In six acts, an old con game is played. Robert Shaw, banker and racketeer, runs a numbers empire in Illinois in 1936. A Joliet runner, James J. Sloyan, is victimized by con artists Robert Redford, Robert Earl Jones and Jack Kehoe. When Jones is killed, Redford swears revenge. He contacts Jones' friend Paul Newman, a master con man now down on his luck. With backing from Harold Gould, John Heffernan and girl friend Eileen Brennan, Newman puts a plan into operation. He beats Shaw at poker during a game on a train, using Redford to lure Shaw to his phony Chicago betting parlor. Redford is constantly hounded by crooked cop Charles Durning and Shaw's hired gunmen, one of whom turns out to be a woman, Dimitra Arliss, posing as a waitress. Gould is set up as a Western Union executive with first-hand information on the outcome of horse races and Shaw starts betting as Redford's partner. The last act involves Shaw's placing $500,000 on a false tip and FBI agent Dana Elcar being in on the showdown.
Tie in with the original soundtrack album, available on MCA records and tapes. Get across the idea that anyone can be stung -- use artificial beehives for promotional gimmicks.
All it takes is a little confidence... The biggest con game of them all. Universal 129 mins.