review for The Sting on AllMovie

The Sting (1973)
by Lucia Bozzola review

Reuniting the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) dream team of Robert Redford, Paul Newman, and director George Roy Hill, The Sting (1973) showed that box-office lightning could strike twice, especially with a cleverly and lavishly produced comedy. Amid the meticulously recreated 1930s setting, with costumes designed by grande dame Edith Head and shiny vintage cars, The Sting's elaborate con game is driven along by properly jaunty Scott Joplin ragtime music, re-orchestrated by Marvin Hamlisch, further adding to the period flavor. Even as film-school graduate David S. Ward's script dealt with a corrupt world, the charming Redford/Newman chemistry and the period appeal lent the potential darkness a glossily entertaining surface. A few critics may have complained that the box-office formula was too obvious, but nobody could deny that Universal's money had resulted in a well-executed film. Produced by actor Tony Bill and young newcomers Michael Phillips and Julia Phillips, The Sting appealed to audiences young and old, turning it into one of the biggest hits of the 1970s. Nominated for ten Oscars, The Sting won seven, including Director, Screenplay, Art Direction, Adapted Score, and Costumes, while Julia Phillips became the first woman to win a Best Picture prize.