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)

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video

WATCH NOW
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 13 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
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Imagine it is summer and that, for the last several days, Montreal has been swimming in sweltering heat and smog. Then imagine that you are in the city's downtown core and a woman holding a... See full summary »

Director: François Delisle
Stars: Joseph Bellerose, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Frédérick De Grandpré
Il prato (1979)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

San Gimignano, in Toscana, alla fine degli anni '70. La fine degli ideali degli anni '70 vista in un piccolo microcosmo, pensando a platee più vaste di giovani in crisi. Giovanni, ... See full summary »

Directors: Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani
Stars: Michele Placido, Saverio Marconi, Isabella Rossellini
You Laugh (1998)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Two segments: In the first one Felice, a baritone who has had to give up his career because of a heart condition and now works as an accountant at the Opera, inexplicably spends his nights ... See full summary »

Directors: Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani
Stars: Antonio Albanese, Giuseppe Cederna, Luca Zingaretti
Trotta (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Director: Johannes Schaaf
Stars: András Bálint, Rosemarie Fendel, Doris Kunstmann
Abracadabra (1970)
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Director: Frédéric Back
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Director: Frédéric Back
Inon (1972)
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Director: Frédéric Back
Stars: Luc Durand, Budd Knapp
Illusion (1975)
Short | Animation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A magician tries to lure the children away from nature with his tricks.

Director: Frédéric Back
Codine (1963)
Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An ex-convict struggles to survive by brute force alone in a turn-of-the-century slum in Braila. Codine (Alexandre Virgil Platon) is the thug who served 10 years for murdering a friend. He ... See full summary »

Director: Henri Colpi
Stars: Alexandru Virgil Platon, Razvan Petrescu, Françoise Brion
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

In Quebec 40s, orphans or abandoned children are placed in a gigantic psychiatric hospital where children were locked. Were they sick? No, they simply had no family. To escape this ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Jutra
Stars: Paule Baillargeon, Ginette Boivin, Lisette Dufour
Taratata (1977)
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Frédéric Back
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Robert Weems ...
Racetrack Announcer
...
...
Richard Holden ...
Cop
...
...
Irv
...
Mintz
Sandy Baron ...
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:

Svindlarna  »

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

When Roy visits Lilly in her hotel room to repay his medical expenses, there is a boom mic clearly visible. 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 Mystery Science Theater 3000: Bride of the Monster (1993) 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

A seedy underbelly of life exposed for all to see
16 August 1999 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

Years ago, this was one of the films I was quite pleased with myself for seeing. I didn't know much about it, but decided to take a chance on it, with no regrets. From the opening sequence to the end credits I was mesmerized and in awe of events that communicated an entirely alien philosophy. Based on the novel by Jim Thompson, "The Grifters" tells a tale of a world that lies just under the surface of the one we know of. That is of course, if you count yourself among the squares and suckers who often fall prey to the craftsmen of the grift.

With startling precision, intrigue and depth, the story unfolds chronicling the lives of three distinctly different yet intertwined individuals. Their setting and perspective is entirely foreign to the majority of us. The filmmakers portray the grifters' different methods and environments as skilled scam artists. For unless you've had a personal experience having fallen prey or gotten wise to a grifter's ploy, you'll simply have to accept the reality of it. They are out there, waiting for the suckers to be born.

This particularly dark tale is very stylishly directed and moves along at a good pace. Each turn offers another sneak peek into the games played and the tricks pulled. The prey are often unaware of their own victimization as they go on about their business.

Another aspect the film deals with is trust or the lack thereof. Our protagonists spend most of their time scamming, conning and tricking people so much that their sense of trust and decency breaks down. They alienate themselves from everyone, and ultimately can't even trust each other.

And of course, what drama would be complete without a twisted love triangle in the mix with betrayal and murder to keep it interesting. If this doesn't sound like another day at the office, you might just find the workplace of "The Grifters" intriguing. Seeing it today, I enjoyed it as much as I did years ago, before I opened my eyes for a fresh look at the world.


28 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
'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
would be better if... green52373
Discuss The Grifters (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?