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The Sting (1973)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  26 December 1973 (UK)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 162,147 users  
Reviews: 242 user | 116 critic

In Chicago in September 1936, a young con man seeking revenge for his murdered partner teams up with a master of the big con to win a fortune from a criminal banker.



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Top Rated Movies #89 | Won 7 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Heffernan ...
Eddie Niles
Jack Kehoe ...
Erie Kid
Dimitra Arliss ...
Robert Earl Jones ...
Luther Coleman (as Robertearl Jones)
Mottola (as James J. Sloyan)
Charles Dierkop ...
Floyd - Bodyguard


When a mutual friend is killed by a mob boss, two con men, one experienced and one young try to get even by pulling off the big con on the mob boss. The story unfolds with several twists and last minute alterations. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

con | con man | long con | murder | courier | See All (92) »


Recapture "the STING Experience". REMEMBER HOW GOOD THE FEEL WAS THE FIRST TIME (re-release) See more »


Comedy | Crime | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

26 December 1973 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Der Clou  »

Box Office


$5,500,000 (estimated)


$159,600,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the final chapter board drawing 'The Sting', the horse shown on the lead is wearing blinkers with blue and white blocks. Those were the colors Secretariat wore while winning the Triple Crown in 1973, the same year as The Sting. See more »


When the briefcase containing $100 bills is opened in extreme close-up, the bills have "modern, small-size" green Federal Reserve seals that are wrong for the '30s. In that era the green seals would be much larger, and a very light green in color. See more »


Johnny Hooker: Can you get a mob together?
Henry Gondorff: After what happened to Luther, I don't think I can get more than two, three hundred guys.
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 »


Referenced in Prisoner: Cell Block H: Episode #1.145 (1980) See more »


Listen to the Mockingbird
(1855) (uncredited)
Music by Richard Milburn
Played at the carousel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Working The Big Con
5 March 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The Sting, evoking a bygone era of gangsters and con men, was the deserved Best Picture of 1973. The Sting won that Oscar plus a whole flock of technical awards. One award it didn't win was for Robert Redford as Best Actor.

That must have been tough for the Academy voters because to single out Redford as opposed to Paul Newman must have felt a bit unjust. For though Newman was nominated many times over his career and finally did win for The Color of Money, did not get a nomination for The Sting.

Robert Redford is a small time grifter who while working a bait and switch street con takes off a numbers runner carrying the weekly take. The orders come down from the head man himself, Irish-American gangster Robert Shaw to kill those who did this as an example.

Redford's mentor, Robert Earl Jones, is in fact killed, mainly because Redford starts spending a lot of that newly acquired loot that tips them off. Redford wants revenge so he looks up big time con man Paul Newman who himself is dodging law enforcement as is Redford also.

They work the big con on Shaw and it's a beauty. The scheme they have is something to behold. They also have to do a couple of improvisations on the fly that lend a few twists to the scheme.

The costumes and sets really do evoke Chicago of the Thirties and director George Roy Hill assembles a great cast to support Newman and Redford. My favorite in the whole group is Charles Durning, who plays the brutally corrupt, but essentially dumb cop from Joliet who nearly gums up the works and has to be dealt with.

Special mention should also go to Robert Shaw. He's got a difficult part, maybe the most difficult in the film. He's not stupid, he would not have gotten to the top of the rackets if he was. But he also has to show that hint of human weakness that Newman, Redford, and the whole mob they assemble that makes him vulnerable to the con.

During the sixties and seventies Robert Shaw was really coming into his own as a player, getting more and more acclaim for his work. His early death was a real tragedy, there was so much more he could have been doing.

Can't also forget another co-star in this film, the ragtime music of Scott Joplin that was used to score The Sting. It probably is what most people remember about The Sting. Music from the Theodore Roosevelt era, scoring a film set in the Franklin Roosevelt era made while Nixon was president. Strange, but it actually works.

The Sting still works wonders today.

22 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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