Featuring an all-star cast, headed by Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw, ‘The Sting’ is a stylish, meticulously detailed crime drama film, released by Universal Pictures in 1973. Set in Depression-era Illinois, principally Chicago, ‘The Sting’ was directed by George Roy Hill,who had previously directed Newman and Redford in ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ four years earlier.
Seeking to avenge the murder of his partner Luther Coleman (Robert Earl Jones), petty swindler Johnny Hooker (Redford) heads to Chicago to seek out fellow grifter Henry Gondorff (Newman). Together, they perpetrate an elaborate hoax – the ‘big con’ – with the intention of financially ruining
criminal overlord Doyle Lonnegan, whose henchmen were responsible for the death of Luther Coleman.
Resurrecting an obsolete scam, known as ‘The Wire’, and aided and abetted by a cast of characters, not least bogus tipster Kid Twist (Harold Gould), Gondorrf and Hooker create a fake betting parlour and convince Lonnegan to bet $500,000 on a horse called Lucky Dan to win. Just before the supposed ‘off’, Twist informs Lonnegan that Lucky Dan will finish second and, as he attempts to retrieve his money, FBI agents raid the betting parlour.
Agent Polk (Dana Elcar) – who, unbeknown to the audience, is part of the con – tells Hooker he can leave and Gondorff, apparently betrayed by his partner in crime, shoots Hooker in the back. Polk shoots Gondorff and, in the commotion, Agent Synder (Charles Durning), a real FBI agent who has been pursuing Hooker since early in the film, ushers Lonnegan from the building. Once the coast is clear, Hooker and Gondorff rise, unharmed and smiling, to their feet and riotous celebrations begin.