George Roy Hill’s 1973 Oscar-winning classic, “The Sting,” was given a 4K restoration on 18-May-21. For those who have not seen the film, it takes place in 1930s Chicago where a young con man, Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) seeks revenge for his murdered partner and teams up with a con-master, Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) to take money from a crime boss, Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw).
When it was originally released, it was a massive critical and commercial success and was nominated for 10 Oscars. It ultimately won seven including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Screenplay. This film gave Redford a Best Actor nomination and also reignited Newman’s career. In 2005, it was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry of the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” and this film has definitely influenced many filmmakers such as Stephen Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino.
This new release of the film’s native 4K transfer gives the film a notable visual improvement over prior releases or streaming platforms. As of this review, the film is only on Amazon Prime which is only available if one has a decent internet speed to watch such a high resolution as 4K without facing any issues. Amazon Prime states that one would need at least 15 megabits per second (Mbps) but one would need either 25 Mbps or higher for a stable stream.
The film is 129 minutes long and was filmed on 35mm film. It has a 1.85:1 aspect ratio so it will take up the entire screen. The transfer uses a 4K digital intermediate and it has never looked any better. This new release adds a high dynamic range with HDR10 which gives the film a better color representation. There is a noted improvement in the film’s details, colors, black levels, and contrast that are consistently shown throughout the film especially in comparison to the prior DVD release.
The HDR10 makes the colors pop more and skin tones are much more natural-looking. The black levels give the film much more depth and take a lot of the age of the film. As with a lot of older films, no transfer can completely take away the age of the film. There is still some film grain and some scenes do look better than others. However, it’s not a deal-breaker and overall, it still looks better than it ever has in the past.
VIDEO SCORE: 4/5
If one has heard The Entertainer, this is the film that brought it out. This release does not upgrade the audio track from the Blu-ray release and is the same DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Though it is an upgrade from the DVD which had a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. If one has the system to fully enjoy this, there’s a lot of ambient sounds to appreciate such as crowd noise though not demo worthy of any sort. It’s not the greatest of all time but then again, this is not a movie that needs a bubble effect for it’s audio.
AUDIO SCORE: 4/5
- This is another section that does not include an upgrade from the prior Blu-ray release.
- The Art of The Sting (SD Three Parts 56:19 Total)
- 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics (HD 9:13)
- 100 Years of Universal: The 70s (HD 11:01)
- 100 Years of Universal: The Lot (HD 9:25)
- The Trailer
SPECIAL FEATURES SCORE: 3/5
This movie is a classic and should be watched by everyone. It doesn’t get old no matter how many times it is viewed. Again, the new release is the best it has ever looked and though the same audio track, it is still a good one.
OVERALL SCORE: 4/5
Click here to purchase.
About the reviewer:
My name is Dre, aka The Formal Review, and I am a huge home entertainment and physical media enthusiast. I have been a cinephile since childhood and have studied science, film, art, and mathematics. You can follow me on social media (@theformalreview) for my movie analyses.
LATEST EPISODES OF THE FORMAL REVIEW
How I review 4K UHD:
I will write about the movies that I own that either I buy or already own. If a reader wants me to review a specific movie, I will. No matter if it’s good or bad, I will be honest and if it is worth the upgrade over the prior releases and/or streaming. The rating scale for each section is on a simple 1-5 and 5 is kept for the reference quality movies. The overall score is then the average number of the three which is either rounded up or rounded down. The score is then put on this word scale.
5: Reference Quality/The Best/Must Own
4: Not reference but worth buying/upgrading at full price
3: Worth Buying/Upgrading but wait for a sale
2: Fans Only
1: Skip it unless you absolutely need it.
Equipment Used for Review: