The Sting
Overview
 
The Sting is a 1973 American caper film
Heist film
A heist film is a film that has an intricate plot woven around a group of people trying to steal something. Versions with dominant or prominent comic elements are often called caper movies. They could be described as the analogues of caper stories in film history...

 set in September 1936 that involves a complicated plot by two professional grifters
Confidence trick
A confidence trick is an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence. A confidence artist is an individual working alone or in concert with others who exploits characteristics of the human psyche such as dishonesty and honesty, vanity, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility,...

 (Paul Newman
Paul Newman
Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

 and Robert Redford
Robert Redford
Charles Robert Redford, Jr. , better known as Robert Redford, is an American actor, film director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, and founder of the Sundance Film Festival. He has received two Oscars: one in 1981 for directing Ordinary People, and one for Lifetime...

) to con a mob boss (Robert Shaw
Robert Shaw (actor)
Robert Archibald Shaw was an English actor and novelist, remembered for his performances in The Sting , From Russia with Love , A Man for All Seasons , the original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three , Black Sunday , The Deep and Jaws , where he played the shark hunter Quint.-Early life...

). The film was directed by George Roy Hill
George Roy Hill
George Roy Hill was an American film director. He is most noted for directing such films as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, which both starred the acting duo Paul Newman and Robert Redford...

, who previously directed Newman and Redford in the western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a 1969 American Western film directed by George Roy Hill and written by William Goldman...

.

Created by screenwriter David S. Ward
David S. Ward
David Schad Ward is an American film director and screen writer.-Life and career:Ward was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Miriam and Robert McCollum Ward. Ward has degrees from Pomona College , as well as both USC and the UCLA Film School...

, the story was inspired by real-life con games perpetrated by the brothers Fred and Charley Gondorff and documented by David Maurer
David Maurer
David Warren Maurer was a professor of linguistics at the University of Louisville from 1937 to 1972, and an author of numerous studies of the language of the American underworld....

 in his book The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man.

The title phrase refers to the moment when a con artist finishes the "play" and takes the mark's money.
Quotations

[to Henry] Luther said I could learn from you. I already know how to drink.

Glad to meet you, kid- you're a real horse's ass.

No sense being a grifter if its the same as bein' a citizen.

[to Henry] Not only are you a cheat, you're a gutless cheat as well.

Encyclopedia
The Sting is a 1973 American caper film
Heist film
A heist film is a film that has an intricate plot woven around a group of people trying to steal something. Versions with dominant or prominent comic elements are often called caper movies. They could be described as the analogues of caper stories in film history...

 set in September 1936 that involves a complicated plot by two professional grifters
Confidence trick
A confidence trick is an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence. A confidence artist is an individual working alone or in concert with others who exploits characteristics of the human psyche such as dishonesty and honesty, vanity, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility,...

 (Paul Newman
Paul Newman
Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

 and Robert Redford
Robert Redford
Charles Robert Redford, Jr. , better known as Robert Redford, is an American actor, film director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, and founder of the Sundance Film Festival. He has received two Oscars: one in 1981 for directing Ordinary People, and one for Lifetime...

) to con a mob boss (Robert Shaw
Robert Shaw (actor)
Robert Archibald Shaw was an English actor and novelist, remembered for his performances in The Sting , From Russia with Love , A Man for All Seasons , the original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three , Black Sunday , The Deep and Jaws , where he played the shark hunter Quint.-Early life...

). The film was directed by George Roy Hill
George Roy Hill
George Roy Hill was an American film director. He is most noted for directing such films as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, which both starred the acting duo Paul Newman and Robert Redford...

, who previously directed Newman and Redford in the western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a 1969 American Western film directed by George Roy Hill and written by William Goldman...

.

Created by screenwriter David S. Ward
David S. Ward
David Schad Ward is an American film director and screen writer.-Life and career:Ward was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Miriam and Robert McCollum Ward. Ward has degrees from Pomona College , as well as both USC and the UCLA Film School...

, the story was inspired by real-life con games perpetrated by the brothers Fred and Charley Gondorff and documented by David Maurer
David Maurer
David Warren Maurer was a professor of linguistics at the University of Louisville from 1937 to 1972, and an author of numerous studies of the language of the American underworld....

 in his book The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man.

The title phrase refers to the moment when a con artist finishes the "play" and takes the mark's money. (Today the expression is mostly used in the context of law enforcement sting operation
Sting operation
In law enforcement, a sting operation is a deceptive operation designed to catch a person committing a crime. A typical sting will have a law-enforcement officer or cooperative member of the public play a role as criminal partner or potential victim and go along with a suspect's actions to gather...

s.) If a con game is successful, the mark does not realize he has been "taken" (cheated), at least not until the con men are long gone. The film is divided into distinct sections with old-fashioned title cards with lettering and illustrations rendered in a style reminiscent of the Saturday Evening Post. The film is noted for its musical score—particularly its main melody, "The Entertainer
The Entertainer (rag)
"The Entertainer" is sub-titled "A rag time two step", which was a form of dance popular until about 1911, and a style which was common among rags written at the time.Its structure is: Intro AA BB A CC Intro2 DD....

", a piano rag
Ragtime
Ragtime is an original musical genre which enjoyed its peak popularity between 1897 and 1918. Its main characteristic trait is its syncopated, or "ragged," rhythm. It began as dance music in the red-light districts of American cities such as St. Louis and New Orleans years before being published...

 by Scott Joplin
Scott Joplin
Scott Joplin was an American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime compositions, and was later dubbed "The King of Ragtime". During his brief career, Joplin wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas...

, which was lightly adapted for the movie by Marvin Hamlisch
Marvin Hamlisch
Marvin Frederick Hamlisch is an American composer. He is one of only thirteen people to have been awarded Emmys, Grammys, Oscars, and a Tony . He is also one of only two people to EGOT and also win a Pulitzer Prize...

 (and became a top-ten chart single for Hamlisch, when released as a single from the film's soundtrack). The film's success encouraged a surge of popularity and critical acclaim for Joplin's work.

The Sting was hugely successful at the 46th Academy Awards
46th Academy Awards
The 46th Academy Awards were presented April 2, 1974 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles. The ceremonies were presided over by John Huston, Diana Ross, Burt Reynolds, David Niven....

, being nominated for 10 Oscars and winning seven, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

Plot

Johnny Hooker, a grifter
Grifter
Grifter is a fictional comic book character from in the Wildstorm Universe. He is best known as a member of Jim Lee's WildC.A.T.S...

 from Depression-era
Great Depression in the United States
The Great Depression began with the Wall Street Crash of October, 1929 and rapidly spread worldwide. The market crash marked the beginning of a decade of high unemployment, poverty, low profits, deflation, plunging farm incomes, and lost opportunities for economic growth and personal advancement...

 Joliet, Illinois
Joliet, Illinois
Joliet is a city in Will and Kendall Counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, located southwest of Chicago. It is the county seat of Will County. As of the 2010 census, the city was the fourth-most populated in Illinois, with a population of 147,433. It continues to be Illinois' fastest growing...

, cons $11,000 in cash from an unsuspecting victim, with the aid of his partners Luther Coleman and Joe Erie. Buoyed by the windfall, Luther announces his retirement and advises Hooker to seek out an old friend, Henry Gondorff, in Chicago, to teach him “the big con.” Unfortunately, their victim was a numbers racket courier for vicious crime boss Doyle Lonnegan. Corrupt Joliet police Lieutenant William Snyder confronts Hooker, revealing Lonnegan's involvement and demanding part of Hooker’s cut. Having already spent his cut, Hooker pays Snyder in counterfeit bills. Lonnegan's men murder Luther, and Hooker flees for his life to Chicago.

Gondorff, a once-great con-man now hiding out from the FBI, is initially reluctant to take on the dangerous Lonnegan. However, Gondorff relents and decides to resurrect an elaborate and supposedly obsolete scam known as "the wire", using a large number of con artists to create a phony off-track betting
Off-track betting
Off-track betting refers to sanctioned gambling on horse racing outside a race track.-US history:...

 parlor.

Aboard the opulent 20th Century Limited
20th Century Limited
The 20th Century Limited was an express passenger train operated by the New York Central Railroad from 1902 to 1967, during which time it would become known as a "National Institution" and the "Most Famous Train in the World". In the year of its last run, The New York Times said that it "...was...

, Gondorff, posing as boorish Chicago bookie "Shaw", buys his way into Lonnegan's private high-stakes poker
Poker
Poker is a family of card games that share betting rules and usually hand rankings. Poker games differ in how the cards are dealt, how hands may be formed, whether the high or low hand wins the pot in a showdown , limits on bet sizes, and how many rounds of betting are allowed.In most modern poker...

 game and out-cheats Lonnegan, winning $15,000 from him and making Lonnegan furious. Hooker, posing as Shaw's disgruntled employee "Kelly", is sent to collect the winnings and instead convinces Lonnegan that he wants to take over Shaw's operation. Kelly reveals that he has a partner named Les Harmon (actually fellow con man “Kid Twist”) in the Chicago Western Union
Western Union
The Western Union Company is a financial services and communications company based in the United States. Its North American headquarters is in Englewood, Colorado. Up until 2006, Western Union was the best-known U.S...

 office, who will allow them to win bets on horse races by past-posting.

Meanwhile, Snyder has tracked Hooker to Chicago, but his pursuit is thwarted when he is summoned by undercover FBI agents led by Agent Polk, who orders him to assist in their scheme to arrest Gondorff using Hooker. Additionally, Lonnegan has grown frustrated with his men's inability to find and kill Hooker. Unaware that “Kelly” is Hooker, he demands that "Salino," his best assassin, kill Hooker. A mysterious figure with black leather gloves is soon seen following and observing Hooker.

Kelly's connection appears effective, as Harmon provides Lonnegan with the winner of one horse race and the trifecta
Trifecta
In horse racing terminology, a trifecta is a parimutuel bet in which the bettor must predict which horses will finish first, second, and third in exact order. The word comes from the related betting term, "perfecta". A trifecta is known as a tiercé in France and Hong Kong and as a tris in Italy.It...

 of another race. Lonnegan agrees to finance a $500,000 bet at Shaw's parlor to break Shaw and gain revenge. Shortly thereafter, Snyder captures Hooker and brings him before Agent Polk. Polk forces Hooker to betray Gondorff by threatening to incarcerate Luther Coleman's widow.

The night prior to the sting, Hooker sleeps with Loretta, a waitress at a local restaurant. As Hooker leaves the building the next morning, he sees Loretta walking toward him. The black-gloved man appears behind Hooker and shoots Loretta dead, later revealing her to be "Loretta Salino", Lonnegan's hired killer. The black-gloved man had been hired by Gondorff to protect Hooker.

Armed with Harmon’s tip to "place it on Lucky Dan", Lonnegan makes a $500,000 bet at Shaw’s parlor on Lucky Dan to win. As the race begins, Harmon arrives and expresses shock at Lonnegan's bet, explaining that his tip meant that Lucky Dan would finish second. A panicked Lonnegan rushes the teller window and demands his money back. Just then, Agent Polk, Lieutenant Snyder, and a dozen FBI officers storm the parlor. Polk confronts Gondorff, then tells Hooker he is free to go. Gondorff, reacting to the betrayal, shoots Hooker in the back; Polk then shoots Gondorff and orders Snyder to get Lonnegan away from the crime scene. With Lonnegan and Snyder safely away, Hooker and Gondorff rise amid cheers and laughter. Agent Polk is actually Hickey, a con man, running a con atop Gondorff's con to divert Snyder and provide a solid "blow off" to Gondorff's con. Hooker and Gondorff depart as the other con men strip the room of its contents.

Cast

  • Paul Newman
    Paul Newman
    Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

     as Henry "Shaw" Gondorff
  • Robert Redford
    Robert Redford
    Charles Robert Redford, Jr. , better known as Robert Redford, is an American actor, film director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, and founder of the Sundance Film Festival. He has received two Oscars: one in 1981 for directing Ordinary People, and one for Lifetime...

     as Johnny "Kelly" Hooker
  • Robert Shaw
    Robert Shaw (actor)
    Robert Archibald Shaw was an English actor and novelist, remembered for his performances in The Sting , From Russia with Love , A Man for All Seasons , the original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three , Black Sunday , The Deep and Jaws , where he played the shark hunter Quint.-Early life...

     as Doyle Lonnegan
  • Charles Durning
    Charles Durning
    Charles Durning is an American actor. With appearances in over 100 films, Durning's memorable roles include police officers in the Oscar-winning The Sting and crime drama Dog Day Afternoon , along with the comedies Tootsie, To Be Or Not To Be and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the last two...

     as Lt. William Snyder
  • Ray Walston
    Ray Walston
    Ray Walston was an American stage, television and film actor best known as the title character on the 1960s situation comedy My Favorite Martian. In addition, he is also remembered for his roles as Luther Billis in South Pacific , Mr. Applegate in Damn Yankees , J.J...

     as J.J. Singleton
  • Eileen Brennan
    Eileen Brennan
    Eileen Brennan is an American actress of film, television, and theater. Brennan is best known for her role as Doreen Lewis in Private Benjamin for which she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She reprised the role in the TV adaption and won a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy...

     as Billie
  • Harold Gould
    Harold Gould
    Harold V. Goldstein , best known by his stage name Harold Gould, was an American actor best known for playing Martin Morgenstern in the 1970s sitcoms Rhoda and The Mary Tyler Moore Show and as Miles Webber in The Golden Girls...

     as Kid Twist, aka Les Harmon
  • John Heffernan as Eddie Niles
  • Dana Elcar
    Dana Elcar
    Dana Elcar was an American television and movie character actor. Although he appeared in about 40 films, his most memorable role was on the 1980s and 1990s television series MacGyver as Peter Thornton, an administrator working for the Phoenix Foundation...

     as FBI Agent Polk, aka "Hickey"
  • James Sloyan
    James Sloyan
    James Joseph Sloyan is an American actor. He is married to actress Deirdre Lenihan with whom he has two children, Daniel and Samantha.- Early years :...

     as Mottola
  • Larry D. Mann
    Larry D. Mann
    Larry D. Mann is a Canadian actor. Prior to his acting career, he was a disk jockey on CHUM 1050 radio in Toronto in 1949. His best-known Canadian television exposure was in a Bell Canada series of commercials called "The Boss" in which he played the title role for ten years beginning in 1981...

     as Mr. Clemens
  • Sally Kirkland
    Sally Kirkland
    Sally Kirkland is an American film and television actress.-Early life:Kirkland was named after her mother, fashion editor Sally Kirkland, who was a fashion editor at Vogue and LIFE magazines, and was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her father, Frederic McMichael Kirkland, worked in the scrap...

     as Crystal ("Hooker's hooker")
  • Jack Kehoe
    Jack Kehoe
    Jack Kehoe is an American film actor appearing in a wide variety of films, including the crime dramas Serpico, The Pope of Greenwich Village, and Brian De Palma's 1987 The Untouchables, as well as the 1976 comedy Car Wash, and 1988 cult classic Midnight Run...

     as Joe Erie
  • Robert Earl Jones
    Robert Earl Jones
    Robert Earl Jones was an American actor. He is best known for his roles in the films The Cotton Club and The Sting and as the father of actor James Earl Jones.-Early life:...

     as Luther Coleman (credited as Robertearl Jones)
  • Dimitra Arliss
    Dimitra Arliss
    Dimitra Arliss , sometimes credited as Dimitra Arlys, is an American actress.Arliss became noticed after appearing in Arthur L. Kopit's Broadway play Indians in the 1960s in which she played a Native American character who spoke with an Italian accent...

     as Loretta Salino
  • Joe Tornatore as Black-gloved gunman
  • Charles Dierkop
    Charles Dierkop
    Charles Dierkop is an American film and television character actor.Dierkop was born in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and attended Aquinas High School in La Crosse...

     as Floyd, Lonnegan's Bodyguard
  • Lee Paul
    Lee Paul
    Lee Paul is an American actor who has appeared in many television shows primarily in the early and mid 1970s.-External links:*...

     as Lonnegan's bodyguard
  • Leonard Barr
    Leonard Barr
    Leonard Barr , born Leonard Barra, was an old-style, one-liner standup American comic in the tradition of Henny Youngman. He was the uncle of Dean Martin...

     as Leonard (burlesque comic)
  • Jack Collins
    Jack Collins (actor)
    Jack Collins, , is a stage, film, and television actor. He played Mike Brady's boss, Mr. Phillips, in the television series The Brady Bunch, and Peter Christopher's boss, baby-food manufacturer Max Brahms, in the short-lived sitcom Occasional Wife.-Filmography:*The Brady Bunch * The Other * The...

     as Duke Boudreau


Production

  • In 1974 The Big Con author David Maurer filed a ten million dollar lawsuit claiming at least part of the film's story had been taken from his book. The matter was resolved out of court in 1976.
  • The movie was filmed on the backlot of Universal Studios
    Universal Studios
    Universal Pictures , a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, is one of the six major movie studios....

    , with scenes also being shot at the Santa Monica Pier
    Santa Monica Pier
    The Santa Monica Pier is a large double-jointed pier located at the foot of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, California and is a prominent, 100-year-old landmark.-Pacific Park:...

     and in Pasadena
    Pasadena
    -Places:Places in Australia:*Pasadena, South Australia, a suburb of AdelaidePlaces in Canada:*Pasadena, NewfoundlandPlaces in the United States:*Pasadena, California*South Pasadena, California*South Pasadena, Florida*Pasadena, Maryland...

    .
  • Doyle Lonnegan's limp in the film, used to great effect by actor Robert Shaw, was in fact completely authentic as Shaw had slipped on a wet handball court at the Beverly Hills Hotel just a week before filming began and had split all the ligaments in his knee. He had to wear a leg brace during production which was kept hidden under the wide 1930s style trousers he wore. This incident was revealed by Julia Philips in her 1991 autobiography You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again
    You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again
    You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again is an autobiography by Julia Phillips, detailing her career as a film producer and disclosing the power games and debauchery of New Hollywood in the 1970s and 1980s...

    . She said that Shaw saved The Sting since no other actor would accept the part, that Paul Newman hand delivered the script to Shaw in London in order to ensure his participation, and that he had to be paid an extremely high salary. Philips' book also asserts that he was not nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award because he demanded that his name follow those of Newman and Redford before the film's opening title.
  • Rob Cohen
    Rob Cohen
    Robert "Rob" Cohen is an American film director, producer and writer.-Early life:Cohen was born in Cornwall, New York. He was raised and spent his childhood in the Town of Newburgh and graduated from Newburgh Free Academy in 1967...

    , later a director of 1990s action films like The Fast and the Furious
    The Fast and the Furious (2001 film)
    The Fast and the Furious is a 2001 street racing action film starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster. Directed by Rob Cohen, The Fast and the Furious was the first mainstream film to feature the Asian automotive import scene in North America. It is the first film...

    , years later told of how he found the script in the slush pile
    Slush pile
    In publishing, the slush pile is the set of unsolicited query letters or manuscripts sent either directly to the publisher or literary agent by authors, or to the publisher by an agent not known to the publisher....

     when he was working as a reader
    Publisher's reader
    A publisher's reader or first reader is a person paid by a publisher or book club to read manuscripts from the slush pile, and to advise their employers as to quality and marketability of the work. They can exercise considerable influence over the offerings of the publishers for whom they worked,...

     for Mike Medavoy
    Mike Medavoy
    Morris Mike Medavoy is an American film producer and executive, co-founder of Orion Pictures , former chairman of TriStar Pictures, former head of production for United Artists and current chairman and CEO of Phoenix Pictures.-Early life and career:Medavoy was born in Shanghai, China in 1941 to...

    , a future studio head then an agent
    Talent agent
    A talent agent, or booking agent, is a person who finds jobs for actors, authors, film directors, musicians, models, producers, professional athletes, writers and other people in various entertainment businesses. Having an agent is not required, but does help the artist in getting jobs...

    . He wrote in his coverage
    Script coverage
    Script coverage is a filmmaking term for the analysis and grading of screenplays, often within the "script development" department of a production company....

     that it was "the great American screenplay and ... will make an award-winning, major-cast, major-director film." Medavoy said that he would try to sell it on that recommendation and promised to fire Cohen if he couldn't. Universal bought it that afternoon, and Cohen still has the coverage framed on the wall of his office.

Reception

The film received rave reviews and was a box office
Box office
A box office is a place where tickets are sold to the public for admission to an event. Patrons may perform the transaction at a countertop, through an unblocked hole through a wall or window, or at a wicket....

 smash in 1973-74, taking in more than US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

160 million. In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry
National Film Registry
The National Film Registry is the United States National Film Preservation Board's selection of films for preservation in the Library of Congress. The Board, established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, was reauthorized by acts of Congress in 1992, 1996, 2005, and again in October 2008...

 by the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

 as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Wins

The film won seven Academy Awards and received three other nominations. Julia Phillips became the first female producer to win Best Picture at the 46th Academy Awards
46th Academy Awards
The 46th Academy Awards were presented April 2, 1974 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles. The ceremonies were presided over by John Huston, Diana Ross, Burt Reynolds, David Niven....

.
  • Academy Award for Best Picture
    Academy Award for Best Picture
    The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

  • Academy Award for Directing
    Academy Award for Directing
    The Academy Award for Achievement in Directing , usually known as the Best Director Oscar, is one of the Awards of Merit presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to directors working in the motion picture industry...

     - (George Roy Hill
    George Roy Hill
    George Roy Hill was an American film director. He is most noted for directing such films as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, which both starred the acting duo Paul Newman and Robert Redford...

    )
  • Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay - (David S. Ward
    David S. Ward
    David Schad Ward is an American film director and screen writer.-Life and career:Ward was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Miriam and Robert McCollum Ward. Ward has degrees from Pomona College , as well as both USC and the UCLA Film School...

    )
  • Academy Award for Best Art Direction
    Academy Award for Best Art Direction
    The Academy Awards are the oldest awards ceremony for achievements in motion pictures. The Academy Award for Best Art Direction recognizes achievement in art direction on a film. The films below are listed with their production year, so the Oscar 2000 for best art direction went to a film from 1999...

      - (Henry Bumstead and James W. Payne
    James W. Payne
    James W. Payne was an American set decorator. He won an Academy Award and was nominated for two more in the category Best Art Direction.-Selected filmography:Payne won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction and was nominated for two more:Won...

    )
  • Academy Award for Best Costume Design  - (Edith Head
    Edith Head
    Edith Head was an American costume designer who won eight Academy Awards, more than any other woman.-Early life and career:...

    )
  • Academy Award for Film Editing
    Academy Award for Film Editing
    The Academy Award for Film Editing is one of the annual awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Nominations for this award are closely correlated with the Academy Award for Best Picture. Since 1981, every film selected as Best Picture has also been nominated for the Film Editing...

     - (William H. Reynolds)
  • Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring Original Song Score and/or Adaptation
    Academy Award for Original Music Score
    The Academy Award for Original Score is presented to the best substantial body of music in the form of dramatic underscoring written specifically for the film by the submitting composer.-Superlatives:...

     - (Marvin Hamlisch
    Marvin Hamlisch
    Marvin Frederick Hamlisch is an American composer. He is one of only thirteen people to have been awarded Emmys, Grammys, Oscars, and a Tony . He is also one of only two people to EGOT and also win a Pulitzer Prize...

    )
  • Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures
    Directors Guild of America
    Directors Guild of America is an entertainment labor union which represents the interests of film and television directors in the United States motion picture industry...

     - (George Roy Hill)

Nominations

  • Academy Award for Best Actor
    Academy Award for Best Actor
    Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

     - (Robert Redford
    Robert Redford
    Charles Robert Redford, Jr. , better known as Robert Redford, is an American actor, film director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, and founder of the Sundance Film Festival. He has received two Oscars: one in 1981 for directing Ordinary People, and one for Lifetime...

    )
  • Academy Award for Best Cinematography
    Academy Award for Best Cinematography
    The Academy Award for Best Cinematography is an Academy Award awarded each year to a cinematographer for work in one particular motion picture.-History:...

     - (Robert Surtees
    Robert Surtees (cinematographer)
    Robert L. Surtees, A.S.C. was an American cinematographer who won Academy Awards three times, for the films King Solomon's Mines, The Bad and the Beautiful and the 1959 version of Ben Hur.His son Bruce is also a cinematographer.-Cinematography:Robert L...

    )
  • Academy Award for Sound
    Academy Award for Sound
    The Academy Award for Sound Mixing is an Academy Award that recognizes the finest or most euphonic sound mixing or recording, and is generally awarded to the production sound mixers and re-recording mixers of the winning film. Compare this award to the Academy Award for Sound Editing...

     - (Ronald Pierce
    Ronald Pierce (sound engineer)
    Ronald Pierce was an American sound engineer. He won an Academy Award for Best Sound and was nominated for two more in the same category.-Selected filmography:Pierce won an Academy Award and was nominated for two more:Won* Earthquake Nominated...

     & Robert R. Bertrand
    Robert R. Bertrand
    Robert R. Bertrand was an American sound engineer. He was nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Sound for the film The Sting.-External links:...

    )
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture - (David S. Ward
    David S. Ward
    David Schad Ward is an American film director and screen writer.-Life and career:Ward was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Miriam and Robert McCollum Ward. Ward has degrees from Pomona College , as well as both USC and the UCLA Film School...

    )
  • WGA Award for Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen
    Writers Guild of America, East
    Writers Guild of America, East is a labor union representing writers of television and film and employees of television and radio news. The 2006 membership of the guild was 3,770....

     - (David S. Ward)
  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies
  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs
  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains:
    • Doyle Lonnegan - Villain (Robert Shaw
      Robert Shaw (actor)
      Robert Archibald Shaw was an English actor and novelist, remembered for his performances in The Sting , From Russia with Love , A Man for All Seasons , the original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three , Black Sunday , The Deep and Jaws , where he played the shark hunter Quint.-Early life...

      )
  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition)

Music

The soundtrack album, which was executive produced by Gil Rodin
Gil Rodin
Gil Rodin was an American jazz saxophonist, songwriter, and record producer. He was born in Russia.Rodin studied saxophone, clarinet, flute, and trumpet as a youngster. He played in Chicago with Art Kahn in the middle of the 1920s. He moved to California and played with Harry Bastin before joining...

, contained the following selections, most of which are Scott Joplin
Scott Joplin
Scott Joplin was an American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime compositions, and was later dubbed "The King of Ragtime". During his brief career, Joplin wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas...

 ragtime
Ragtime
Ragtime is an original musical genre which enjoyed its peak popularity between 1897 and 1918. Its main characteristic trait is its syncopated, or "ragged," rhythm. It began as dance music in the red-light districts of American cities such as St. Louis and New Orleans years before being published...

 pieces. Ragtime had just experienced a revival due to several recordings by Joshua Rifkin
Joshua Rifkin
Joshua Rifkin is an American conductor, keyboard player, and musicologist. He is best known by the general public for having played a central role in the ragtime revival in the 1970s with the three albums he recorded of Scott Joplin's works for Nonesuch Records, and to classical musicians for his...

 on Nonesuch Records
Nonesuch Records
Nonesuch Records is an American record label, owned by Warner Music Group and distributed by Warner Bros. Records.-Company history:Nonesuch was founded in 1964 by Jac Holzman to produce "fine records at the same price as a trade paperback", which would be half the price of a normal LP...

 starting with Scott Joplin: Piano Rags
Scott Joplin: Piano Rags
Scott Joplin: Piano Rags is a 1970 ragtime piano album, consisting of compositions by Scott Joplin played by Joshua Rifkin, on the Nonesuch Records label. The album cover states the name as Piano Rags by Scott Joplin. The record is considered to have been the first to reintroduce the music of...

in 1970. There are some variances from the actual film soundtrack, as noted. Joplin's ragtime music was no longer popular during the 1930s, although its use in The Sting evokes a definitive 1930s gangster movie, The Public Enemy
The Public Enemy
The Public Enemy is a 1931 American Pre-Code crime film starring James Cagney and directed by William A. Wellman. The film relates the story of a young man's rise in the criminal underworld in prohibition-era urban America...

, which also featured Joplin's music. The two Jazz Age
Jazz Age
The Jazz Age was a movement that took place during the 1920s or the Roaring Twenties from which jazz music and dance emerged. The movement came about with the introduction of mainstream radio and the end of the war. This era ended in the 1930s with the beginning of The Great Depression but has...

 style tunes written by Hamlisch are chronologically much closer to the film's time period than are the Joplin rags:
  1. "Solace" (Joplin) - orchestral version
  2. "The Entertainer
    The Entertainer (rag)
    "The Entertainer" is sub-titled "A rag time two step", which was a form of dance popular until about 1911, and a style which was common among rags written at the time.Its structure is: Intro AA BB A CC Intro2 DD....

    " (Joplin) - orchestral version
  3. "The Easy Winners
    The Easy Winners
    "The Easy Winners" is a ragtime composition by Scott Joplin. One of his most popular works, it was one of the four that had been recorded as of 1940.-Musical structure:...

    " (Joplin)
  4. "Hooker's Hooker" (Hamlisch)
  5. "Luther" - same basic tune as "Solace", re-arranged by Hamlisch as a dirge
    Dirge
    A dirge is a somber song expressing mourning or grief, such as would be appropriate for performance at a funeral. A lament. The English word "dirge" is derived from the Latin Dirige, Domine, Deus meus, in conspectu tuo viam meam , the first words of the first antiphon in the Matins of the Office...

  6. "Pine Apple Rag" / "Gladiolus Rag" medley (Joplin)
  7. "The Entertainer" (Joplin) - piano version
  8. "The Glove" (Hamlisch) - a Jazz Age style number; only a short segment was used in the film
  9. "Little Girl" (Madeline Hyde, Francis Henry) - not in the final cut of the film
  10. "Pine Apple Rag" (Joplin)
  11. "Merry-Go-Round Music" medley (traditional) - "Listen to the Mocking Bird" was the only portion of this track that was actually used in the film, along with the second segment of "King Cotton", a Sousa
    John Philip Sousa
    John Philip Sousa was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era, known particularly for American military and patriotic marches. Because of his mastery of march composition, he is known as "The March King" or the "American March King" due to his British counterpart Kenneth J....

     march, which was not on the album
  12. "Solace" (Joplin) - piano version
  13. "The Entertainer" / "The Ragtime Dance
    The Ragtime Dance
    "The Ragtime Dance" is a piece of ragtime music by Scott Joplin, first published in 1902.-Publication history:Although the piece was performed in Sedalia, Missouri on November 24, 1899, it wasn't published until 1902. John Stillwell Stark had announced the publication of "The Ragtime Dance" in...

    " medley (Joplin)


The album sequence differs from the film sequence, a standard practice with vinyl LPs, often for aesthetic reasons. Some additional content differences:
  • Selected snippets of Joplin's works, some appearing on the album and some not, provided linking music over the title cards that were used to introduce major scenes. (The final card, "The Sting", introducing the film's dramatic conclusion, had no music at all.)
  • Some of the tunes in the film are different takes than those on the album.
  • A Joplin tune used in the film but not appearing in the soundtrack album was "Cascades". The middle (fast) portion of it was played when Hooker was running away from Snyder along the 'L'
    Chicago 'L'
    The L is the rapid transit system serving the city of Chicago and some of its surrounding suburbs. It is operated by the Chicago Transit Authority...

     train platform.
  • The credits end with "The Rag-time Dance" (Joplin) medley which features a 'stop-time' motif similar to a later work "Stop-Time Rag" (Joplin).

Chart positions

Year Chart Position
1974 Billboard 200 1
Australian Kent Music Report
Kent Music Report
The Kent Music Report was a weekly record chart of Australian music singles and albums which was compiled by music enthusiast David Kent from May 1974 through to 1998...

 Albums Chart


Sequel

A less-successful sequel with different players, The Sting II
The Sting II
The Sting II is an 1983 film sequel to The Sting. Directed by Jeremy Kagan and written by David S. Ward , it stars Jackie Gleason, Mac Davis, Teri Garr, Karl Malden and Oliver Reed...

, appeared in 1983. In the same year a prequel was also planned, exploring the earlier career of Henry Gondorff. Famous confidence man Soapy Smith
Soapy Smith
Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith II was an American con artist and gangster who had a major hand in the organized criminal operations of Denver, Colorado; Creede, Colorado; and Skagway, Alaska, from 1879 to 1898. He was killed in the famed Shootout on Juneau Wharf...

was scripted to be Gondorff's mentor. When the sequel failed, the prequel was scrapped.

Home media

A deluxe DVD, The Sting: Special Edition (part of the Universal Legacy Series) was released in September 2005, including a "making of" featurette and interviews with the cast and crew.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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