For Your Consideration

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Following on from the black comedy of the Coen brothers’ gangster flick Miller’s Crossing, your choices for what we’ll be screening on Tuesday 1 October are out of three more classics of the genre. And these guys ain’t messin about. Up for the vote are…

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (Peter Yates, USA, 1973)

"A good, tough, unsentimental movie about the last days of a small-time Boston hood." Vincent Canby, New York Times

Robert Mitchum stars as Eddie “Fingers” Coyle, a gunrunner working on the sidelines of the seedy Boston underworld just to make ends meet. But when he finds himself facing a second stretch of hard time, he’s forced to weigh loyalty to his criminal colleagues against snitching to stay free. Directed with a sharp eye for its gritty locales and an open heart for its less-than-heroic characters, this is one of the true treasures of 1970s Hollywood filmmaking - a suspenseful crime drama in stark, unforgiving daylight.

Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, USA, 1990)

"For its swaggering energy, the heart-in-your-throat pacing and for some of the most memorable, most imitated scenes in mafia movie history, this must rank as one of Scorsese's finest films, if not the best." Wendy Ide, Observer

The true-life story of New Jersey mobster-turned-informer Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), covering his relationship with his wife Karen (Lorraine Bracco) and partners Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci). Based on the 1985 non-fiction book, Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, Goodfellas is Scorsese firing on all cylinders, an exhilarating ride through the dark heart of the American Dream and arguably the greatest gangster pic since The Godfather.

The Public Enemy (William A. Wellman, USA, 1931)

"James Cagney's portrayal of a bootlegging runt is truly electrifying (he'd made five films, but this one made him a star), and Jean Harlow makes the tartiest tart imaginable." Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

A pair of young hoodlums, Tom Powers (James Cagney) and Matt Doyle (Eddie Woods), rise up from the poverty-stricken slums of Prohibition-era Chicago and through the ranks of the criminal underworld, picking up all the accoutrements of success along the way: custom-tailored tuxedoes, fancy cars, gorgeous girls, bigger guns, etc. With a screenplay based on an unpublished novel (Beer and Blood) by two former newspapermen (John Bright and Kubec Glasmon) who had witnessed some of Al Capone's murderous gang rivalries in Chicago first hand, director and World War I vet, Wellman, told producer Zanuck, "I'll bring you the toughest, most violent picture you ever did see". A pre-Code landmark.