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

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

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.