7.0/10
20,803
91 user 55 critic

The Grifters (1990)

Trailer
1:42 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON TV
ON DISC
ALL
A small-time conman has torn loyalties between his estranged mother and new girlfriend--both of whom are high-stakes grifters with their own angles to play.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.

Director: George Armitage
Stars: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A college student plans a cross-country trip to get laid, but ends up traveling with a young woman. They hate each other, so naturally...

Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: John Cusack, Daphne Zuniga, Anthony Edwards
Eight Men Out (1988)
Drama | History | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A dramatization of the Black Sox scandal when the underpaid Chicago White Sox accepted bribes to deliberately lose the 1919 World Series.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: John Cusack, Clifton James, Michael Lerner
True Colors (1991)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Best friends from law school to election night, their friendship is sorely tested when one learns of another's betrayal.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: John Cusack, James Spader, Imogen Stubbs
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

This film reenacts the Manhattan Project, the secret wartime project in New Mexico where the first atomic bombs were designed and built.

Director: Roland Joffé
Stars: Paul Newman, Dwight Schultz, Bonnie Bedelia
Hero I (1992)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A not-so-nice man rescues passengers from a crashed airliner, only to see someone else take credit.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, Andy Garcia
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An aspiring teenage cartoonist and his friends come to the aid of a singer trying to save her family property from developers.

Director: Savage Steve Holland
Stars: John Cusack, Demi Moore, Linda Warren
High Fidelity (2000)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A professional hit man and hit woman fall in love.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner, Robert Loggia
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A scheming widow and her manipulative ex-lover make a bet regarding the corruption of a recently married woman.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An illegal Nigerian immigrant discovers the unpalatable side of London life.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Audrey Tautou, Sophie Okonedo
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A teenager has to deal with his girlfriend dumping him among family crises, homicidal paper boys, and a rival skier.

Director: Savage Steve Holland
Stars: John Cusack, David Ogden Stiers, Kim Darby
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Robert Weems ...
Racetrack Announcer
...
...
Richard Holden ...
Cop
...
...
Irv
...
Mintz
...
Doctor
Lou Hancock ...
Nurse
...
Joe
Noelle Harling ...
Nurse Carol Flynn
Edit

Storyline

Lily works for a bookie, placing bets to change the odds at the track. When her son is hospitalized after an unsuccessful con job and resultant beating, she finds that even an absentee parent has feelings for her child. This causes her own job to go wrong as well. Each of them faces the down side of the grift. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Seduction. Betrayal. Murder. Who's Conning Who?

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

25 January 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ambiciones prohibidas  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$13,446,769 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Myra is seen working a con at the offices of Coe, Stark, Fellowes & Associates. Tucker Coe and Richard Stark are two pseudonyms used by screenwriter and novelist Donald E. Westlake. See more »

Goofs

Bobo appears to punch Lilly so hard that her shoes disappear. The punch in her gut drops her to the floor. The next shot shows her on the floor but her shoes are nowhere to be seen. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Voice-over: Around the country the bookies pay off winners at track odds. It's dangerous when a long shot comes in. Unless you have somebody at the tracks to lower those odds.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Entrapment (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

DO YOU DO YOU LOVE ME
Performed by Dreamworld
Words & Music by Pete Theodore and Emilie A. Bernstein (as Emily Bernstein)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Great Writing, Acting Make This A Superior 'Noir'
12 January 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Here is a modern-day "film noir," if I ever saw one. You get sleazy characters with no morals, brutal attitudes, some interesting photography and a story that is not exactly a happy one - all the ingredients of a good noir. Since the film is a 1990 one and not the '40s and '50s (in which purists think that's the only period for noirs), you also get nudity and profanity.

The best part of the film, to me, is the fact that the three leading characters are so interesting. You never know what these intriguing characters are going to do next. There is an odd mother-son relationship, too - very odd, between John Cusack and Angelica Huston who play "Lilly and Roy Dillon." The third person among this trio of "grifters" (scam artists) is played by Annette Bening, who never looked prettier or demonstrated her lack of morals better than she did here as the wicked "Myra Langtry." You can see all of Bening in this movie, and I mean all. Huston, on the other hand, tries to look sexy but is too hard-looking and certainly no competition for Bening, in age or looks. But Angelica is a terrific actress and I thought her character, was easily the most interesting of the three leads. Cusack, meanwhile, gives an underrated performance: one of the best in his career.

Three supporting guys in here are fantastic: Pat Hingle as "Bobo Justus," J.T. Walsh as "Cole," and Charles Napier as "Gloucester Hebbing." Overall, this is a wonderful cast that does full justice to this unusual crime story.

The story has a mean edge to it most of the way, but that's the style of writer Jim Thompson, who is a very good crime author who wrote the novel on which this movie is based. He has written several fascinating books. Donald Westlake, who wrote the screenplay, is a prolific crime story writer.

There is not a lot of action in this film but when it occurs, it is shocking and brutal. This movie always entertains me every time I view it.


39 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Annette Bening mistaken for John Cusack's mom? bonheura
'Pe.. pe..pe...permanent damage' jaypeefriend
The ending barfly467
Just Yuck! anjelica1966
Annette's a babe? I was surprised... gcior1
Why did she get 10.000? Why did she leave all the money behind? unclebob-7
Discuss The Grifters (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?