To Kill a Mockingbird
(MCA Home Video, Not rated, $26.98)
The No. 1 movie hero, according to the American Film Institute, possesses no superpowers, doesn't wield a lightsaber or mow down the enemy while shouting nifty catch-phrases. In fact, he's a lawyer, played by Gregory Peck. The Oscar winner brings a deep decency to the role of Atticus Finch, who takes on the case of a black man accused of raping a white woman in 1930s Alabama. The film unfurls through the eyes of Finch's daughter, Scout, and everything about it, from the opening credits to Robert Duvall in his first screen role, is exceptional. It's almost as good as Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The set boasts plenty of extras, which tend to become repetitive. But "A Conversation With Gregory Peck" and the documentary "Fearful Symmetry" are both good. Grade: A
(MCA Home Video, PG, $26.98)
Audiences must have left theaters in 1973 chortling at the audacious twists of this tale of a grifter (Robert Redford) out for revenge after his partner is murdered.
Unfortunately, in the past 30 years, con-men and trick endings have become such clichés that the movie has lost its power to surprise. Even when Redford is leaping over rooftops, "The Sting" feels lethargic.
An impressive supporting cast (Ray Walston, Eileen Brennan, Robert Shaw) and great direction help make up for this. And Paul Newman is a loopy delight as Henry Gondorff: The twinkle in his blue eyes when he signals that the con is on remains undimmed by time. There are three making-of documentaries with interviews with Newman, Redford, et al., but these are more self-congratulatory than informative. Grade: B