The Sting

The Sting (1973)

9 corrected entries

(8 votes)

Corrected entry: In the final scene at the fake betting parlor, the following dialogue is exchanged: Doyle Lonnegan: I put it all on Lucky Dan; half a million dollars to win. Kid Twist: To win? I said place! Place it on Lucky Dan. That horse is gonna run second! Doyle Lonnegan: There's been a mistake! Gimme my money back! When you bet on your horse to 'place', you get to collect if your horse finishes in first or second. It would be disappointing to Lonnegan that the payout would be less than he expected, but he's still in the black; it's not a loss. Consequently, it shouldn't elicit the reaction and the demand for his money back when he gained on the bet.

Correction: The scene plays out exactly as you described and explains Lonnegan's reaction in wanting his money back. Lonnegan bet that Lucky Dan would win. He did not bet that Lucky Dan would place. By betting on Lucky Dan to win, Lonnegan loses his bet if Lucky Dan finishes 2nd. That's what the whole problem was and why he wanted his money back.


Corrected entry: When Hooker is taking Lonnegan to meet his Western Union tipster, he gives Lonnegan's driver an address. When the car pulls up to the destination, the number on the building is different.

Correction: The address is right because they go to the side door on the alley which has a different address.

Corrected entry: If Loretta Salino and Lonnegan's other goons have been tailing Hooker then how have they not seen him meet regularly with Lonnegan? Have they not at least informed Lonegan that he's in the same area as well as what he looks like?

Correction: In the case of Lonnegan's goons, it's because they're so staggeringly incompetent that Hooker outsmarts them every time without even breaking a sweat. Their MO is simply to hang around places he visits regularly (his apartment, the diner) and wait for him to show up. He gives them the slip each time and they never see him with Lonnegan. Salino was barely around for a couple of days but even so, there's nothing to say she didn't know everything that was going on. As a hired killer it would be more profitable to kill Hooker, collect the money for doing so from Lonnegan then tell him about the con; rather than tell Lonnegan everything and risk him killing Hooker himself in a blind rage and doing her out of her money.

Corrected entry: A vital plot line, obviously, is that Doyle wants to kill the con men who fleeced his runner of the numbers money. He has Luther killed and turns his best men (and women) onto Johnny Hooker, almost killing him, too. What about the third conman, Kid Erie? He is an essential part of the con, as much a part of it as Luther and Hooker. During the setup - just before they fleece him - the numbers runner watches Kid Erie running away. He looks at him, Hooker and Luther in turn. Even if he couldn't identify him he would still be able to inform Doyle that there were three rather than two con men involved. Even so, Kid Erie comes and goes as he pleases. Doyle doesn't have anyone looking for him; he doesn't even mention him in conversation, and in fact consistently refers to two - not three - con men. He makes it clear that he would have to kill his best friend if he even found out about the con, yet he lets one of the central participants go scot free. It doesn't make any sense at all.

Correction: This isn't a plot hole or even a mistake. The only information Doyle, or anyone in his organisation, has about the con men comes from the runner himself; who it is said was found in a bar drowning his sorrows later that day. He explained what happened to some of Doyle's men and was killed shortly afterwards. It could simply be that he was too drunk to remember the third man involved, or to realise that the third man was part of the con. This is at best a character being given inaccurate information. As the submitter says, Doyle consistently refers to two con men, not three. So as far as he knows he's looking for 2 con men. The only 'mistake' here is Kid Erie advising Hooker to go on the run, without seemingly considering that he's just as at much at risk.

Watch the scene again. The numbers runner, Mottola, has a much greater interaction with Kid Erie than he does with Luther or Hooker. He sees him as he flees the scene - Erie almost runs into him and threatens him with a knife to keep him away, and Mottola watches him as he disappears down the alleyway. He would remember him, drunk or not.

He was so drunk that he could identify Hooker and Luther and give Doyle and his men descriptions, names, addresses, the lot, but he couldn't remember that there was a third conman who was a vital part of the scheme that swindled him and ultimately cost him his life? What utter nonsense. The posting is absolutely correct.

Corrected entry: In the final scene, Kid Twist arrives at the betting parlor, whispering to Lonnegan, "Sorry, I couldn't wait." This furthers the plot as Twist can then inform Lonnegan that the wrong horse is going to win. But it would also blow the entire con because Lonnegan would expect Twist to have been downtown at his Western Union office just four minutes earlier when they talked on the phone.

Correction: They never say how far the Western Union office is from the betting parlor; it could have been within a few blocks.

BocaDavie Premium member

Also, who is not to say there could be a fictitious third operative in the Western Union scam?

Corrected entry: Just before the sting goes down, the assassin and the bodyguard are shown preparing their weapons. Both place largish suppressers (aka "silencers") on their guns. Both of them are using revolvers. Except for a few, rare models built specifically for the purpose, revolvers can't be effectively suppressed. There is a gap between the cylinder and the barrel that allows some of the expanding gasses and accompanying noise to escape before they can be affected by a suppresser on the end of the barrel. This is one of the most common firearms related mistakes in older and period films.

Correction: The key word is "effectively", from the submitters description it appears that the silencers offer some noise reduction which is presumably enough for their needs.


Corrected entry: In the scene where Doyle Lonnegan is set up to be too late to make his first bet, J.J. Singleton, who is calling the race over the loudspeaker, announces the eventual winner's odds at 3-1. After the race, Singleton says the horse paid $6 to win. A horse at 3-1 odds pays $8 to win.

Correction: In fact he says the horse paid $6.00 FOR the win, not TO win and that is perfectly accurate. Haven't you ever played the ponies? A 3 to 1 winner pays $6.00 for the win on a $2.00 bet and you get your $2.00 back, so in all it pays $8.00. The race caller was right on the money.

Actually, it should have been $8. No horse player ever said a 3-1 shot pays $6.

Corrected entry: When Lonergan first walks into "The Operation", listen carefully to the tannoy - one of the horses running is called "Steve McQueen".

Correction: The horse is not "Steve McQueen" it is "Speed Queen".

Corrected entry: The technique used by the 'hit-woman' (Saleno?) is so suspect as to be unbelievable. Remembering that her name is spoken in hushed tones by other hit-men and her professionalism is commented on by the minder employed by Henry Gondorff, one is expecting a first class hit. Instead she simply waits to be chatted up by Robert Redford - not a dead cert by any means, given her plain looks and job as a waitress. When she is disturbed in her plan by another of Lonegan's goons, she follows him into an alleyway and kills him. Firstly, can she be so good at her job that Lonegan does not mind her killing his employees? Secondly, she could quite easily have been seen following him into the alleyway. However she eventually manages to sleep with Redford, pack and leave without getting the urge to shoot him because, as the minder says: "She was a professional. Anyone could have seen you go into her room". Given her less cautious disposal of the other goon and the fact that she had removed all trace of herself from the room by morning you would have thought she could just have shot him on the way out and legged it. Finally she approaches him in an alleyway behind the building to complete the hit. What is she doing there? Redford might have left by the front door three hours later. What if other people had been using the alleyway? Would she have had to embrace him and go off and sleep with him again, or shoot him along with anyone else who was around?

Correction: First, it's apparent Lonnegan doesn't mind Selino knocking off one of his other hitman. In one of the scenes in his Chicago office, he's talking with his clerk about Riley and Cole getting "bounced off a job." When the clerk tells him that one of the duo - I forget which - has stuck behind to try to finish the job, Lonnegan tells him "he's breaking the rules and Selino won't like it," expressing his apathy towards the hitman. Secondly, when Hooker goes into Selino's room, the landlady across the hall opens her door and sees Hooker. That is why Selino doesn't kill him then. When she kills Riley or Cole (whichever), it was in an alley at 2 or 3 in the morning. May be a stretch, but there's less of a chance someone else is going to be around. I think she knew what she was doing.

Correction: An underlying theme in this movie is expressed by Lonnegan in saying "always sit in the back, kid." to Hooker in the drug store. Lonnigan practiced it (in the drug store and betting parlour), Kid Eerie did so also (albeit unknowingly) in the betting parlour, and Hooker did it by exiting it into the alley. Thus, Salino obviously expected an experienced con man to follow suit with this rule and wisely chose to lay in wait in the alley for Hooker to exit the building.

Factual error: When Hooker comes out of the diner there is a billboard advertisement to the right. It is for Ezra Brooks bourbon. Ezra Brooks brand wasn't created until 1957.

More mistakes in The Sting

Doyle Lonnegan: Not only are you a cheat, you're a gutless cheat, as well.

More quotes from The Sting
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Question: If Salino was a hit woman for Lonnegan, why did he put a hit on Hooker, who he was working with to play the track? Also, who were, and why did the hit men arrive at Hooker's apartment to kill him?

Answer: He wanted to kill the man who swindled him out of his money. He didn't know it was Hooker. Same thing with the two hit men, they didn't know the hit woman was working the same hit.

Isn't one of the hit men who got Luther (and who would also know what Hooker looked like) the big tall security dude (on the train) for Lonnigan? I thought he was one of the black and white photos. Seems to me Lonnigan would eventually know that Hooker and Kelly were the same guy?

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