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Matchstick Men (2003)

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A phobic con artist and his protégé are on the verge of pulling off a lucrative swindle when the former's teenage daughter arrives unexpectedly.



(book), (screenplay) (as Nick Griffin) | 1 more credit »
3,566 ( 677)
3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Schaffer
Mr. Schaffer
Laundry Lady
Slacker Boyfriend
Bill Saito ...
Pharmacist #1
Pharmacist #2
Man in Line


Meet Roy and Frank, a couple of professional small-time con artists. What Roy, a veteran of the grift, and Frank, his ambitious protégé, are swindling these days are "water filtration systems," bargain-basement water filters bought by unsuspecting people who pay ten times their value in order to win bogus prizes like cars, jewelry and overseas vacations--which they never collect. These scams net the flim-flam men a few hundred here, another thousand there, which eventually adds up to a lucrative partnership. Roy's private life, however, is not so successful. An obsessive-compulsive agoraphobe with no personal relationships to call his own, Roy is barely hanging on to his wits, and when his idiosyncrasies begin to threaten his criminal productivity he's forced to seek the help of a psychoanalyst just to keep him in working order. While Roy is looking for a quick fix, his therapy begets more than he bargained for: the revelation that he has a teenage daughter--a child whose existence he... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


lie cheat steal rinse repeat


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, violence, some sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 September 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tricks  »

Box Office


$62,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,087,307 (USA) (12 September 2003)


$36,873,198 (USA) (21 November 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The airport scenes, set at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), were actually filmed in the main entrance of the Anaheim Convention Center, a mile south of Disneyland. Due to recent security measures in the nation's airports, filming rights have been severely restricted on airport property. See more »


When Frank comes to Roy's house to look for him, he messily eats a sandwich. The amount of mayonnaise smeared on his lips changes repeatedly between shots. See more »


[first lines]
Roy: Uno, due, tre.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the closing credits, letters such as "M" and "W" are separated lines (presumably matchsticks), much like the type in the main title. See more »


Featured in Conan: Dial T for Misdialed Murder (2011) See more »


This Town
Written by Lee Hazlewood
Performed by Frank Sinatra
Courtesy of Reprise Records
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing
See more »

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User Reviews

Start and end very good
30 September 2003 | by (The Hague, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

The little problem that 'Matchstick Men' has is that there is not a real highpoint in the movie if the ending wasn't there. I think the movie starts as a very good movie. Roy Waller (Nicolas Cage) and Frank Mercer (Sam Rockwell) are con artists and the movie opens with showing how they collect some money. It is not as great as how George Clooney does it in 'Out of Sight' but it's a lot of fun. After this the movie shows who Roy is, a guy with all kind of weird things. Spasms, panic attacks, compulsive behavior. He wants things clean, he wants things a certain way, or he becomes a little crazy. He has pills for these things but he loses them and this is how he meets Dr. Klein (Bruce Altman), a psychiatrist.

Because of him Roy learns he has a 14-year old daughter Angela (Alison Lohman, who was actually 24). He wants to care for her, spend time with her, and even reveals what he really is. In a great scene she shows her father and us how she would be if she had the same job as Roy. Roy and Frank have a big job planned where they would collect 80,000 dollars from a guy named Frechette (Bruce McGill). In a way they are taking money but Roy looks at it differently. He thinks, and he is actually right, that they just give it to him. Because it is all illegal they can't complain after they are cheated.

Hoe these three big stories fit in one you have to see for yourself. The middle part is a little slow, but the ending makes up for that. All characters are played very well and Nicolas Cage is great. Ridley Scott has made another fine movie.

47 of 65 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
the main con is so bad... skypawel
predictable after 20 minutes. uludag
So was she really his daughter? feverdream1971
Alison Lohmam was superb ! awrobel
Nicholas Cage awrobel
Something I noticed Schlepprock32
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