematography and emphasis on '70s surfaces (lots of Plexiglas tables). "Young film fans raised in the multiplex era may look back and lament the fact that no one is making movies like The Friends of Eddie Coyle anymore. The truth is they never did. There's only this one" (Kent Jones).