IMDb > The Grifters (1990)
The Grifters
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The Grifters (1990) More at IMDbPro »

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The Grifters -- 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.

Overview

User Rating:
7.0/10   21,455 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers (WGA):
Jim Thompson (novel)
Donald E. Westlake (screenplay)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Grifters on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 January 1991 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Seduction. Betrayal. Murder. Who's Conning Who?
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 7 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Excellent But Dark As Night See more (91 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Anjelica Huston ... Lilly Dillon

John Cusack ... Roy Dillon

Annette Bening ... Myra Langtry

Jan Munroe ... Guy at Bar
Robert Weems ... Racetrack Announcer

Stephen Tobolowsky ... Jeweler

Jimmy Noonan ... Bartender
Richard Holden ... Cop

Henry Jones ... Simms

Michael Laskin ... Irv

Eddie Jones ... Mintz

Sandy Baron ... Doctor
Lou Hancock ... Nurse

Gailard Sartain ... Joe
Noelle Harling ... Nurse Carol Flynn
Ivette Soler ... Maid

Pat Hingle ... Bobo Justus

Paul Adelstein ... Sailor - Young Paul

Jeremy Piven ... Sailor - Freshman

Gregory Sporleder ... Sailor - Spooney
David Sinaiko ... Sailor - Stinky

Jeff Perry ... Drunk

Jon Gries ... Drunk's Friend (as Jonathan Gries)

Micole Mercurio ... Waitress

Charles Napier ... Gloucester Hebbing

J.T. Walsh ... Cole
Teresa Gilmore ... Receptionist 1 (as Teresa Gilmore Capps)
Elizabeth Ann Feeley ... Receptionist 2
Billy Ray Sharkey ... FBI Man

Frances Bay ... Arizona Motel Clerk

Xander Berkeley ... Lt. Pierson
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Steven Anderson ... Nervous Man in Jewelry Shop (uncredited)

Steve Buscemi ... Kaggs (uncredited)

Fawn ... Young Teenager (uncredited)
John Gillespie ... Bartender (uncredited)
Lee Hollingsworth ... Dog Race Spectator (uncredited)

Juliet Landau ... Young Lilly (uncredited)

Martin Scorsese ... Opening Voice-over (voice) (uncredited)

Directed by
Stephen Frears 
 
Writing credits
(WGA)
Jim Thompson (novel)

Donald E. Westlake (screenplay)

Produced by
Barbara De Fina .... executive producer
Robert A. Harris .... producer
Jim Painter .... producer
Peggy Rajski .... co-producer
Martin Scorsese .... producer
 
Original Music by
Elmer Bernstein 
 
Cinematography by
Oliver Stapleton 
 
Film Editing by
Mick Audsley 
 
Casting by
Juliet Taylor 
Victoria Thomas 
 
Production Design by
Dennis Gassner 
 
Art Direction by
Leslie McDonald 
 
Set Decoration by
Nancy Haigh 
 
Costume Design by
Richard Hornung 
 
Makeup Department
Cydney Cornell .... department head hair stylist
Gina DiMaria .... assistant makeup artist (as Gina Di Maria)
Alec Gillis .... special makeup effects artist
Lori Guidroz .... assistant hair stylist
Julie Hewett .... makeup artist
Tom Woodruff Jr. .... special makeup effects artist
 
Production Management
Fiona Morham .... post-production supervisor
Llewellyn Wells .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
J. Stephen Buck .... first assistant director (as Stephen Buck)
Joe Camp III .... second assistant director (as Joseph Camp III)
 
Art Department
Paige Augustine .... assistant set decorator
Curtis Baruth .... carpenter
Rob Brown .... carpenter
Bill Cancienne .... assistant property master
Linda Cathey .... swing gang
Shelley Chamberlain .... stand-by painter
Joseph Timothy Conway .... assistant property master (as Joseph Conway)
Michael T. Daigle .... key scenic artist (as Michael Daigle)
Frank Darlington .... stand-by painter (as Frank Peter Darlington)
Marina Drasnin .... art department intern
Douglas Fox .... property master (as Doug Fox)
Lucy Frears .... art department intern
Claire Gaul .... assistant set decorator
Robert Greenfield .... leadperson
Joe Griffith .... storyboard artist (as Joseph F. Griffith)
Mike Keith .... stand-by painter
Roger L. King .... carpenter
Leslie 'Tinker' Linville .... key set dresser (as Tinker Linville)
John Moore .... carpenter
Scott Plauche .... art department coordinator
Elizabeth Prejean .... stand-by painter
John Setzer .... carpenter
Chris Snyder .... construction foreman
Chris L. Spellman .... swing gang (as Chris Spellman)
Joseph Torres .... carpenter
Theo Van Den Huevel .... carpenter (as Theo Van Den Heuvel)
Frank Viviano .... construction coordinator
Wallace W. Wright .... stand-by painter
 
Sound Department
Mick Boggis .... assistant sound mixer
Jeremy Child .... assistant dialogue editor
Richard Dunford .... foley editor
Derek Holding .... dialogue editor
Peter Maxwell .... re-recording mixer
Folasade Oyeleye .... assistant sound editor
Kant Pan .... supervising sound editor
Gill Parry .... assistant sound editor
John Sutton .... sound mixer
Ian Wright .... boom operator
Steve Hancock .... sound camera operator (uncredited)
Tim Partridge .... dolby sound consultant (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Peter Watson .... opticals
 
Stunts
John Gillespie .... assistant stunt coordinator
Gary Jensen .... stunt coordinator
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Steve Austin .... video playback operator
James Babineaux .... best boy electric
Joe Broderick .... assistant Steadicam operator
Katherine M. Butler .... second assistant camera (as Kate Butler)
George M. Chappell .... electrician
Mark Shane Davis .... key grip (as Mark Davis)
Jack English .... gaffer
Irv Gorman .... grip
Scott Graves .... electrician
Kurt Grossi .... grip
Suzanne Hanover .... still photographer
Stephen Harvey .... titles still photographer
Lee Johnson .... additional electrician
Steve Lang .... grip
Mitchell Linden .... grip
Marco Mazzei .... first assistant camera
Tony Mazzucchi .... best boy grip
Matthew Morrissey .... third assistant camera
Toby Phillips .... Steadicam operator
Bill Pierson .... dolly grip
Darrin C. Porter .... electrician (as Darrin Porter)
Marc Reshovsky .... director of photography: second unit
Pierre Rouger .... first assistant camera: second unit
David L. Starkey .... additional grip
Greg Wardell .... electrician
 
Casting Department
Sunny Seibel .... extras casting: Phoenix
Jory Weitz .... casting associate
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Kimberly Adams-Galligan .... assistant costume designer (as Kimberly Adams)
Marsha Bozeman .... wardrobe (as Marsha Brand)
Mark Bridges .... assistant costume designer
Elizabeth Feldbauer .... wardrobe supervisor
Gail McMullen .... wardrobe assistant
 
Editorial Department
Julie Feiner .... first assistant editor: Los Angeles
Dan Gane .... second assistant editor: London
Martyn Robinson .... first assistant editor: London
Mary Ann Slim .... post-production assistant
Brian Ufberg .... second assistant editor: Los Angeles
 
Location Management
Richard Davis Jr. .... location manager (as Richard Davis)
Jody Hummer .... assistant location manager
Ronald M. Quigley .... location manager: second unit (as Ronald Quigley)
 
Music Department
Brian Masterson .... music recordist
Cynthia Millar .... electronic music designer
John Beal .... composer: trailer (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Moises Blay .... driver (as Moses Blay)
Fred Falcone .... driver
Al Goelz .... driver
A. Welch Lambeth .... transportation coordinator
Tony Laron .... transportation co-captain
Bill Oykman .... driver
Bill M. Puluti .... transportation captain (as Bill Puluti)
Terry Ragan .... driver
Urs Stalder .... driver
 
Other crew
Catherine Anderson .... production assistant
Beth Bernstein .... assistant production coordinator
William C. Breen .... consultant
Sharon A. Briggs .... assistant: Barbara De Fina (as Sharon Briggs)
Kathleen M. Courtney .... production coordinator
Mary Cybulski .... script supervisor
Dean Dill .... consultant
Tom Gamble .... production assistant
Nan Garcia-Wood .... medic
Chris Grant .... cook
Daniel Grant .... cook
Vincent Gratzer .... promotions
Brian Jochum .... production assistant
Julia Judge .... assistant: Martin Scorsese
Shannon Kane .... assistant production accountant
Stephen Masters .... titles designer
Peter E. Nunnery .... production assistant (as Peter Nunnery)
Roger Phillips .... title designer
Pablo Prietto .... production assistant
Cynthia Quan .... production accountant
Tiffany Rosen .... production secretary
Julian Rothenstein .... title designer
Andrew Varela .... promotions
Dan Winkle .... production assistant
Craig Caton .... creature crew (uncredited)
Dianne E. Collins .... publicist: M/S Billings Publicity Ltd. (uncredited)
Michael Jackman .... post-production accountant (uncredited)
Donnie Saylor .... technical consultant (uncredited)
Gregg Singer .... talent assistant (uncredited)
 
Thanks
Anne Harrison .... special thanks
Kim Jacobsen .... thanks
Bruce Kawin .... special thanks
Debra Knoblauch .... thanks
Frank Kush .... thanks
Victoria Ann Varga .... thanks
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
110 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Lily Tomlin was considered for the role of Lilly Dillon.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: 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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Head On (1998)See more »
Soundtrack:
DO YOU DO YOU LOVE MESee more »

FAQ

Is Lilly Roy's biological mother?
See more »
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Excellent But Dark As Night, 23 July 2015
Author: Archangel Michael from United States

Spoilers Ahead:

Yes, fantastic acting, writing and directing. The director also did that little jewel Liam that is a real buried treasure. Everybody in the movie, including a nurse, is an amoral, conniving louse. Just acclimate yourself, because this short little film is a treasure. It sank like a brick in a pool when released mainly for the incest theme between Huston and Cusack. Huston does her best work in the movie, attracted to Roy, and his money she oozes hatred,"I'll bet you are lots of peoples' friend," she snarls at Benning. Huston has been scamming Hingle her boss who has her lower the odds on horse races by betting on the other horses to flatten the equation. We see her, even from the start, secreting money away in the trunk that she is ripping off from Hingle. Cusack plays a little change game with switcho chango with a twenty turning into a ten with the wrong bartender who damages him badly. Huston comes to the rescue; that costs her a cigar burn on her hand from Hingle for letting a long shot come in while she was tending to her son Roy. There is sexual tension between these two that is well done, she is still interested, mainly in his hidden money, though she feigns motherly concern for him. The concern is disturbingly sexual and it bothers Roy.

You will never see Annette Benning this hot and totally nude in scene after scene. She uses her body like we use a doorknob to not pay rent, to string Roy into the Big Con, that she lusts to return to. In flashback, we see that here earlier partner J.T. Walsh went bonkers from the stress. She has Roy all sized up for her new partner; the trouble is, his mother Huston detests her. Benning begins ratting Huston out to Hingle and following her with intent on killing her. I will not spoil it; a big plot twist happens. Before you watch this, do you mind if every character in the movie is an immoral scum bucket? It is not for kiddies, it features full frontal nudity, extended shots, and incest. The incest is not consummated but Lilly does her best. Like Body Heat, if you take out all the sensational sex and violence this could have been made in the 40s or 50s.

I must warn you; I see reviewers who love this movie like I do but have never met one in real life. All my friends and family had the same reaction to this as they did Blue Velvet: that is one disgusting, ugly, dark movie. It has such a sense of reality about it and the acting is fantastic. Frear's gets really great performances, I consider this the best of its kind since the 50s. It has a scene with Hingle threatening to beat Lilly with a bag of oranges as punishment he settles for burning her hand with his cigar. It is not a pretty scene; she is terrified, and BoBo is quite a nasty, mean sack of crap. The movie is quite short and moves like lightning. Walsh is great in his little role. Just remember, great movie but dark as midnight.

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