The Sting (1973)



Critic Consensus: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and director George Roy Hill prove that charm, humor, and a few slick twists can add up to a great film.

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Four years after setting box offices ablaze in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and director George Roy Hill re-teamed with similar success for The Sting. Redford plays Depression-era confidence trickster Johnny Hooker, whose friend and mentor Luther Coleman (Robert Earl Jones) is murdered by racketeer/gambler Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). Hoping to avenge Luther's death, Johnny begins planning a "sting" -- an elaborate scam -- to destroy Lonnegan. He enlists the aid of "the greatest con artist of them all," Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman), who pulls himself out of a drunken stupor and rises to the occasion. Hooker and Gondorff gather together an impressive array of con men, all of whom despise Lonnegan and wish to settle accounts on behalf of Luther. The twists and surprises that follow are too complex to relate in detail -- suffice to say that you can't cheat an honest man, and that you shouldn't accept everything at face value. The Sting became one of the biggest hits of the early '70s; grossing 68.5 million dollars during its first run, the film also picked up seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Adapted Score for Marvin Hamlisch's unforgettable setting of Scott Joplin's ragtime music. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
PG (N/A)
Classics , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Universal Pictures

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Paul Newman
as Henry Gondorff
Robert Redford
as Johnny Hooker
Robert Shaw
as Doyle Lonnegan
Charles Durning
as Lt. William Snyder
Ray Walston
as J.J. Singleton
Harold Gould
as Kid Twist
John Hefferman
as Eddie Niles
Dana Elcar
as FBI Agent Polk
Jack Kehoe
as Erie Kid
Dimitra Arliss
as Loretta
Robert Earl Jones
as Luther Coleman
Sally Kirkland
as Crystal
John Quade
as Riley
Paulene Myers
as Alva Coleman
William 'Billy' Benedict
as Roulette Dealer
Avon Long
as Benny Garfield
Lee Paul
as Bodyguard
Ed Bakey
as Granger
Ken Sansom
as Western Union Executive
Larry D. Mann
as Train Conductor
William Benedict
as Roulette Dealer
Leonard Barr
as Burlesque Comedian
Joe Tornatore
as Black-Gloved Gunman
Jack Collins
as Duke Boudreau
Tom Spratley
as Curly Jackson
Ken Sanson
as Western Union Executive
Scott Joplin
as Piano Rags
as Louise Coleman
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Critic Reviews for The Sting

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (7)

As for Newman and Redford, they have developed a form of instant communication. Words are not as important as they way they look at each other. Call it as snow job or call it acting, it is very pleasing to watch.

Full Review… | February 27, 2015
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Newman and Redford pass a few facial expressions between them and try to cool each other out. If there ever was much of a script, it can be said to have gone to waste.

Full Review… | October 1, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Extremely handsome production values and a great supporting cast round out the virtues.

Full Review… | February 19, 2008
Top Critic

Top-notch entertainment.

Full Review… | December 13, 2006
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The film ends up relying on different chapter headings to explain what's going on, but it's all very professional, with fine attention to period detail.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The film is so good-natured, so obviously aware of everything it's up to, even its own picturesque frauds, that I opt to go along with it.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Sting


Paul Newman and Robert Redford shine together in this brilliant and hugely amusing caper film that offers us, among many notable qualities, a marvelous production design and an ingenious (and unpredictable) plot that plays like a refined sleight-of-hand trick.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Four years after setting box-office records with "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid",actors Paul Newman and Robert Redford and director George Roy Hill re-teamed with bigger commercial success with "The Sting" which became one of the top ten highest grossing films of 1973. Set in the depression era of 1930's Chicago,it stars Robert Redford who plays depression-era trickster Johnny Hooker,whose friend and mentor Luther Coleman(Robert Earl Jones,who is the brother of famed actor James Earl Jones)is murdered by racketeer/gambler Doyle Lonnegan(Robert Shaw). Hoping to avenge Luther's death,Johnny beings planning a sting--or an elaborate scam to destroy Lonnegan. He enlists the help and the aid of the greatest con artist of them all,Henry Gondorff(Paul Newman),who pulls himself out of a drunken stupor and rises to the occasion. Hooker and Gondorff team up to take down Lonnegan along with their assortment array of scam artists and con men to settle all accounts on behalf of Luther while staying one step ahead of the mob and the police. With an assorted cast that features Charles Durning, Ray Walston, Eileen Brennan, Ed Bakey,and Leonard Barr, "The Sting" became a huge boxoffice smash grossing 68.5 million dollars during its first run and went to become one of biggest hits in the history of Universal Pictures where it was the third highest grossing picture of 1973, behind "The Exorcist",and "American Graffiti". Nominated for an impressive 10 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director(George Roy Hill), Best Actor (Paul Newman), Best Supporting Actor (Robert Redford),and Best Original Score (Marvin Hamilsch). It was victorious in winning 7 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director(George Roy Hill), Best Original Screenplay(David S. Ward),and Best Adapted Score (Marvin Hamlisch). The success of "The Sting" was the next to last of the teaming of actors Robert Redford, Paul Newman and director George Roy Hill. However,four years after the success of "The Sting",actor Paul Newman and director George Roy Hill team up again but this time around for one of the funniest sports comedies ever made "Slap Shot" which became even a bigger hit and one of the best comedies to ever grace the mid-1970's.

Mister Caple
Mister Caple

Super Reviewer

The Sting is a well crafted caper film with a great cast of talented actors under the direction of George Roy Hill and the result is an exciting and entertaining picture. The plot is effective, thrilling, dramatic right up to the final shot. The film strength is really in the performances of the cast, and the strong script by David S. Ward. This is a very entertaining film that is a must see for fans of classic cinema. This is one of the best heist films that was made in the 1970's. Paul Newman is great here and starring opposite Robert Shaw is one of the high points of the film. This is simply put a well executed film that is engaging from start to finish. If you heist flicks, then you should check this film out. With a great cast delivering some memorable performances, George Roy Hill has made a stunning masterwork of cinema, and this is among the greatest films ever made. If you're a fan of great cinema, then this is the perfect film for you. The buildup to the climax is wonderful. There's plenty of substance to the story which adds so much to the standard Heist film formula. This is a well paced and very entertaining film that remains one of the best examples of excellent 1970's filmmaking. The Sting is one of director's George Roy Hill's best films and it remains a classic of the genre due to the fact that it's simple, yet has a very well written script and is supported by a great cast.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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