Lists are great. They inspire discussion, create arguments, and tend to spiral off into fun new lists. When you do a list about the “BEST” of anything it goes from being fun to becoming a hotbed for arguments. There’s no such thing as a definitive list but I’ve decided to pull from my rather extensive life of film watching and put it to good use.
This is not the “film critic’s top 100” list. There’s no guarantee Citizen Kane or The Bicycle Thief will be in the top echelon or even on the list. This is the 100 movies I would put my name on as my top 100. If I died tomorrow this would represent the 100 films I find most vital, special, or ones that bonded to whatever it is that makes me me. I’m not including documentaries, though that might make for a nice supplemental list.
The first 80 will be in no particular order. The last 20 will be in very particular order. One a day, you have my word.
#79 – The Sting
Why is it here:
The quintessential con movie and a celebration of the end of a truly golden era in filmmaking. As the grit and grime was seeping into 70’s cinema this old school and supremely fun and street wise flick came in and won big in every way possible. As great as Robert Redford and Paul Newman were as Butch and Sundance they’re equally good here but with a crackerjack story and Robert Shaw in tow. It’s magical aside from a few questionable racial moments and it’s twisty as hell. Scott Joplin’s music plays a big part as does the old fashion cards that divide the film’s big acts, and the whole proceeding is one of those bucket list movies you’re an idiot to miss.
Moments to savor:
Quad nines. The con that starts the film. Paul Newman’s wink, the effortless sex appeal of that guy. Robert Shaw pushing people around. Ray Walston reading the horse race.
It’s not a film you can spend a lot of time with it. It works best if you give it some time to forget some of the hooks and what real movie stars look and act like.
As odd as it is, the sequel’s not half bad. This was one my father was really excited to share with me and when he finally did I was about ten. And loved it. You show a ten year old this now and they’ll be asleep in minutes. But it’s a historical document for sure. A cornerstone movie and a rare one that lives up to it.