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The Sting


4 years after the mega-hit and all time classic "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", Director George Roy Hill and stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford teamed up again and found that same movie magic with THE STING.

I'm not sure there have ever been two movie stars more relaxed and effortlessly cool than Newman and Redford.

Redford is small-time con man Hooker, who crosses the wrong gangster by mistake during a street hustle. His long time partner is killed by that crime boss, Doyle Lonnegan, well played by Robert Shaw (Jaws, From Russia With Love).

Hooker relocates quickly to Chicago, partnering up with big time hustler Henry Gondorff (Newman).

They soon form a complicated puzzle of a hustle to steal a lot of money from Lonnegan.

The real fun is watching the pieces of the con game click into place in a smart and fun screenplay by David S. Ward. (Sleepless in Seattle, Major League).

Ray Walston is hilarious as a key part of the horse racing angle, Charles Durning (Sharky's Machine, The Fury) is perfect as a crooked Chicago cop with his eyes on landing Hooker and Robert Earl Jones (father of James) is strong as Hooker's first partner Luther, whose death motivates the Sting.

It all plays just as fun as it did in 1973 when it won 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Music adaption. Marvin Hamlisch deserved it for taking Scott Joplin's 1930's piano rags and making them part of popular culture again.

Surprisingly, this was the only film for which Redford was ever nominated for a Best Actor Oscar and Universal Studios first Best Picture win in 42 years!

I love the old fashioned titles and the title cards that introduce different chapters in the film like "The Set Up". Albert Whitlock's matte paintings are still great, well before CGI made anything possible on screen.

Roy Hill, Newman and Redford did amazing work together and they teamed up separately for other classic 70's films like Newman's 'Slap Shot" and Redford's "The Great Waldo Pepper".

With its clever ending that plays off their Butch and Sundance final scenes and a complicated but understandable plot that never panders to the audience, THE STING is a ton of fun for audiences 46 years after it's release and gets an A+.

Followed 10 years later by a sequel that audiences ignored completely, for good reason.

Stick with the Original. It's fantastic.

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