The Sting

"Extraordinary"

The Sting Review


It's one of cinema's most beloved heist movies, and for good reason: The Sting is balls-out fun from start to finish, a showstopper work for both Robert Redford and Paul Newman, and alternately funny and thrilling.

The plot must have been devilishly complex at the time. In more recent years we've had films like House of Games and The Spanish Prisoner that make The Sting's intricacies look like a story in a first-grader's textbook. It's the Depression, and Johnny Hooker (Redford) makes a living running quickie cons on the street. When he scams several thousand dollars off of a mob guy, the heat comes down from both the mafiosos looking for their money and the crooked cops, culminating in Hooker's partner getting killed and Hooker escaping the city for hopefully better climes.

Vowing revenge, he hooks up with Henry Gondorff (Newman), who promises to set up a huge con to extract as much money as possible from the head of the syndicate, Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). Together they devise an elaborate plan to get Lonnegan's cash, starting with a trainbound poker game and culminating in an intricate double-cross that revolves around a rigged horse race.

The Sting probably wouldn't work in today's world of simulcasts and internet betting, but seen as a paean to the way that crime used to be something lighthearted and even funny, it's a real hoot. Newman and Redford, teaming up again with director George Roy Hill shortly after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, manage to make every minute memorable. Only for the briefest moments does the film ramble -- such as Hooker's dalliance with a broken-down coffee shop waitress that looks twice his age. The rest is pure gold.

Supporting players like Shaw, Charles Durning (as the cop after Hooker), and a pile of character actors like Ray Walston in minor roles make the movie all the more memorable. And then there's "The Entertainer," the film's ubiquitous soundtrack song which runs any time there's a break in the nearly nonstop action. Often imitated, the film has (in my opinion) been bested in recent years by the work of David Mamet, but it's still one of the greatest capers known to man.

The new Legacy Series DVD includes a second disc of extras, the main feature of which is a retrospective from the principals about the making of the film.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 129 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 26th December 1973

Box Office Worldwide: $159.6M

Budget: $5.5M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 48 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 8.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Henry Gondorff, as Johnny Hooker, as Doyle Lonnegan, as Lt. Wm. Snyder, as J.J. Singleton, as Billie, as Kid Twist, John Heffernan as Eddie Niles, Dana Elcar as F.B.I. Agent Polk, as Erie Kid, Robert Earl Jones as Luther Coleman (as Robertearl Jones), James Sloyan as Mottola (as James J. Sloyan), Charles Dierkop as Floyd - Bodyguard, Lee Paul as Bodyguard, as Crystal, Avon Long as Benny Garfield, Arch Johnson as Combs, Ed Bakey as Granger, as Cole, John Quade as Riley, Dimitra Arliss as Loretta

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Advertisement
Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.