Peter Yates, 81, Directed Iconic Boston Film

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News crossed the Atlantic this week that English filmmaker Peter Yates has died.

You might remember Yates as the director of Bullitt with Steve McQueen, a 1968 thriller that set the template for a Hollywood car chase scene.

But we remember Yates more as the man behind the 1973 film adaptation of George V. Higgins' classic Boston crime novel "The Friends of Eddie Coyle."

A year after "The Godfather" presented an action-packed and somewhat glamorous image of Italian mobsters in New York, "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" presented a sad, mundane, and — by most accounts quite realistic — picture of small-time Irish mobsters in Boston.

Last year, Radio Boston talked to crime writer Dennis Lehane, who, in singing the praises of his friend and collaborator Ben Affleck's new film "The Town," said this:

"The only film that's comparable in terms of feeling truly Boston, as authentically Boston, is 'Friends of Eddie Coyle', which is over 30 years old."

"Friends of Eddie Coyle" director Peter Yates died Sunday in London. He was 81.

This segment aired on January 14, 2011.


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