Robert Redford has bowed out from an acting career after 50 years, calling what he has said was his final movie "a wonderful film to go out on."s
A Toronto Film Festival audience erupted with applause after the screening of comedy caper The Old Man & the Gun in which Redford, 81, plays a charming, real-life bank robber named Forrest Tucker who was caught 17 times during the course of a 60-year crime career but who managed to escape from jail every time.
"I've always been attracted with the idea of outlaws since I was a kid and I played that out in my work a lot," said Redford. "So this just followed suit"
He added: "It's just an upbeat film. It's a true story. It's a wonderful film to go out on."
Redford, who had said last month that he would be ready to retire from acting after The Old Man & the Gun, wants to spend more time on art - his first love - but plans to continue in a director's chair.
Movies like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men, The Sting and Out of Africa turned Redford into one of the biggest stars of the 1970s and 1980s. But despite winning a directing Oscar for Ordinary People in 1980 he has never won an Academy Award for acting.
Director David Lowery said The Old Man & the Gun is "a spiritual successor" to the movies that made Redford a star and points out he shot it in the style of 1970s' crime films.
Asked to sum up Redford's appeal, Lowery said that the actor's voice and face on camera had a quality that "can captivate you like nothing else," adding: "He has it - and very few people do."
The Old Man & the Gun, which also stars Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover and Casey Affleck, opens in American cinemas on September 28.