When it comes to Hollywood movies, con artists are always a popular topic. Whether it’s the story of a small-time grifter who finally hits it big or a diabolical mastermind pulling off the biggest heist in history, we can’t help but be drawn in by their tales of deception and cunning.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best Hollywood movies about con artists. So sit back and enjoy these exciting tales of trickery and deceit!
- 1. The Sting (1973)
- 2. Matchstick Men (2004)
- 3. American Hustle (2013)
- 4. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
- 5. Confidence (2003)
- 6. The Usual Suspects (1995)
- 7. House of Cards (Series) (2013 – 6 Seasons)
- 8. Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
- 9. Margin Call (2011)
- 10. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
- 11. Ocean's 11 (2001)
- 12. Blue Streak (1999)
1. The Sting (1973)
The Sting is a 1973 American heist film directed by George Roy Hill, written by David S. Ward, and starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford as two grifters who team up to pull off the ultimate con.
Set in 1936 in Chicago, Illinois, it tells how they team up to take on the influential leaders of organized crime when this group attempts to fix the boxing matches.
When I think of con artists in cinema history, The Sting would be high on my list for best movies about con artists. It’s a great movie with a fantastic cast that is entertaining and informative on how cons are carried out in real life. The Sting is considered one of the most successful movies ever made, with over 3 million dollars grossed per day during its release.
2. Matchstick Men (2004)
Matchstick Men is a 2004 comedy-crime film directed by Ridley Scott, written by Ted Griffin. One of the best Hollywood movies on con artists.
It tells the story of Roy Waller, a chronic liar and con artist who has been keeping his cancer a secret from his family for years. When Roy’s cancer starts to spread, he is forced to come clean about his illness to his estranged daughter to secure her inheritance. Roy falls in love with belle, don’t spoil your chances if you are confident enough.
3. American Hustle (2013)
In 2013, American Hustle earned 10 Oscar nominations, including one for best picture. The con movie is a perfect example of the American Dream gone wrong in the 1970s. Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) team up with a New York City FBI agent to bring down a corrupt politician amid a heated election.
David O. Russell’s drama follows their scamming efforts from start to finish, but with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end.
In this film, con artists are not only successful but also sympathetic figures when corruption was rampant and overbearing.
In American Hustle, con artists are not only successful but also sympathetic figures when corruption was rampant and overbearing.
4. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Catch Me If You Can is a 2002 drama film based on the life of Frank Abagnale Jr. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, with Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, and Amy Adams in supporting roles. The movie tells the story of Frank Abagnale Jr. (DiCaprio), who successfully conned his way into the world of wealth and privilege without breaking the law until he got caught after being pursued by FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Hanks).
Frank was just eighteen years old when he successfully passed himself off as an airline pilot, doctor, lawyer, and college lecturer. He also cashed more than $2.5 million in checks worldwide with nothing but a photocopier machine for help.
He spent six months living in luxury hotels all over Europe under false identities before being apprehended by the French police at the age of 20
during a Paris airport chase with Carl Hanratty (Hanks)
5. Confidence (2003)
As unlikely as it sounds, Confidence is one of the best movies on con artists ever made.
Confidence is a Hollywood film directed by James Foley and written by Doug Jung. It stars Edward Burns, Andy Garcia, Rachel Weisz, Terence Stamp, and Sam Rockwell.
In the city of New York during the 1980s, three con-artists get involved in a plot to scam a wealthy business person. In this process, they plan to get more than one million dollars.
Other details are being kept under the wraps of this movie directed by James Foley, who is known for directing When a Stranger Calls (2006) and Glengarry Glen Ross (1992).
6. The Usual Suspects (1995)
The Usual Suspects (1995) is a neo-noir mystery crime thriller that revolves around five con men who were brought together by an unknown criminal mastermind.
The film begins with the line ‘Verbal Kint [Kevin Spacey] offers up a story about a boat and some criminals and a massacre and it starts out as any other story: A guy got iced’. It then goes on to show how the police got involved and why they arrested Kint.
The story then flashes back to just before the boat incident, where we meet the criminal mastermind, Keaton (Gabriel Byrne) who informs them about an important job that they will be required to pull off. They decide to go ahead with this job as it is a chance to make a lot of money.
7. House of Cards (Series) (2013 – 6 Seasons)
House of Cards is a Netflix original that captivated audiences with its intelligent, subversive take on Washington politics. The series was an adaptation from the BBC’s original House of Cards and starred Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood.
In the show, Frank Underwood is a cunning politician who ascends to power as President of the United States through complex manipulation and deception. His wife Claire is his partner in crime as they create a new America.
The show’s audience was captivated by its compelling storylines, engaging characters, and clever twists. House of Cards was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series and won three Golden Globe Awards.
8. Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Jordan Belfort, a young man from Queens, comes to the big city and makes his way as a penny-stock trader. From there, he parlays those initial earnings into a vast fortune.
Along the way, Belfort accumulates power and immense wealth, as well as an insatiable appetite for cocaine and prostitutes.
The film is based on his memoir of the same name, which chronicles the life of an ambitious young stockbroker who eventually turns to a life of crime.
9. Margin Call (2011)
Margin Call is a superb financial thriller from director J.C. Chandor, who also made All Is Lost. In it, a large Wall Street investment bank faces a cash shortfall in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown. It’s up to analyst Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto) and his boss Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci) to find a way to save the company before its too late in this enthralling modern-day drama.
The movie captures everything from the tense, closed-door meetings in which employees are summoned one by one for their potential dismissal to the frantic atmosphere on the trading floor where jobs are lost before they’re ever really found.
10. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) is a heist comedy film about two con artists, Lawrence Jamieson (Michael Caine) and Freddy Benson (Steve Martin).
Freddy Benson (Steve Martin) and Lawrence Jamieson (Michael Caine) are two con men who swindle rich tourists in Beaumont-sur-Mer, France. They both fall for Christine Colgate (Glenne Headly), an American heiress travelling with her father Charnier (John Lithgow). When they meet, they engage in a battle of wits.
Benson poses as the deputy sheriff of a small French village while Jamieson poses as “Sir Charles Litton”, an English aristocrat.
Freddy and Lawrence eventually fight over Christine, who believes that Freddy is a police officer from Chicago tracking down Lawrence.
11. Ocean’s 11 (2001)
One of the most famous con artists is Danny Ocean, portrayed by George Clooney in the 2001 remake of Ocean’s 11. This movie follows a group of professional thieves who plan to steal millions of dollars from Las Vegas casinos on New Year’s Eve. The film follows each character, revealing their quirks and motivations before the heist begins.
Danny Ocean, played by George Clooney, was able to convince Terry Benedict that his casino would be rigged with explosives if he didn’t give them $160 million. This bait-and-switch made Danny and his crew one hundred times richer than they previously were.
Ocean’s 11 was a dramatized version of a true story about a heist at a Las Vegas casino in 1960. The real thief who stole $4 million from the Las Vegas Sands casino in January 1960 was actually named Frank Abagnale Jr., not Danny Ocean.
12. Blue Streak (1999)
Blue Streak (1999) is an American-Canadian action comedy film directed by Les Mayfield. It was released in the U.S. on July 31, 1999 and stars Martin Lawrence as Miles Logan, a jewel thief who is forced to impersonate a detective after he is mistaken for an officer of the law.
In present day Los Angeles, jewel thief Miles Logan stages a jewelry store heist, using a toy gun to threaten the employees. Moments after entering the getaway car driven by his girlfriend Nicole, they are pursued by LAPD Detective Carlson and Miles is forced to flee on foot, leaving behind his partner in crime. With no other option available to him, Logan dons an LAPD uniform costume belonging to Deakins, a police officer who was killed in a traffic collision earlier that day. Logan manages to escape Carlson and returns to Nicole, but she is infuriated after discovering the truth and leaves before he can explain himself.
A con can be a powerful tool for a creative person, and Hollywood has been telling the stories of conmen and conwomen for decades. But not all con films are created equal, and some films on this list are a cut above the rest.
So, if you’re looking for a great movie to watch this weekend, look no further. These 10 films have been ranked from worst to best in order to help narrow down your search.