Rich, old uncle Joe is surrounded by relatives waiting/hoping for him to die while trying to look good and backstabbing the competition. What should he do?
Uncle Joe is ageing. He's also a millionaire. That's why his family is trying so very hard to get into his good books. They all want a piece of his empire. Unfortunately Uncle Joe isn't as stupid as his family thinks he is. He can see that his family is only nice to him because they want his money. Along comes Daniel McTeague, a struggling bowler, imported from another city by his family, to put an end to this ridiculous situation. The fight won't be easy, though, because the poor family has a little bit of competition - A beautiful nurse who takes care of Uncle Joe (and no doubt would love to take care of his bank account). Who gets all the money?
An extremely wealthy and crafty old man (Douglas) toys with his greedy nieces and nephews as they circle about, waiting for their ill-deserved inheritance. The plot thickens as the old man takes a young mistress (d'Abo), and they fear that she will get the estate. In response, they locate the much-loved nephew (Fox) who walked away from the whole greed thing and became a professional bowler. Deception upon deception complicates matters as young Daniel is slowly drawn back under the spell of Greed.
- Joe MacTeague [Kirk Douglas] is a rich old man but he wants to know which of his relatives really cares about him.His nephews and niece Carl [Ed Begley jr],Frank [Phil Hartman],Glen [Jere Burns] and Patti [Colleen Camp] visit him time and again at his mansion to please,amuse and generally suck up to him,even trying to outdo each other to try and win favour with him for his fortune.
One day,they discover Joe has hired a beautiful english woman called Molly [Olivia D,Abo] to serve him as a private nurse and after witnessing how close the two of them seem, the family start to worry about her intentions for their Uncle's money.They hire a private detective to find more out about her and soon realise that they can't possibly compete with what Molly can offer Joe.Desperate not to give up,they decide to track down Danny [Michael J.Fox] now a grown up bowler,who was forced to leave the family years earlier with his father,after an heated argument with Joe.But the family remember how fond of Danny jr,Joe was.
Danny has had to give up his bowling career after injuring his wrist,but has decided to invest in a bowling centre with a couple of friends.He tells his girlfriend Robin [Nancy Travis] that it's going to cost $300,000 dollars,but he soon realises he could be in luck when the detective tracks him down, and tells him about his family's invitation to Joe's.Danny asks him for a loan,but Joe tells him he will only lend him the money if he chooses him over his dad.Danny refuses.
Later,Joe apologizes for suggesting something like that,but tells him it was because he was testing him to see if he was like his relatives.Danny soon realises that Joe is becoming ill and starts to worry when Joe tells him he plans on giving his money to Molly.Danny moves in with him to try and prevent that from happening.And it works.But his relatives are angry that he doesn't plan on sharing any money with them after deciding that they're scumbags and Molly is angry that he's taking Joe's money while he's still alive.
Desperate for none of the Macteague's to get their inheritance,Molly decides to finally do what she said she never would - have sex with the old man.But just as she is about to go through with it,they are interrupted by Danny's father,who is disgusted that nothing has changed in the household since he left.Danny gets into a huge argument with him and ends up choosing Uncle Joe over his dad.Molly decides to leave after she realises how low she nearly sunk,and that deep down she was only ever really there for the money.Robin tries to comfort Danny about the situation with his dad,but he tells her that it wasn't really his dad.It was in fact an actor that he'd hired,in order to make out to his uncle that he loved him more than his dad.Robin is disgusted and leaves.
At Joe's attorney's office,Danny is waiting with Joe ready to gain all of his money and posessions,but they are interrupted by the rest of the family who have brought along Danny's real father.Feeling ashamed that his dad knows all about his schemes,Danny admits that he's become just as greedy as the rest of them.But he and the family soon find out that not only is Joe broke,he's also $93,000 dollars in debt.A fight breaks out between the family and everyone is told to leave,but not before Danny tells Joe how much he hates him.But when Danny goes back to Robin,she reminds him how much he does actually care about his uncle.
The two of them let the ill and homeless Joe stay with them in their apartment,but Joe has a surprise for them when they look out the window and see his butler across the street with Molly.He's not really broke."I'm richer than shit".He tells them that they've proved their love for him and they can stay with him at his mansion and co - own everything of his.And his final surprise for them - he gets up out of his wheelchair and walks out.