The Sting ★★★★½

I have a strong contrarian streak in me. Unless it's in a genre I love, I tend to resist going to movies that are extremely popular. And in the period of 1973-74, The Sting was very popular, indeed.

In the waning years of the Great Depression, Robert Redford plays an up-and-coming grifter who hits it big when he and his confederates accidentally target a mobster carrying the week's take from a gambling outfit. Unfortunately, the leader of that mob (played by Robert Shaw) doesn't take kindly to being robbed himself, and sets out hit men to take care of these con men.

Enter Paul Newman as a con man so successful he has a Federal warrant out for his arrest, who becomes Redford's mentor, and engineers a remarkably elaborate revenge scheme.

The Sting just feels right, from a meticulously researched script (screenwright David S. Ward is given a credit under the title, like the author of a book) to the period production design to the ragtime score adapted by Marvin Hamlisch, which was a staple on AM radio at the time.

A very solid, entertaining movie.