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The Sting (1973)

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Two grifters team up to pull off the ultimate con.

Director:

George Roy Hill

Writer:

David S. Ward
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Popularity
1,646 ( 970)
Top Rated Movies #102 | Won 7 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Newman ... Henry Gondorff
Robert Redford ... Johnny Hooker
Robert Shaw ... Doyle Lonnegan
Charles Durning ... Lt. Wm. Snyder
Ray Walston ... J.J. Singleton
Eileen Brennan ... Billie
Harold Gould ... Kid Twist
John Heffernan John Heffernan ... Eddie Niles
Dana Elcar ... F.B.I. Agent Polk
Jack Kehoe ... Erie Kid
Dimitra Arliss ... Loretta
Robert Earl Jones ... Luther Coleman (as Robertearl Jones)
James Sloyan ... Mottola (as James J. Sloyan)
Charles Dierkop ... Floyd - Bodyguard
Lee Paul Lee Paul ... Bodyguard
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Storyline

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 headlessannie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...all it takes is a little Confidence. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sting See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$159,600,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producers David Brown and Richard D. Zanuck enjoyed working with Robert Shaw and recommended him to Steven Spielberg for "Jaws" which they also produced. See more »

Goofs

Hooker tells Lonnegan he's from the East Side of New York. Yet he doesn't even have the slightest trace of an accent. See more »

Quotes

Johnny Hooker: Listen, Gondorff! Am I gonna learn the big con or not?
Henry Gondorff: What's your hurry?
Johnny Hooker: I want to play for Lonnegan.
Henry Gondorff: You know anything about the guy?
Johnny Hooker: Yeah! He croaked Luther! Anything else I gotta know?
Johnny Hooker: [after he calms down] All right. He runs a numbers racket on the south side. He owns a packing house. A few banks.
Henry Gondorff: Yeah, and half the politicians in New York and Chicago. Not a fix in this world is gonna cool him out if he blows on you.
Johnny Hooker: I'll get him anyway.
Henry Gondorff: Why?
Johnny Hooker: 'Cause I don't know enough about killin' to kill...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening animated logo for Universal Pictures is in 1930s style, matching the movie's setting, instead of the 1970s version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mad: Avaturd/CSiCarly (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Pineapple Rag
(1908) (uncredited)
Written by Scott Joplin
Conducted and Adapted by Marvin Hamlisch
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Lightweight, Clever Throwback to the Big Cons of the 1930's.
24 January 2000 | by Don-102See all my reviews

At first sight, THE STING appears to be nothing more than a television movie. It is entirely plot-driven with no real stand out characters or personalities. What makes the film work is excellent production design and a delightfully clever plot filled with many surprises. The movie is feather-weight emotionally, but the depth of the "con" and the way it is fashioned by screenwriter David Ward leaves you with a pleasant experience.

This is more Redford's film than Newman's, who reunite with George Roy Hill, director of BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. The legendary actors were more flesh and blood in that film, but here, they are merely players who carry the story along. With lesser actors, THE STING may have been a forgettable piece of work. Redford does all of the dirty work after Newman's initial "hook", but the omniscient presence of Newman, as big-time grifter "Henry Gondorff" exists throughout. A mysterious gloved character, a crooked cop, the FBI, and a seemingly bigger con-man "Doyle Lonnegan" (played by the late, great Robert Shaw) are some of the players who are involved in some events that seem to be manipulated by an unseen force. Is Newman as good as he claims in trying to clean out Shaw? We'll see.

The film is shot simply by Hill. No tricky angles or contrived camera movements are used. The action takes place simply in front of us. The production design by Henry Bumstead and James Payne recreates old-time Chicago through the use of built sets, matte paintings of a smaller sky-line, and some location shots. It gives the film an almost artificial look which is fitting considering it is a direct homage to the 1930's and the gangster pictures that so dominated that decade. The story is even furthered by title pages describing "the set-up, the hook, and the sting". They are turned like pages in a book, adding a drop of elegance to a crooked world. An iris is even employed in some scenes.

THE STING is definitely lightweight entertainment. It does not provoke much thought or insight into what is happening on screen. Fun is the word for this amusing little film that depicts a masterful plan for a big steal which would be impossible to pull off today. Look out for Ray Walston in a hilarious role announcing horse races and their results as they are "happening" just after receiving word of the "real" race results from a back room in the betting house. These are good con-men.

RATING: ***


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