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Why The Old Man and the Gun is the perfect swan song for the legendary Robert Redford


It's time to raise a glass and salute the incredible career of Robert Redford, who announced he is retiring from acting.

With Redford's performance in the upcoming The Old Man and the Gun reportedly being his final one, we look ahead to why this film is the perfect swan song for an amazing career spanning more than 50 years...

Who is Robert Redford?

If you're a fan of cinema, chances are you will have seen a movie starring Robert Redford. Starring in over 50 movies in his 50-plus year career, Redford has been a screen staple who has appeared in some of the most iconic and unforgettable films of all time, including Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (1969) and All the Presidents Men (1976).

Surprisingly, Redford has only won one Oscar in his career, and it was in fact for his work as director on Ordinary People (1980). Despite this, recent appearances in films such as Pete's Dragon (2016) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) prove his incredible longevity, and Hollywood will undoubtedly be a very different place without him.

What is The Old Man and the Gun about?

The Old Man and the Gun focuses on the mostly true story of gentleman bank robber Forrest Tucker (Redford) who made an audacious escape from prison at aged 70. He went on to perform a number of bank heists, much to the bemusement of authorities and the delight of the public who followed his incredible story.

Redford brings the charm and sparkle to this charismatic role, and at its heart, this is a film about doing the things that you love... even if that thing is bank heists.

Throughout, there is the sense that Tucker has a deep love for what he does and there is something very endearing about this. It also creates for a nice parallel with Redford's career as an actor – Forrest's longevity complements Redford's status as an actor, and with this film reportedly being his last, it feels like the perfect way to bow out.

In fact, during an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, Redford said he wanted his "last acting job to be fun".

What else do we know about the film?

It's tempting to say they don't make stars like Robert Redford anymore and it is certainly true that they don't make films like The Old Man and the Gun anymore, which makes for a wonderfully nostalgic experience.

It feels like a film from yesteryear, and is a wonderful tribute to the classic heist and crime capers that in fact made a star of Robert Redford in the early days. One need only think back to the Oscar-winning The Sting as a reminder of this.

Director David Lowery (who previously worked with Redford on Pete's Dragon) has chosen to shoot on 16mm film, giving it a grainy authenticity that adds to the comforting and nostalgic feel.

Will Robert Redford be Oscar nominated for The Old Man and the Gun?

The Old Man and the Gun includes some nods to Redford's previous films that fans will have great fun picking out. From the aforementioned Butch Cassidy to other classics such as The Sting and The Chase, the film is like a walk down memory lane and perfectly integrates these nods into the story.

Such a sense of nostalgia could mean the Academy Awards will recognise Redford next year. They love honouring an actor with a prestigious career behind them (think Don Ameche's win for 1985 fantasy Cocoon), and Redford could be a sentimental favourite when 2019 rolls around.

As to whether this definitely Redford's last film, well, that remains to be seen – perhaps like Forrest Tucker himself, Redford will carry on doing what he loves, and that's perfectly alright with us…

The Old Man and the Gun
arrives in Cineworld on 7th December, so tweet us your favourite Robert Redford roles @Cineworld.

Sarah Buddery is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.