Study Guide

The Sting Lies and Deceit

Lies and Deceit

The Sting a movie about grifters and conmen, so if you're uncomfortable with lying you might not have a whole lot of sympathy for the main characters in this story.

That being said, the movie does a good job of getting you on the conmen's side right away, because the first person they con (Mottolla) is a completely dishonest criminal who would happily steal money from an old man. After this first impression, we're inclined to be a whole lot nicer to the guys who make their living by lying to people and stealing their money…especially when they're stealing from a bloodless creep like Lonnegan.

Questions About Lies and Deceit

  1. When does lying work out for Johnny and when does it not work out? What tends to make the difference?
  2. Who deserves to be lied to the most in this movie and why?
  3. How good is Johnny at spotting lies? What's the evidence for your answer?

Chew on This

In The Sting, we realize that lying is what some people simply need to do to survive, so it's not immoral.

The Sting teaches us that even among the world's best grifters, honesty is usually the best policy.

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