7.0/10
22,860
96 user 63 critic

The Grifters (1990)

Trailer
1:42 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $1.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
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

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A college student plans a cross-country trip to get laid, but ends up traveling with a young woman. They hate each other, so naturally...

Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: John Cusack, Daphne Zuniga, Anthony Edwards
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.

Director: George Armitage
Stars: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd
True Colors (1991)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Best friends from law school to election night, their friendship is sorely tested when one learns of another's betrayal.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: John Cusack, James Spader, Imogen Stubbs
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An aspiring teenage cartoonist and his friends come to the aid of a singer trying to save her family property from developers.

Director: Savage Steve Holland
Stars: John Cusack, Demi Moore, Linda Warren
The Big Bet (1985)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

An older woman helps a teenager seduce a schoolgirl.

Director: Bert I. Gordon
Stars: Lance Sloane, Kim Evenson, Sylvia Kristel
Home Movies (1979)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Keith Gordon is a creative young man who films the oddball doings of his family and peers. "The Maestro" appears frequently to give him pointers on his techniques. It's almost a film about ... See full summary »

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Nancy Allen, Mary Davenport, Kirk Douglas
High Fidelity (2000)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso
The Player (1992)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A Hollywood studio executive is being sent death threats by a writer whose script he rejected, but which one?

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward
Body Heat (1981)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman persuades her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna
Horror | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

A crazed rock singer returns from the dead to murder members of his former band.

Director: Beverly Sebastian
Stars: Tray Loren, Donna Scoggins, Cana Cockrell
Bob Roberts (1992)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A conservative folk singer turns his hand to politics, running for the US Senate. He is not above dirty tricks and smear campaigns to gain an advantage over his opponent.

Director: Tim Robbins
Stars: Tim Robbins, Giancarlo Esposito, Alan Rickman
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college.

Director: Cameron Crowe
Stars: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney
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

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 »

Edit

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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The stock con Myra describes to Roy, when they are in La Jolla, California, is a variation on the "Wire" con used in The Sting (1973). See more »

Goofs

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 »


Soundtracks

DO YOU DO YOU LOVE ME
Performed by Dreamworld
Words & Music by Pete Theodore and Emilie A. Bernstein (as Emily Bernstein)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

A seedy underbelly of life exposed for all to see
16 August 1999 | by ToldYaSoSee all my reviews

Years ago, this was one of the films I was quite pleased with myself for seeing. I didn't know much about it, but decided to take a chance on it, with no regrets. From the opening sequence to the end credits I was mesmerized and in awe of events that communicated an entirely alien philosophy. Based on the novel by Jim Thompson, "The Grifters" tells a tale of a world that lies just under the surface of the one we know of. That is of course, if you count yourself among the squares and suckers who often fall prey to the craftsmen of the grift.

With startling precision, intrigue and depth, the story unfolds chronicling the lives of three distinctly different yet intertwined individuals. Their setting and perspective is entirely foreign to the majority of us. The filmmakers portray the grifters' different methods and environments as skilled scam artists. For unless you've had a personal experience having fallen prey or gotten wise to a grifter's ploy, you'll simply have to accept the reality of it. They are out there, waiting for the suckers to be born.

This particularly dark tale is very stylishly directed and moves along at a good pace. Each turn offers another sneak peek into the games played and the tricks pulled. The prey are often unaware of their own victimization as they go on about their business.

Another aspect the film deals with is trust or the lack thereof. Our protagonists spend most of their time scamming, conning and tricking people so much that their sense of trust and decency breaks down. They alienate themselves from everyone, and ultimately can't even trust each other.

And of course, what drama would be complete without a twisted love triangle in the mix with betrayal and murder to keep it interesting. If this doesn't sound like another day at the office, you might just find the workplace of "The Grifters" intriguing. Seeing it today, I enjoyed it as much as I did years ago, before I opened my eyes for a fresh look at the world.


28 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 96 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed