The Sting script
The Sting (1973)
Synopsis: Following the murder of a mutual friend, aspiring con man Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) teams up with old pro Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) to take revenge on the ruthless crime boss responsible, Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). Hooker and Gondorff set about implementing an elaborate scheme, one so crafty that Lonnegan won't even know he's been swindled. As their big con unfolds, however, things don't go according to plan, requiring some last-minute improvisation by the undaunted duo.

FADE IN:

A white on black TITLE appears in the lower left hand corner

of the screen:

AUGUST, 1936

FADE OUT.

FADE IN:

EXT. A SLUM AREA OF JOLIET - DAY

It's a bleak, windy morning, the kind that clears the

streets of all but the winos (who carry their own heaters),

and the point-men for juvenile gangs. We pick up a solitary

figure, Joe Mottola, coming down the street and entering

what appears to be an abandoned tenement. He pauses a

second to dust his white-winged alligator shoes on the back

of his pants leg. Sharply dressed and surrounded by the

aura of one who is making money for the first time and

broadcasting it on all bands, he seems an incongruity in

this part of town.

We follow him up a flight of rickety stairs to a second

floor flat. He knocks on the door, is admitted by a cautious

doorman.

INT. NUMBERS SPOT - DAY

Suddenly we are plunged into a room of chattering, clamoring

people. This is a spot for the numbers racket, a place

immune from legal interference, where any sucker can bet on

a number between 1 and 1000 in the hope of getting the 600

to 1 payoff that goes to those few who guess right. The

bettors are queued up in several lines before a long table,

where they place their bets and are given receipts in return.

Others wait at a cashier's window to pick up previous

earnings or to ask for credit.

Mottola moves through the crowd to a back room where betting

slips are being sorted and money counted under the watchful

and somewhat impatient gaze of a Supervisor, an older man

named Mr. Granger. The Yankee-White Sox game is heard on

the radio in the background.

Mottola, noticing that his entrance has aroused little

interest, saunters over to the Phone Girl and gives her a

little pinch on the cheek. The girl slaps his hand away,

obviously having been through this before.

PHONE GIRL:

Beat it, Mottola.

Granger glances up and exchanges a token nod with Mottola,

who plops down in a folding chair next to the radio. The

phone rings.

PHONE GIRL:

8720...Yes, hold on a second.

(calling over to the Supervisor)

Mr. Granger, Chicago on the line.

Granger is a little apprehensive about talking to Chicago,

but takes the phone anyway.

GRANGER:

Yeh?

CUT TO:

INT. A WATERFRONT PROCESSING PLANT - CHICAGO - DAY

A flabby, bald man named Combs is on the other end of the

line. Visible beyond the door and interior window of his

office is a large room, cluttered with tables, typewriters,

clerks and adding machines. This room is the clearinghouse

for all the transaction of the numbers game. All the

betting slips and income from the spots are brought in here

and processed.

COMBS:

Granger, this is Combs. Why

haven't we heard from ya? Everybody

else is in.

GRANGER:

We had a few problems with the Law

this morning. The Mayor promised

the Jaycees to get tough on the

rackets again, so he shut everybody

down for a couple hours to make it

look good. Nothing serious, it

just put us a little behind for the

day.

COMBS:

You been making your payoffs,

haven't ya?

GRANGER:

Hell yes. He does this every year.

There's nothing to worry about.

COMBS:

Okay, finish your count and get it

up here as soon as you can. I

don't wanta be here all night.

GRANGER:

Believe me, the Man's gonna be real

happy. Looks like we cleared over

ten grand this week.

COMBS:

(not impressed)

We cleared 22 here.

GRANGER:

Well, hell, you got the whole

Chicago south side. How do ya

expect the eight lousy spots I've

got to compete with that?

COMBS:

(reading off a sheet

of paper on his desk)

They did 14 grand in Evanston, 16.5

is Gary, and 20 in Cicero. Looks

like you're bringing up the rear,

Granger.

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David S. Ward

David Schad Ward (born October 25, 1945) is an American film director and screen writer. He is an Academy Award winner for the George Roy Hill heist film The Sting (1973). more…

All David S. Ward scripts | David S. Ward Books

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"The Sting" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 21 Nov. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/the_sting_743>.

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