My goodness, did 2010′s (excellent) The Town lift large chunks from this one: character dynamics, masks, even a “count to 100″ walk. We’ll forgive Ben Affleck, though, because his fierce love of Boston is hardly a secret, and his take on the story is more homage than shoplifting anyway…and boasts plenty to admire in its own right. But back to The Friends of Eddie Coyle itself—Peter Yates’ crime drama is chock-full of wonderful moments, creative framing (especially an intrusion in a bank teller’s home early on in the proceedings), and emotional punch. An aging-but-always-recognizable Robert Mitchum plays Eddie, a convicted small-time felon who couldn’t keep his nose clean and faces a long prison sentence for repeat offenses. Faced with losing his family just as he was settling into a happy life at home, he decides to snitch on some of Boston’s most well-known thugs in the hope that Detective Foley (Richard Jordan) will make some calls and get him off the hook. But who to trust, who to trust: life’s age-old question rears its ugly head at every turn. The Friends of Eddie Coyle is endlessly entertaining, with exciting stick-ups and a mesmerizing gun sale in the woods, yet its not just popcorn fun—Yates (Breaking Away) infuses the film with some serious soul. It’s impossible to not feel for Eddie (thanks in large part to Mitchum’s understated, spot-on performance), who comes across as a mostly harmless man who got caught up in the wrong game, and could never quite figure out how to unravel himself. That doesn’t excuse his actions, of course, but he’s a sympathetic protagonist. The entire cast turns in virtuoso performances, with Steven Keats as the loudmouthed, firebrand arms dealer Jackie Brown sprinting away from the pack with a tour-de-force. For fast-paced fun with heart and Boston soul, it’s tough to find fault with The Friends of Eddie Coyle: I can definitely see revisiting this one over the years.