We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Robert Redford and Paul Newman had shocking role-reversal on one movie

We love Robert Redford and Paul Newman's work together, but one of their best movies saw the tables turn completely when it came to the actors' dynamic.

Robert Redford and Paul Newman had a role-reversal in their second movie

The glory days of Robert Redford and Paul Newman were fruitful indeed for Hollywood. During the 1960s and 1970s, both men were at the peak of their powers, delivering box office dynamite as a duo and separately. But it wasn’t always that way, with both men seen as risks at different times during their working relationship.

Robert Redford has explained that it was Paul Newman who got him his biggest role to date in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, when the studio had lobbied for a more famous name. The movie is now critically acclaimed as one of the best Westerns of all time, and it turned Redford into a bankable name in Hollywood.

In a 2017 interview with Esquire, Redford explained that he was actually able to return the favor when The Sting – one of the best movies ever made – came around four years later. In the fickle world of filmmaking, the tables had turned.

Redford said: “What was really fascinating was that when we did Butch Cassidy, the studio didn’t want me. After the success of that, my name rose. Paul hadn’t done so well in his last few films, so when we came to The Sting, the studio wanted me but they weren’t willing to pay Paul the amount that he was requiring.”

YouTube Thumbnail

As it turned out, Redford was willing to give up some of his “points” (financial bonuses pegged to the movie’s box office) in order to help boost Newman’s wage and get his buddy on board. “What remained was just the friendship,” as Redford put it.

There’s little doubt that Butch Cassidy and The Sting stand among the best thriller movies either of the two actors made. The Sting, in particular, has somewhat faded from memory since it won Best Picture at the Oscars, but it’s an intricate and enthralling caper that merits a revisit.

If you can’t get enough of these Hollywood legends, find out why Robert Redford refuses to watch his own movies and learn about the unique award that counts Paul Newman as its only winner.

Elsewhere, we’ve got everything you need to know about new movies on the way with our guide to the Dune 2 release date and our Killers of the Flower Moon review. Or on the small screen, find out when Yellowstone season 5 part 2 is coming to TV.