To start off the Best Picture Winner posts, I decided to start with a film that people have been telling me to watch for years. In 1974, the Best Picture Winner was a film by the name of The Sting. Quite possibly one of the greatest con artist films ever made, I could not believe the pure delight that came from watching this film.
When following the con itself, the plot of this film can get quite complicated but it is possible to give a brief overview. The film follows the story of a young con man, Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford). When we meet Mr. Hooker, he is small time, pulling cons on random suckers he finds on the street. When he and his partner Luther Coleman (Robert Earl Jones) steal from the wrong man it results in Luther’s death. Thirsty for revenge, Hooker decides to set his sights on the man who killed his friend, criminal banker Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). Choosing to aim his first long con at Lonnegan, Hooker teams up with the legendary Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) to take Lonnegan for all he’s worth.
Barreling through a complicated, multi-step con while dodging and tricking police officers and the FBI, Gondorff and Hooker create the definition of suave through their actions. Clad in dress suits and adapting multiple personas, Gondorff and Hooker play some of the coolest characters ever put on the big screen. Newman and Redford play the two characters perfectly. Equipped with an amusing, light hearted banter, the two pepper the film with humor. Not only was the film filled with brilliant performances but it was also fueled by a soundtrack of Ragtime music that film the film perfectly.
Taking the Best Picture win in 1974 was no laughing matter for The Sting. Not only was it up against George Lucas’ American Graffiti but it also beat out Cries and Whispers, A Touch of Class and the horror classic The Exorcist. Of the other nominees I have only seen The Exorcist but I am still willing to say that The Sting deserved. Watching the film was pure entertainment, making the film fun to watch. Overall I give the film a 9 out 10. Not only is every performance perfect but the film itself is a blast to watch. After seeing Ocean’s Eleven for the first time, I never thought I would see a con artist movie that would be more fun but I have to say, The Sting was even better.