The Sting: One Of My Favorite Films
Updated: Mar 31
The Sting (1973) is one of my favorite films of all time. My dad was the one who first showed me this classic when I was younger. My first viewing was quite the experience. It left such an impression on me that I always knew it would be one of my favorite films of all time.
The Sting is the greatest con film ever made. The film not only has a brilliant “con” plot-line, but the ending itself cons the audience. I’ll get to that later, but the film pulls the rug out from beneath you so many times. That’s all due to the well written script by David S. Ward.
The script of The Sting is one the best screenplays in cinematic history. The story is creative and well thought out, the characters are all unique and well developed, and, like I said, the con plot-line is brilliant. I read the script before and it’s pretty spot on with what we got in the film. David S. Ward won an Oscar for his script, and that’s one of the Academy’s greatest decisions.
I love all the characters in the film. They interact well in the world that Ward created. Each character has their own way of getting what they want, and it’s thrilling to watch. I like that there’s few, actual good people in the film. Most of them are not good people, and some are even evil. I like that it’s a gray world.
Robert Redford and Paul Newman are excellent as Johnny Hooker, what an awesome name, and Henry Gondorff. They’re awesome protagonists. I love their dynamic and all of their interactions. Redford and Newman have the perfect chemistry. I love their bromance, both in this film and in real life.
Robert Shaw as Doyle Lonnegan is the best character in this film. Shaw is a towering and horrifying presence in this film. He’s “larger than life” and everyone fears him. I love Shaw’s death stare. His scene in the poker train scene, which is my favorite scene in the film, is the best part of the film. I love the way he says “Ya follow?” This scene is one of my favorite performances from one of my favorite actors.
The music, which is primarily comprised of 1920’s ragtime, is a big highlight of the film. It’s only a few instruments, but mostly piano as it plays the catchy themes. It perfectly fits the film, and it puts a smile on my face whenever I hear “The Entertainer” in the beginning. It is one of my favorite film scores of all time.
The direction by George Roy Hill is also fantastic. His skills show behind the camera. It’s shot like a film from the 30s, and I think that works well. He won an Oscar for directing this film, and that’s awesome.
SPOILERS FOR THE ENDING OF THE STING
The ending is so iconic. In the end, the team successfully gets Lonnegan’s money, but the feds show up. Earlier, we saw a scene where Hooker is finally caught by the dasterdly Lt. Snyder and he’s brought to the FBI. They tell him he needs to help them catch Gondorff because he’s a wanted man. They force Hooker to do it. In the end, Gondorff thinks he’s done for and he shoots and kills Hooker. The FBI agent then kills Gondorff. Snyder and Lonnegan believe they are dead and leave immediately. Lonnegan without his money and Snyder thinking that Hooker is dead for good. It’s revealed that Hooker and Gondorff are alive and the FBI were only con men. They wanted to make sure Lonnegan and Snyder knew that they were dead. Everyone laughs and cleans up the hideout. Hooker doesn’t take the money because he knows he’ll spend it all. Hooker and Gondorff walk away from the shot as the music plays them off.
The Sting is one of my favorite films. It’s my favorite Best Picture Winner. It’s pure cinema and I couldn’t recommend it enough!