After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
Johnny Hooker, a small time grifter, unknowingly steals from Doyle Lonnegan, a big time crime boss, when he pulls a standard street con. Lonnegan demands satisfaction for the insult. After his partner, Luther, is killed, Hooker flees, and seeks the help of Henry Gondorff, one of Luther's contacts, who is a master of the long con. Hooker wants to use Gondorff's expertise to take Lonnegan for an enormous sum of money to even the score, since he admits he "doesn't know enough about killing to kill him." They devise a complicated scheme and amass a talented group of other con artists who want their share of the reparations. The stakes are high in this game, and our heroes must not only deal with Lonnegan's murderous tendencies, but also other side players who want a piece of the action. To win, Hooker and Gondorff will need all their skills...and a fair amount of confidence. Written by
I agree 100 percent that this is a wonderful movie. I first saw it over 30 years ago, and it remains vivid in my mind while I can't remember zip about movies I saw last week which others have praised and I found wanting. I can't think of another film about double and triple crosses that deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence with "The Sting" (which doesn't mean that some of the others haven't been good). In addition to all the things that others have praised, one of the most memorable features of this film is the use of a Scott Joplin rag, which both lends a distinctive period touch and adds a sense of fast-paced motion to the action. I'm not much for ranking films -- top five, top ten, top 250 -- but this is one of the best. If you haven't already seen it, drop everything and find the DVD. As pure entertainment, it can't be beat.
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