7.0/10
22,850
96 user 63 critic

The Grifters (1990)

Trailer
1:42 | Trailer

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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:

Stephen Frears

Writers:

Jim Thompson (novel), Donald E. Westlake (screenplay)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anjelica Huston ... Lilly Dillon
John Cusack ... Roy Dillon
Annette Bening ... Myra Langtry
Jan Munroe ... Guy at Bar
Robert Weems Robert Weems ... Racetrack Announcer
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Jeweler
Jimmy Noonan ... Bartender
Richard Holden Richard Holden ... Cop
Henry Jones ... Simms
Michael Laskin ... Irv
Eddie Jones ... Mintz
Sandy Baron ... Doctor
Lou Hancock ... Nurse
Gailard Sartain ... Joe
Noelle Harling Noelle Harling ... Nurse Carol Flynn
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 January 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ambiciones prohibidas See more »

Filming Locations:

Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$125,195, 21 January 1991, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$13,446,769
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cineplex-Odeon Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On a late 2013 interview, Anjelica Huston described this role as the most challenging one of her career. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie when Lilly is leaving Roy's apartment with his money, blood is clearly visible on her knees and calves. But moments later when she is going down in the elevator, her legs are clean. 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.
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Connections

Features Ms. Pac-Man (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Heartbreak Highway
(uncredited)
Performed by Keith Whitley
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One mean neo-noir (2 minute review)
19 July 2014 | by dvc5159See all my reviews

This is one mean movie. It seduces, wraps your arms around you, and they guts you and leaves you stunned. Directed with striking precision and focus by Stephen Frears ("Philomena", "The Queen"), and written by Donald E. Westlake, one of the literary princes of crime fiction, and based off pulp author Jim Thompson's pulpy novel, in a manner so intricate with detail, so hardboiled that it cracks under the weight of each step it takes, one twist of the knife after another.

It's all too good to be true for this neo-noir, even when Martin Scorsese's producing it. Then comes the actors – and my word, are they fantastic in their roles – John Cusack is sly yet undeterred in a role that is a slightly more edgier variation on Humphrey Bogart, with a cross of Lee Marvin, to boot; Annette Bening is simply drop-dead sexy as the woman who thinks she knows it all, yet is a timebomb waiting to explode. The real star of the show is Angelica Huston in a well-deserved Oscar nominated performance, perfectly balancing the ruthless, desperate act with a honest, focused, motherly concern that doesn't feel cliché at all.

Who knew modern day, sunny Los Angeles and Phoenix can be the backdrop of so seedy a neo-noir, perhaps the best since Chinatown? Frears, Huston, Cusack, Bening, Westlake, cinematographer Oliver Stapleton and composer Elmer Bernstein deserve all the praise they can get for creating something so seedy yet starkly beautiful in retrospect.


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