Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Sting

The Sting, 1973
Directed by George Roy Hill
Nominated for 10 Oscars, Won 7
Up Against: American Graffiti, Cries & Whispers, the Exorcist, A Touch of Class

The Sting is a story about con artists in the 1930's Depression. Johnny Hooker and his partners Luther and Joe con $11,000 off a man on the streets, not thinking they'd get that rich. Luther announces his retirement and suggests and tells Hooker about a friend he has, Henry Gondorff, saying he should go meet him and learn "the big con". However, things don't go according to plan. The man they conned money off was a numbers racket courier for a famous crime boss named Lonnegan. When a corrupt police officer confronts Hooker and demands part of the pay cut (Hooker had already spent it all), pays in counterfeit bills. Meanwhile, Lonnegan's men murder Luther and Hooker must now flee, and heads to Chicago to meet Gondorff. While Gondorff was a once-great, he's now in hiding and is a bit nervous to take on Lonnegan. But he comes around and the two set up the "big con" for Lonnegan.

The film was an immediate success. It gained positive critic reviews, and was a box office smash. It was also the second pairing of George Roy Hill directed Robert Redford and Paul Newman since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It was released Christmas Day in 1973, and went on to win a lot of Academy Awards that year, including Picture, Director, Screenplay.

I really enjoyed this film. This is the first Robert Redford film I've seen, and also my first Paul Newman one (what a treat they both were!) and both were so great. They were great at the double acting (con men, pretending to be several different people, all innocent) and were real trouble-makers. But my favourite part of the entire film was the score. Compiled of mostly Scott Joplin's music composed in the early 1900's, and though not historically accurate for the time period (ragtime was no longer popular in the 30's), but was really really great. It fit the time so well, and was just so fun. It gave the film a bit of a lighter feel when darker music could've made the film more dramatic and sullen. It gave the film a spark quality, and really lit it up.

Additionally, the twists and turns the movie took were great. It really was a thinking movie, and it's so sad how little films like this are made any more. It was well thought out, entertaining, and had a few laughs that balanced the film out well.

Overall, the film was really good. It was a great showcase for Paul Newman and Robert Redford (who looks so much like Brad Pitt. Anyone else notice that?). It was a clever, kind of fun Best Picture as opposed to a lot of the more dramatic, serious, depressing ones.

Acting- 9/10 
Directing- 8/10 
Screenplay- 9/10 
Visuals- 9/10 

Music- 10/10 
Emotional Connection- 8/10 
Entertainment- 9/10 
Rewatchability- 8/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 9/10 

Overall Package- 8.5/10     

Total: 87.5/100


  1. Nice review. This is one I saw early and just absolutely fell in love with the characters and story. If you liked this and it was your first Redford/Newman, you have got to see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Amazing film.

    Oh, and welcome to the LAMB. Love the concept of your site. Hope to see you on the forums over there.

  2. Welcome to the Lamb, Heather!
    I also think that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a must-see if you liked this one. The looks and the score are also great, and Newman and Redford really made a wonderful pair.

  3. "The Sting" is an absolute classic!

    My parents weren't big movie people, but this is one of the few films they insisted I watch when I was a kid...and I'm glad they did. I sat down to watch it with my kids for the first time a few months ago and we had a great time!

    Welcome to the LAMB!!