Reasons for watching it: cartesiandaemon lent me the dvd, so I assumed it's worth seeing. It turns out to be something of a classic too, but I'm a film philistine so I didn't know that.
Circumstances of watching it: I was cold and lacking in energy of a shabbat afternoon, so I wrapped myself in blankets and sat down to watch a film.
Verdict: The Sting is engaging and twisty.
The Sting is not at all a film I would have been drawn to had it not come with a recommendation. I'm basically not very interested in films about glamourous criminals, nor in actors my mother would think were attractive. Since I'm totally unfamiliar with the genre, I had no real expectations, but just got completely caught up in the story. I found myself sympathizing with the characters even though in a realistic setting they would be thoroughly unpleasant. And I was totally surprised by all the plot surprises! It was delicious when the identity of the assassin was revealed, and I was completely taken in by the whole plotline with the FBI, making the final section of the film a really effective emotional roller-coaster for me, even though in hindsight it should have been obvious. I also loved the way that Lonnegan was so cunning and untrusting, but was taken in by his own greed in the end. Yay!
I am reasonably immune to the charms of Redford and Newman, though they did have good hats, and there was certainly slashy potential there. And I definitely approve of actors who can act as well as looking pretty. I got a lot of the minor characters confused, but that's because I generally have a hard time telling men apart if they all have short hair and suits. The Irish accents were inconsistent, and I am not convinced there was any need for them to be there, but historically it's probably true that many criminal gangs of the period came from Irish backgrounds. Also, the thing with pinching random women's bums is not cute (would it have seemed cute in the 70s?!) It's not the film's fault that I don't like Jopplin's The entertainer, because it was overplayed by everyone who wanted to be cool when I was a teenager.
Anyway, I'm very glad I watched it, it was fun, and I'm one degree less hopelessly uncultured for having seen it.