The Sting is a 1973 American caper film set in September 1936 that involves a complicated plot by two professional grifters (Paul Newman and Robert Redford) to con a mob boss (Robert Shaw). The film was directed by George Roy Hill, who previously directed Newman and Redford in the western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Created by screenwriter David S. Ward, the story was inspired by real-life con games perpetrated by the brothers Fred and Charley Gondorff and documented by David Maurer 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 operations.) 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", a piano rag by Scott Joplin, which was lightly adapted for the movie by Marvin Hamlisch. The film's success encouraged a surge of popularity and critical acclaim for Joplin's work.
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