7.3/10
56,148
136 user 50 critic

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Trailer
1:57 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
Two con men try to settle their rivalry by betting on who can swindle a young American heiress out of $50,000 first.

Director:

Reviews
Popularity
3,194 ( 218)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Roxanne (1987)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The large-nosed C.D. Bales is in love with the beautiful Roxanne; she falls for his personality but another man's looks.

Director: Fred Schepisi
Stars: Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah, Rick Rossovich
The Jerk (1979)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An idiotic man struggles to make it through life on his own in St. Louis.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Catlin Adams
Bowfinger (1999)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

When a desperate movie producer fails to get a major star for his bargain basement film, he decides to shoot the film secretly around him.

Director: Frank Oz
Stars: Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham
Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A brain surgeon marries a femme fatale, causing his life to turn upside down. Things go more awry when he falls in love with a talking brain.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin, Kathleen Turner, David Warner
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Three actors accept an invitation to a Mexican village to perform their onscreen bandit fighter roles, unaware that it is the real thing.

Director: John Landis
Stars: Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short
L.A. Story (1991)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

With the help of a talking freeway billboard, a wacky weatherman tries to win the heart of an English newspaper reporter, who is struggling to make sense of the strange world of early 1990s Los Angeles.

Director: Mick Jackson
Stars: Steve Martin, Victoria Tennant, Richard E. Grant
Parenthood (1989)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The Buckmans are a midwestern family all dealing with their lives: estranged relatives, raising children, pressures of the job, and learning to be a good parent and spouse.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest
HouseSitter (1992)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Con artist Gwen moves in to Newton's empty home without his knowledge and begins setting up house, posing as his new wife.

Director: Frank Oz
Stars: Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn, Dana Delany
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving with an obnoxious slob of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.

Director: John Hughes
Stars: Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins
My Blue Heaven I (1990)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An all too uptight FBI agent must protect a larger than life mobster with a heart of gold, currently under witness protection in the suburbs.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Joan Cusack
All of Me (1984)
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A dying millionaire has her soul transferred into a younger, willing woman. However, something goes wrong, and she finds herself in her lawyer's body - together with the lawyer.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Victoria Tennant
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Film noir parody with a detective uncovering a sinister plot. Characters from real noirs appear as scenes from various films are intercut.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin, Rachel Ward, Alan Ladd
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Freddy Benson
... Lawrence Jamieson
... Janet Colgate
... Inspector Andre
... Fanny Eubanks
... Arthur
... Mrs. Reed
... Lady from Oklahoma
... Lady from Palm Beach
... Lady in Dining Car
Aïna Walle ... Miss Krista Knudsen
Cheryl Pay ... Lady with Pearls
Nathalie Auffret ... Marion
Lolly Susi ... Lady in Rolls Royce
Rupert Holliday-Evans ... English Sailor #1 (as Rupert Holliday Evans)
Edit

Storyline

Wealthy native Brit Lawrence Jamieson, living in Beaumont-sur-Mer on the French Riviera, earns most of his money through big cons on wealthy unsuspecting women. With the help of his associates -- corrupt police Inspector Andre, who provides him most of his intel, and his butler Arthur -- he pulls scams such as pretending to be a foreign deposed prince who needs money to finance a secret war to liberate his people. Beaumont-sur-Mer, and thus his world, is invaded by brash American Freddy Benson, another con man whose targets are also wealthy unsuspecting women. Lawrence believes Freddy is the Jackal, a con man whose true identity is unknown but who is known to be working his way through Europe. While Lawrence works on thousands of dollars per scam, Freddy works only on tens or if he is lucky hundreds of dollars. Lawrence's efforts to get Freddy out of his territory are unsuccessful, so when Freddy figures out that Lawrence is a con man like he is, he decides to blackmail Lawrence to ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Nice guys finish last. Meet the winners.

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 December 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dos pícaros sinvergüenzas  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,840,498, 16 December 1988, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$42,039,085
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A female version of the film's two con-men storyline, Heartbreakers (2001), but has its own story (i.e. not a remake of either Bedtime Story (1964) or Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)). See more »

Goofs

When Steve Martin is impersonating an Army infantry corporal, he is wearing both the Good Conduct Medal and the ribbon for the same award. In the US Army, one wears either ribbons or full medals, but never both. See more »

Quotes

Freddy Benson: [Reading Janet's note] Hello Boys. It was fun. I'll miss you. Love, Janet. The Jackal. P.S. I'm keeping the money. Is that wrong?
See more »

Crazy Credits

While the names of Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning appear in the credits as two of this film's three writers, they are actually there just to credit their script for Bedtime Story (1964), of which this is a remake. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ek Aur Ek Gyarah: By Hook or by Crook (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Celui Qui S'en Va
Performed by Marie Myriam
Courtesy of WEA Music France and Laureen Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Dirty + Rotten = Genius
23 December 2003 | by See all my reviews

This film made an impression on me before I even saw it. I was in a theater, and a trailer for "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" came on. While a voice-over talked about the value of movies promoting morality and civility, you saw Martin and Caine strolling along a beachfront, smiling beneficently as they greet passers-by. Then Caine shoved cotton candy into a kids face while Martin pushed a woman off a ledge.

It's a great sequence, and is featured on the DVD with its own commentary from director Frank Oz (when has that ever happened before?) but a little misleading. Actually, while both men are scoundrels, neither is quite that vile. Caine's Lawrence Jamieson is actually a bit of an altruist, as we find out, with a code of only taking in people who can afford to be taken, and finding ways of spending the money that are not entirely self-serving. Martin's Freddy Benson is less disciplined and more small-time in his cons; he'll steal candy from a baby and tell you it's for his poor sick Gram-Gram if caught, but he is likeable, too, an underdog with little idea how the game is played at the highest levels, but eager to learn.

The fact you can like these characters is a compliment to Martin and Caine, as well as director Oz and the team of writers. Tone is everything with a film like this, and as Oz says in his commentary, so important in making the comedy work. He notes he was going for a 1950s feel in the picture, I'm guessing with Hitchcock's "To Catch A Thief" in mind. The great score by Miles Goodman is solid enough to deserve its own CD reissue, with an air of light sophistication that buoys the proceedings on screen. Most importantly, since much of the comedy involves people taking advantage of one another, having everything put forward in such a gossamer manner helps you digest the story without leaving a bad taste.

Martin shines in many scenes, especially when playing Ruprecht the idiot man-child and when stuck in jail trying to remember the name of the only man he thinks can bail him out ("James Lawrenceton...no, wait, James Jesterton....no, no, it's definitely, um...") I knew Martin could be funny, and with the exception of "All Of Me" this is probably his best comedic performance, but Caine is a revelation. A straight man, yes, but with delicate timing and some clever characterizations that he pulls out of a bag, like an Germanic psychiatrist with some unusual ideas about curing lameness. You forget how good Caine is in comedy, despite his performances in films like this, "Blame It On Rio," and "Without A Clue." Glenne Headly is a revelation as the woman caught in the middle of Jamieson and Benson's scheming, every bit as good as her male counterparts, but say no more.

Great actors, great tone, but the plot is the best thing this film has. It's a remake of a 1964 film "Bedtime Story," which teamed Marlon Brando and David Niven for what should have been a dream team but went flat instead. This time, the script is helped by actors who can not only deliver funny lines but make them funnier, and by an ending (according to Oz in his commentary, one worked out over several long dinner meetings with Martin) that is simply perfect.

Finally, Oz needs to be recognized. He was only making his second non-Muppet film here, but the result in my view is one of the best comedies anyone has ever done. He manages to get the best from everyone, including the actors and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (some amazing night shots of the French Rivera waterfront you never tire of looking at), and delivers a rare jewel of a film, a laugh-out-loud comedy that leaves you with a warm feeling inside.

Ian McDairmid plays Arthur the butler in this, teaming him with Oz yet again. Almost titled this review "Yoda And Palpatine On The French Riviera;" it's interesting McDairmid plays the one guy in "Scoundrels" who's really on the level.


77 of 86 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 136 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Sci-Fi Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular sci-fi movies and TV shows available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial