Opening

97% Ghostbusters Aug 29
23% As Above/So Below Aug 29
36% The November Man Aug 27
98% Starred Up Aug 27
76% The Congress Aug 29

Top Box Office

92% Guardians of the Galaxy $17.2M
20% Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $16.7M
37% If I Stay $15.7M
21% Let's Be Cops $10.8M
18% When The Game Stands Tall $8.4M
34% The Expendables 3 $6.5M
32% The Giver $6.4M
45% Sin City: A Dame to Kill For $6.3M
65% The Hundred-Foot Journey $5.3M
19% Into The Storm $3.8M

Coming Soon

—— Innocence Sep 05
—— The Longest Week Sep 05
—— The Identical Sep 05
67% Thunder and the House of Magic Sep 05
74% God Help the Girl Sep 05

New Episodes Tonight

—— Jonah From Tonga: Season 1

Discuss Last Night's Shows

75% The Cosmopolitans: Season One
100% Defiance: Season 2
100% Garfunkel and Oates: Season 1
89% The Honorable Woman: Season 1
56% Married: Season 1
39% Rush: Season 1
82% Satisfaction: Season 1
82% Welcome to Sweden: Season 1
77% You're the Worst: Season 1

Certified Fresh TV

86% The Bridge (FX): Season 2
91% Doctor Who: Season 8
83% Extant: Season 1
89% The Honorable Woman: Season 1
87% The Knick: Season 1
89% Manhattan: Season 1
97% Masters of Sex: Season 2
73% Murder in the First: Season 1
89% Outlander: Season 1
82% Satisfaction: Season 1
87% The Strain: Season 1
82% Welcome to Sweden: Season 1
77% You're the Worst: Season 1

The Grifters (1990)

tomatometer

80

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.

audience

71

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 10,443

My Rating

Movie Info

Director Stephen Frears' tense adaptation of Jim Thompson's novel The Grifters was one of a number of revival film noirs in the first half of the '90s. Updating the setting to contemporary Los Angeles, the film follows a trio of con artists who are intent on out-foxing each other. Roy Dillon (John Cusack) is a simple, two-bit con, whose life is thrown into turmoil when his estranged mother Lilly (Anjelica Huston) returns home in an attempt to evade the law. Lilly doesn't warm to Roy's girlfriend

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Jun 30, 1998

HBO Video

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on The Grifters

March 3, 2011:
DirecTV Will Launch the First Premium On-Demand Service
In a move aimed to test theatrical release windows -- and customers' wallets -- DirecTV is planning...
December 4, 2009:
Sundance 2010: RT's 10 Most Anticipated Movies
Five or six years ago, the Sundance Film Festival was more famous for showing dozens of worthy,...

ADVERTISEMENT

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (4) | DVD (11)

Best to savor The Grifters for its handsome design -- the picture looks as clean as a Hockney landscape -- and its juicy performances.

November 6, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A mannerist thriller that doesn't begin to work despite the number of talented hands involved.

November 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cusack underplays Roy, making him an unbelievable wiseguy, a colorless cipher too akin to the saps he loves to fleece.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Donald Westlake's excellent screenplay does some justice to the starkness of Jim Thompson's novel; and Frears' direction never fails to grab the attention.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Grifters is so good that one leaves the theater on a spellbound high.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It seduces you into believing it's merely a cheeky trifle, and then, when you least expect it, lowers the boom.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[VIDEO] Although the movie recalls films by the Coen Brothers or the Dahl Brothers, "The Grifters" retains its source material's voice in a thoroughly original way. Here's a neo-noir you can never see too many times.

September 13, 2011 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

A darkly cynical and uncompromising gem.

November 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Clever writing and fine cast make this tale of thieves among us fun to watch.

March 22, 2008
Video-Reviewmaster.com

British helmer Frears makes auspicious American debut with this light, speedy, perfectly executed noir, based on Jim Thompson's novel, boasting three terrific performances; one of the best films of the year

July 22, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

[A] quirky, absorbing adaptation of Jim Thompson's pulp novel.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Intriguing neo-noir.

October 7, 2005
Nitrate Online

Well done, but finally airless modern noir.

January 29, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Donald Westlake's screenplay has the right combination of vivid characters, mordant wit and avaricious savagery which distinguishes the best noir.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

perfectly-cast... a gem

September 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

An acidic modern noir full of two-faced cons and unexpected jolts.

July 25, 2002
eFilmCritic.com

A love triangle among grifters (con artists), that plays out as a film noir morality tale.

August 15, 2001 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A perfectly cast and gripping neo-noir thriller.

July 25, 2001 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

I guess the whole problem is that there's just not enough grifting going on.

February 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

This is not a bad film, it just fails to materialize into a very good one.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

The Grifters is a cynical film that continually catches the audience off-guard; if you're into dark film noir, it doesn't come much darker than this.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for The Grifters

A forgettable outing from one of my favourite directors, unfortunately. Annette Bening is a sparkplug, Angelica Huston is electric, and the final act is a knockout. Unfortunately, the film bounces around for the first hour or more, in a way that, instead of building intrigue, is jarring and kind of confusing. Every time you think you understand what's happening with a character, the film cuts away and focuses elsewhere. It's not the three way chase that has been mastered elsewhere (see: No Country for Old Men), it's just a rote series of flashes. This film could easily have been 20 minutes shorter. But, to its credit, most of the threads dropped in the wandering earlier portion are picked up in the end, and the final half hour is gripping. Definitely an immature film from Frears, and one that was probably over-rated due to its adhesion to that weird early 90s neo-noir thing (see: Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, etc.). If you turned it off before getting to the ending, I won't hold it against you.
December 29, 2011
danperry17

Super Reviewer

This is my semi-strange parallel: I see this film as a depraved, con man version of My Cousin Vinny. It's regional, it's tricky, and it's female character driven, even though the protagonist in each is ostensibly the male. But I think it's mostly because Annette Bening's character reminds me a lot of Marisa Tomei's, body hugging dress and all.
April 28, 2011
jennifxu

Super Reviewer

Unjustifiably forgotten new classic. A striking and quirky neo noir with a superb triad of criminals blinded by greed. Terrific score by Elmer Bernstein.
August 26, 2008
pier007

Super Reviewer

    1. Lilly Dillon: Lilly: My son will be all right. If he isn't, I'll have you killed.
    – Submitted by Vida D (7 months ago)
    1. Bobo Justus: Tell me about the oranges, Lilly.
    – Submitted by Vida D (7 months ago)
View all quotes (2)

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Grifters on our Movie forum!

What's Hot On RT

Critics Consensus
Critics Consensus

November Man is Slick, Convoluted

Total Recall
Total Recall

Pierce Brosnan's 10 Best Movies

Mindy Project
Mindy Project

Get caught up on the comedy

Red Carpet Roundup
Red Carpet Roundup

See pictures from this week's premieres

Foreign Titles

  • The Grifters (1990) (UK)
  • The Grifters (1990) (CA)
Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile