When the weather’s bad or you’re in a glum mood, you can treat yourself to two hours of solid entertainment by popping in “The Sting” with Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Robert Shaw. With a strong cast, excellent direction, a clever plot, and period music, this movie was a blockbuster when it was first released in 1973 and it holds up for modern audiences today.
Newman and Redford were a hot team after the success of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and the chemistry between these A-list stars energizes this plot of two grifters out to pull the big con. But they don’t carry the entire movie. As a villain, Robert Shaw stands even with these megastars and commands the screen as their mark, Doyle Lonnegan. The star-studded cast includes Eileen Brennan, Charles Durning, Ray Walston, and Harold Gould.
The movie won seven Academy Awards, including best screenplay for David S. Ward and best director for George Ray Hill – who, by the way, also directed “Butch Cassidy”. Marvin Hamlisch won for best music, adapting the piano rags of Scott Joplin. Every piano student was playing “The Entertainer” years later.
Haven’t seen the movie before, Then relax and follow along. You’ll think you know where the story is going but there are plot twists and surprises. And even if you’ve seen the movie before, you’ll still find something new you missed the first time or two. No one is quite who you think they are. When the movie was re-released years later, the tagline was “Remember how good the feel was the first time.” And it’s true. I remember how surprised I was when I first saw the movie; I had to watch it several more times to put everything together.