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The Sting

Year: 1973
Director: George Roy Hill
Producer: Michael & Julia Phillips
Cast: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw, Charles Durning
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Fresh from their success in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, this film further cemented one of cinematic history's most memorable pairings.

It's also the kind of story I love, where everything's set up from the beginning but you, as the audience, aren't privy to the plan until just at the right moment.

A street hustler (Redford) is sent to stay with a washed up master swindler (Newman) until the heat on him dies down after he rips off a bagman for a local crime boss (Shaw).

When Shaw orders a hit on his former friend and partner, he wants revenge, and convinces the older man to help his set up the ultimate Sting to draw in the fearsome mob boss.

The plan is played to perfection with an elaborate ruse, cast of characters and setup. That they play the bad guy (along with corrupt cop Durning) for an impressive loot is hardly the point; it's the genius of the scam. Long before the Academy entered its aversion to popular films, it got Best Picture in 1974, and is also the first major film in the career of tell-all Hollywood author Julia Phillips.

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