6.9/10
24,881
102 user 68 critic

The Grifters (1990)

Trailer
1:41 | Trailer
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 »

Videos

Photos

Edit

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
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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The studio wanted Martin Scorsese to direct the film himself, but he personally chose Stephen Frears to do the job, while Scorsese stayed on as Producer. 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 Night on Earth (1991) 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 »

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.


7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 102 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 January 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Grifters See more »

Filming Locations:

Arizona, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$71,034, 9 December 1990

Gross USA:

$13,446,769

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,446,769
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cineplex Odeon Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page



Recently Viewed