With friends like these..!
Eddie Coyle has a problem. He's going to prison, and needs the help of a cop to vouch for him so that his sentence is reduced. Only thing is, his way out is to become a snitch. He knows a few low-to-mid level hoods, but will it be enough to buy him his freedom?The Friends of Eddie Coyle
is a 1970 novel by Boston author George V. Higgins, as well as a 1973 movie starring Robert Mitchum, Peter Boyle, and Alex Rocco.
The Friends of Eddie Coyle provides examples of the following tropes:
- Friendly Enemy Dillon, who is Eddie's drinking buddy and regular bartender, ends up using Eddie to eliminate Scalise, then murders Eddie.
- No Honor Among Thieves Despite pretending to live by a code of honor, Eddie is set up as a fall guy by Dillon, who makes Eddie look like a snitch to get him whacked. The irony is that Eddie tried to be a snitch, but failed miserably.
- Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangster Subverted mostly, in that most of the gangster characters are either doomed, broke, headed to prison — or all three.
- Affably Evil Dillon, who is the guy you'd least suspect would lead Eddie to his death. And kill him personally.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin Ironically subverted in that Eddie has no true friends.
- Horrible Judge of Character Eddie continues trusting those around him, despite the fact that after Scalise goes down, everyone is sure that Eddie was the snitch. And that means one thing.
- The Film of the Book Based on The Friends of Eddie Coyle, published in 1970, was the debut novel of George V. Higgins, then an Assistant United States Attorney in Boston.
- Downer Ending Hoo-yeah! Despite what we think, Eddie is easily duped by his good friend into coming along to a hockey game, where shortly thereafter he's killed. It's made all the worse by the fact that this same "fiend" is the actual guy who ratted out the guys whom the other guys paid to kill Eddie. Catch that?
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Slightly subverted. While the script is full of memorable lines, scenes and characters do tend to meander (enjoyably).
- Bank Robbery Several on the part of Scalise, and the surprising thing is they (mostly) go off without a hitch. Except the last one.
- Left Hanging: Gun dealer Dave Foley is arrested after Eddie tips the cops on Dave's upcoming machine gun sale. Swears revenge, is never heard from again.
- Outlaw Couple Wannabe hippie couple wants to buy guns from Dave.
- Compensating for Something Dave's awful, wonderful 1972 Plymouth Road Runner with a 383 Hemi V8. In lime green.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife Double subverted? In that Robert Mitchum is considered comely in some quarters, where his movie wife is, while not unattractive... not.
- Loser Protagonist Sadly, that just about sums ol' Eddie up.
- Cruel Twist Ending Sadly, Eddie is easily duped and killed by the film's real bad guy, Dillon, who was best buds all along with Jackie Brown, the cop that was Eddie's last, best hope. This is made worse by the fact that Eddie delayed giving Jackie the information that could have saved his own life.
- Twist Ending It's bad enough that Eddie is killed, until we find out that the reason it happened was Dillon and Jackie Brown were friends all along.
- Hot Guy, Ugly Wife Mean, but perhaps all Truth ist.
- Badass Grandpa Subverted because, while he's old(er), Eddie Coyle is decidedly a schlub.