After seeing Charely Varrick (1973) I have finished watching George Pelecanos' tough guy film series. The only film that I had seen prior to coming across the list was Akira Kurosawa's High and Low. It was an entertaining group of selections. Here's Pelecanos on Charely Varrick:
Journeyman artist Siegel helmed this cult crime film whose title character, a former aerial circus pilot, makes the mistake of robbing a bank containing mob money. A low-key, surprisingly tough Walter Matthau plays Varrick and gets good support from Andy Robinson (the twisted Scorpio in Siegel's Dirty Harry) and Joe Don Baker as a relentless, menacing, pipe-smoking hit man named Molly. With Sheree North, Felicia Farr and the always dependable John Vernon. The Pretenders named one of their records, The Last of the Independents, after Varrick's moniker, stitched into his flight suit and seen through flames in the final shot. Terrific score by Lalo Schifrin.