🎥 The Sting – 1973

The Story …

In 1936, amid the Great Depression, grifter Johnny Hooker and his partners Luther Coleman and Joe Erie con $11,000 in cash from an unsuspecting victim in Joliet, Illinois.

Hooker loses his share of the con on a rigged roulette game, while Luther, buoyed by the windfall, decides to retire.

He tells Hooker to seek out his old friend Henry Gondorff in Chicago to learn “the big con”. Corrupt Joliet police lieutenant William Snyder confronts Hooker, revealing that their mark was a courier for vicious Irish-American crime boss Doyle Lonnegan. Lonnegan’s men murder the courier and Luther, and Hooker flees to Chicago …

Hooker finds Gondorff in hiding from the FBI, running a carousel that is a front for a brothel and asks for help taking down Lonnegan. Initially reluctant, Gondorff relents and recruits a team of experienced con men.

They decide to resurrect an elaborate, obsolete scam known as “the wire”, using a large crew to create a phoney off-track betting parlour. Snyder and Lonnegan’s men track Hooker to Chicago; Gondorff warns Hooker that if either of them finds him, the con will have to fold.

Aboard the opulent 20th Century Limited, Gondorff, posing as the boorish Chicago bookie “Shaw”, buys into Lonnegan’s private, high-stakes poker game and infuriates Lonnegan with obnoxious behaviour, then cheats him out of $15,000.

Hooker, posing as Shaw’s disgruntled employee “Kelly”, is sent to collect the winnings and to convince Lonnegan to help him take over “Shaw”‘s operation. Hooker returns home to find Lonnegan’s men waiting for him, but avoids their pursuit; Gondorff is spooked by their proximity, but Hooker convinces him to keep the con alive.

Snyder’s pursuit of Hooker attracts the attention of undercover FBI agents led by Agent Polk, who orders Snyder to bring Hooker in to entrap Gondorff.

Meanwhile, Lonnegan, frustrated with his men’s inability to kill Hooker for the Joliet con, orders the job to be given to Salino, his best assassin. A mysterious figure with black leather gloves begins following and observing Hooker.

“Kelly” gives Lonnegan a tip on a 7-to-1 long shot that pays off; when Lonnegan presses him for details, he reveals that he has a partner, “Les Harmon” (actually con man Kid Twist), in the Chicago Western Union office, who will help them topple “Shaw” by winning bets he books on horse races through past-posting.

Lonnegan is convinced after being provided the trifecta of another race and agrees to finance a $500,000 bet to break “Shaw” and get revenge. Shortly thereafter, Snyder captures Hooker and brings him before Polk, who forces Hooker to betray Gondorff by threatening to jail Luther Coleman’s widow.

Feeling despondent the night before the sting, Hooker sleeps with a diner waitress named Loretta. The next morning, as she walks toward him in an alley, the black-gloved man appears and shoots her dead.

The man reveals that he was hired by Gondorff to protect Hooker and reveals that the waitress was in fact Salino.

At “Harmon’s” direction, Lonnegan bets $500,000 at “Shaw”‘s parlour on a horse named Lucky Dan. As the race begins, “Harmon” arrives and expresses shock at Lonnegan’s bet: when he said “place it” he meant that the horse would “place” (i.e., finish second).

In a panic, Lonnegan rushes to the teller window and demands his money back, at which point Polk, Snyder, and a half-dozen FBI agents storm the parlour. Polk tells Hooker he is free to go; shocked at the betrayal, Gondorff shoots Hooker in the back.

Polk shoots Gondorff and orders Snyder to get the ostensibly respectable Lonnegan away from the crime scene. With Lonnegan and Snyder safely away, Hooker and Gondorff rise amid cheers and laughter: “Polk” is actually Hickey, running a con within the con to divert Snyder and ensure that Lonnegan abandons the money and never knows he was taken.

As the con men strip the room of its contents, Hooker refuses his share of the money, claiming he would lose it anyways, and walks away with Gondorff …

Credits :

  • Directed by George Roy Hill
  • Written by David S.Ward
  • Produced by Tony Bill, Michael Phillips and Julia Phillips
  • Cinematography : Robert Surtees
  • Edited by William Reynolds
  • Music by Marvin Hamlisch
  • Production Companis : 
    Universal Pictures and The Zanuck/Brown Company
  • Distributed by Universal Pictures
  • Release Date : December 25, 1973

Cast :

  • Paul Newman as Henry Gondorff
  • Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker
  • Robert Shaw as Doyle Lonnegan
  • Charles Durning as Lt. William Snyder
  • Ray Walston as J.J. Singleton
  • Eileen Brennan as Billie
  • Harold Gould as Kid Twist
  • John Heffernan as Eddie Niles
  • Dana Elcar as FBI Agent Polk
  • Jack Kehoe as Erie Kid
  • Dimitra Arliss as Loretta
  • Robert Earl Jones as Luther Coleman
  • James J. Sloyan as Mottola
  • Charles Dierkop as Floyd
  • Lee Paul as Lonnegan’s second bodyguard
  • Sally Kirkland as Crystal
  • Avon Long as Benny Garfield
  • Arch Johnson as Combs
  • Ed Bakey as Granger
  • Brad Sullivan as Cole
  • John Quade as Riley
  • Larry D. Mann as Clemens
  • Leonard Barr as Leonard
  • Paulene Myers as Alva Coleman
  • Joe Tornatore as Black Gloved Gunman
  • Jack Collins as Duke Boudreau
  • Tom Spratley as Curly Jackson
  • Kenneth O’Brien as Greer
  • Ken Sansom as Western Union Executive
  • Ta-Tanisha as Louise
  • William “Billy” Benedict as Jimmy

Film Information Source :


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