6.9/10
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The Grifters (1990)

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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:

$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 »
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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

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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Jeff Goldblum/Aerosmith (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

Juicy piece of neo-noir
24 April 2003 | by george.schmidtSee all my reviews

THE GRIFTERS (1990) ***1/2 John Cusack, Anjelica Huston, Annette Bening, Pat Hingle, J.T. Walsh, Charles Napier. Donald Westlake's slick, serpentine screenplay adaptation of noir author Jim Thompson's novel offers up a juicy, ripe slice of pulp fiction with hip Cusack a slick con artist strictly small time, Huston as his duplicitous, estranged Mobbed up mother on the take and Bening as his slinky gal pal with a few cards up her collective sleeve.

Excellently executed in the rhythms of a perfectly coiled con game about to be sprung with slick precision thanks to fine acting all around and a jolting climax thanks to a steady helm by director Stephen Frears.


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