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4.6 out of 5 stars
The Sting (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2007
Honestly i've seen better HD DVD's but still this one is remastered like crazy,its a hell of alot clearer than the original dvd release and its amazing to see what they can do with movies such as old as this one. I mean 1973 this movie comes out and after watching the HD DVD you would think it was a new release. All in all to keep this short this is an amazing film and you should pick it up on HD DVD right now!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2005
Here's the real deal. The U.S. out-of-print "The Sting" DVD's are full screen. The U.S. September 6, 2005 "The Sting" DVD is cropped widescreen. I have watched both presentations, and BOTH ARE FINE. Neither presentation distracts from the FUN. If widescreen gives you a warm fuzzy feeling, get the new one. Purists will want the old full screen with no top/bottom picture loss. The dreaded "This film has been modified from its original version - It has been formatted to fit this screen." message on the 1998 full screen version is MISLEADING. The only "modification" is more picture at the top and more picture at the bottom than the widescreen theatrical release had. The director shot the film using 35 mm 4:3 open matte, but his bosses chose to crop the theatrical version. Oh, and note that this and all earlier reviews were written before the September 6, 2005 cropped widescreen version release date.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2000
The acting is wonderful, the suprises are unpredictable, and overall, this is one of the most original movies I've ever seen in my life. There can be no duplicates. And evey time i watch this movie, some how I notice about five things I've never seen before, like it changes every time. And no, I'm not an old movie collector or total classic lover, actually, I'm only sixteen. But this is easily one of my favorite movies in history. My favorite scene is with the card playing on the train.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The film is a classic, the restoration is beautiful, and the restored audio is excellent, with one inexplicable gaff. During a humorous dialog exchange, one of Redford's funniest lines is replaced with a sanitized-for-TV dub, which I had only ever heard on the broadcast version of the movie.

Original Dialog

Gondorf: Luther didn't tell me you had a big mouth.

Hooker: He didn't tell me you was a f**k-up, neither.

The perfect timing of the exchange is blown to bits by the dubbed in line, "He didn't tell me you was a screw-up, neither," which has neither the delivery nor the comic impact of Redford's original. Even if it meant getting the film re-rated, this movie deserved better treatment. Why a company would go the all the effort of restoring a classic, award-winning film, then leave in a clumsy, laugh-robbing dub like this, is a complete mystery to me.

Other than this one cringing moment, it's a true gem.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2005
...I am a cinematography purist. I'm giving it 5 stars anyway, because this film is that good!

The 1998 DVD release of "The Sting" was not a "pan-and-scan" treatment -- as incorrectly stated (still!) in the amazon.com listing for it -- but the whole, uncut film image, presented as intended by the director and cinematographer. George Roy Hill and Robert Surtees shot it as a 1.33:1 (4:3) film, and intended it to be seen in theaters that way. But the studio chickened out, thinking that people wouldn't want to see a 1.33:1 film 19 years after widescreen revolutionized the moviegoing experience in 1954, so they matted it into 1.85:1 widescreen and altered the cinematographer's craft and the director's intent. Not good!

I used to call myself a "widescreen fan," but what I have really always been is a "cinematography purist," or an "as the director intended" fan of filmed images. Virtually all "widescreen fans" of home video releases really are "cinematography purists" like me. Embrace yourself and your label, and embrace 4:3 if a film called for it!

Many 1.85:1 widescreen films are shot in 4:3, with the full intention by the director and cinematographer to matte them into 1.85:1 format for theatrical release. So they shoot scenes accordingly, not worrying too much about the very top and very bottom of the images in the camera eye, because they will be matted away. What is different here is that "The Sting" was meant to remain a 4:3 film in the theaters, and so was shot accordingly, with Surtees' full use of the 4:3 frame. If you matte it, you lose parts of the intended images, which detracts from the overall experience, and for some films this means ruin.

If you are a film fan, you want to see what the director intended you to see, don't you? All Universal had to do was explain on the back of the DVD box that the film is presented as the director and cinematographer wanted it shown. This makes us purists happy, and also happens to please the dwindling number of people who hate black bars at the top and bottom of the screen -- with all the TV shows and commercials done in widescreen these days, they are getting used to it!

All studios should explain director intent in a small paragraph on their video boxes, so that we who are not film historians can discover whether any particular full-screen DVD release is a pre-widescreen film, a horrible "pan-and-scan" butchery, or a 4:3 oddity in the widescreen world. (FYI, many films from the mid- to late-1950s were meant to be 4:3, because although widescreen films existed and wowed audiences from late 1953, it took some time for the studios and their theaters to convert over to [virtually] all widescreen releases.)

I wrote to Universal to ask them to provide this restored print edition in a 4:3 full-screen, un-matted release, but sadly they have no plans to do so. I guess I'll have to be content to remain faithful to my old copy until they see the light.

So I suppose there are now some widescreen TV junkies out there who hate all 4:3 films and TV shows because of the black bars at the left and right of the screen....
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2005
If you are a fan of "The Sting", purchasing this disc is a no-brainer. As for the arguement that this is not widescreen, I can only say that I have a 65inch widescreen television, and this picture fills the screen from top to bottom and side to side. The picture quality is exceptional. It has never looked better. The sound remix into 5.1 really adds to the experience of this wonderful music score. Extras are good, but the real reason for buying this disc is to experience the film in a way that has not been seen since its original theatrical presentation.

If you buy this disc, you will not be disappointed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
"The Sting" has gone down in Hollywood history as being one of the best fims of all-time. Winner of a whopping 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture of 1973, "The Sting" stars gorgeous Robert Redford and Paul Newman as con artists in 1930's Chicago trying to con the head of the mafia, played superbly by Robert Shaw. The best gangster film of its kind, the frontrunner for that years Oscar for Best Picture was "The Exorcist, but "The Sting" would come out on top. A superb film with an amazing cast, "The Sting" has never aged.
The DVD is beautiful and comes in a 2 disc set that opens up like a book. One disc has the newly restored WIDESCREEN format of the film, and the other has a ton of special features, including the original theatrical trailer, as well as a wonderful documentary on the movie, with interviews with Redford and Newman, as well as Eileen Brennan who plays a woman working for the Newman character, sort of a madame-type role.
These kinds of flims are not made anymore in Hollywood. What makes the film is the amazing script.
Julia Phillips, who was one of the producers of the film, and who would go on to be the first woman to ever receive an Oscar for Best Picture, has written a fabulous book called "You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again", about her experiences in Hollywood. The book features some great anecodotes on "The Sting".
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2005
First, my rating of three stars is strictly for the execution of this new DVD edition of The Sting, and not of the movie itself, which I consider a masterpiece in terms of both entertainment and craftsmanship. The Sting is easily one of my top 10 films of all time. Other reviews here cover the movie itself.

REVIEW OF THE LEGACY SERIES DVD EDITION

For the purpose of comparison, I'll first discuss Universal's original mediocre DVD release of The Sting in 1.33:1, which is basically full screen. I, like many others, have grown accustomed to anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen and thus was initially disappointed and assumed it was pan-and-scam. However, with some research later I discovered that the director's original intent was to frame it as an old movie at 4:3, which is how it was shown when originally released in 1973. 1.33:1 is actually pretty close, so I was satisfied with the aspect ratio after all.

Regrettably, the digital transfer of original old DVD release is watchable but uninspiring; it's washed out, grainy, and there are noticeable artifacts throughout. Also, less important to me but still notable, it effectively offers no extras and the sound quality is merely adequate.

The new Legacy Series DVD just released (Sept 6, 2005) attempts to offer a more respectable package for an Oscar-winning classic. The case is attractive and of relative good quality, Universal made the effort to interview key surviving cast members (George Roy Hill and Robert Shaw are sadly no longer with us) for a worthy 60 minute retrospective documentary, and, most important, delivered a cleaner, brighter, and sharper print with good sound. (There is a quick frame jump right after the opening credits, however. A minor nitpick, but it's noticeable.)

Unfortunately, Universal really blew it in one regard. They decided to deliver the new version as widescreen, despite it not being originally filmed that way. To do this, they simply added black bars to the top and bottom of the screen to achieve 1.85:1. In other words, they faked it. I suppose because the general DVD viewing audience has grown accustomed to expect widescreen now, the bean counters at Universal must have decided to meet these expectations, and with the director dead, there was no dissent.

This is very unfortunate, because -- and I did a side-by-side comparison between both DVD versions -- the simulated anamorphic treatment cuts off the top and bottom of the film to a fair degree. I'd estimate perhaps 10-15% of the film is lost. Heads and hats are cut, and many other details are obscured. Although this might seem trivial to many, it does alter the original presentation and overall feel of the movie.

Although the original DVD is not 4:3, 1.33:1 is much closer to 4:3 than 1.85:1 is, and it's a big difference.

If Universal had just left it at 1.33:1 with the new print and extras, this would have been an excellent version. Perhaps someday they'll get it right.

So, what to do? If you want the original presentation as intended by the director and don't mind a marginal print, go with the old DVD. If a cleaner print is more important and you want the documentary, get the new version. As a huge fan of this film, I guess I'll keep both for now.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2001
"The Sting" is an extremely well written story by David Ward ("Major League", "Sleepless in Seattle") and David Maurer about some smalltime grifters who attempt to swindle a mob boss. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards in 1974 and won seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. It reunited director George Roy Hill, Robert Redford and Paul Newman four years after their blockbuster, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". Strangely, although Butch and Sundance made it to number 50 on AFI's top 100 of the century, this film did not make that list. This is even more surprising since "Butch" did not win the Oscar for Best Picture in 1970 ("Midnight Cowboy" won it that year).
While I think "Butch" is funnier and more exciting, this film is more intriguing with interesting character studies and some unpredictable plot twists. Hill does a superb job of weaving the elements of the caper together and giving it a depression era feeling. The humor is more ironic than hilarious, but it fits the story well. The period props, locations, and sets are excellent, and the costumes are perfect. The costumes were done by the legendary Edith Head, who designed costumes for over 400 films in her 50-year career. She won an Oscar for best Costume Design for this film, which was one of eight she won in that category in a career marked by an astounding 34 Oscar nominations. The music by Scott Joplin and Marvin Hamlisch is also fabulous, bestowing an early twentieth century flavor on the film, and giving Hamlisch one of three Oscars he won that year (the other two were for "The Way We Were" also starring Redford).
Where "Butch" was probably a little more Newman's film, this film clearly belonged to Redford. Redford, who was nominated for best actor for the role, is marvelous in the lead, giving his character a charming, lighthearted personality to go along with his scheming intellect. Newman plays almost a supporting role as the veteran conman Henry Gondorff, who assembles the team for the caper and oversees its execution. Despite the smaller part, Newman gives an electrifying performance with his conniving tough guy portrayal. Robert Shaw ("From Russia With Love", "A Man For All Seasons", "Jaws") is also terrific as mob boss Doyle Lonnegan. Charles Durning ("The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas"), Ray Walston (TV's "My Favorite Martian") and Eileen Brennan ("Private Benjamin") round out a splendid supporting cast with fantastic character portrayals.
This film is entertaining and fun with a tight plot and wonderful period renderings. I rated it a 10/10. If you have never seen it, you are in for a treat.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2003
THE STING gives us another example of the excitement Paul Newman and Robert Redford can generate when they work together. George Roy Hill who directed them in BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID duplicates his earlier feat with this highly acclaimed movie.
The story is about two confidence men who seek revenge and profit from the wily gangster who is responsible for the death of one of their buddies. Robert Shaw is superb as the East Coast mobster who is the target of the big con game being pulled off by Newman, Redford and their pals. The plot has enough twists to keep the viewer interested right up to the surprise ending.
THE STING won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director (George Roy Hill), Original Story and Screenplay, Art Director, Adapted Scoring, Editing and Costume Design (Edith Head). Nominations were received for Best actor (Robert Redford), Cinematography and Sound.
The Oscar for Best Actor in 1973 went to Jack Lemmon for his performance in SAVE THE TIGER.
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