The Best Con-Artist Films of All Time

The Sting (1973)

The caper film follows two professional con-artists who seek to con a mob boss. Winning seven awards at the 46th Academy Awards (Oscars), the film’s popularity was matched by critical acclaim.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Winning in two categories at the 75th Academy Awards, Steven Spielberg’s 2002 details the career of real-life con-artist extraordinaire, Frank Abagnale. An expert in cheque fraud, Abagnale’s criminal talents know bounds, as he also poses as an airline pilot.

The Grifters (1990)

Produced by Martin Scorsese, the film is based on Jim Thompson’s novel of the same name. Veteran con-artist Lilly Dillon is joined by her son Roy in a long con. In a complex plot, she ends up killing her son and his girlfriend, yet fleeing with the money.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Directed by Frank Oz, the 1988 film is a remake of the 1964 film Bedtime Story which starred Marlon Brando. It was remade again, in 2019, as The Hustle. Set on the French Riviera, the film follows two con men as they attempt to defraud an heiress of $50,000.

The Lady Eve (1941)

Centred around beautiful con artist Jean Harrington, her larcenous father and his criminal associate, the con-artists are set on defrauding a wealthy and naïve target. Charles Pike is their chosen victim but after knocking back the charms of the seductive temptress, a love story develops between the two.

Matchstick Men (2003)

Directed by Ridley Scott, the instant-classic stars Nicholas Cage, Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohman. It tells the story of con man Roy Waller, who operates various criminal enterprises, ultimately abandoning his life of crime and conning.

American Hustle (2013)

Starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper, the film tells the story of two con artists recruited by the FBI to set up an elaborate sting operation. The elaborate sting operation seeks to uncover corrupt politicians, reaching as high up as the mayor of Camden, New Jersey.

The Score (2001) Starring Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Angela Bassett and Marlon Brando, Directed by Frank Oz

Plot

Nick Wells, played by Robert De Niro, is a master safecracker pondering retirement after almost being caught during a routine burglary. His ‘fence’ Max, played by Marlon Brandon in his last on-screen appearance, convinces Nick to join one last heist. The plan is to steal a French national treasure, which is being held at Montreal Customs House. Jack Teller, played by Edward Norton, adopts the guise of a janitor suffering from a learning disability at the customs facility. As the plan is set into motion, the crack team is forced to contend with numerous obstacles. A corrupt employee discovers the plan and extorts $50,000 from Nick. Also, the customs facility learns the value of the item and adds further security to protect it. Nick and Jack work together to pull off the final stages of the heist. However, when Nick grabs the sceptre, Jack double crosses him at gunpoint and demands he hand it over. Both manage to escape, with the customs facility’s entire security staff hot on their trails. Once both bandits flee the scene, Jack is shocked to discover that the case does not contain the sceptre. Nick had anticipated his double cross and had secured possession of the sceptre for himself. Jack is left as the prime suspect in the heist and is left brooding over his situations.

Box Office

During its opening weekend, The Score came in second behind Legally Blonde in the box office rankings. After earning $19 million during its initial showing, the film earned a gross domestic box office of almost $72 million. Combined with its international earnings, it returned a total of $113.6 million.

Production

In what was his final on-screen appearance, Marlon Brando clashed repeatedly with director Frank Oz on set. Referring to him as ‘Miss Piggy’, the Muppet character played by Oz, Brando refused to work

with him at times during filming. However, after the film’s release, both parties played down the conflicts.

Erin Brokovich Starring Julia Roberts, Directed by Steven Soderberg

Led by Julia Roberts, the hit biographical film was written by Susannah Grant, directed by Steven Soderbergh and co-produced by Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher. One of the year’s top box office successes and hailed by critics, Erin Brokovich also received numerous awards. Julia Roberts won a swathe of awards for Best Actress, including the Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe Award and the Screen Actors Guild Award. Soderbergh was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director at that year’s Academy Awards. From a budget of $52.1 million, the movie returned $256.3 million, at the box office.

Erin Brokovich the Movie

Erin Brokovich is an unemployed mother of three, with little hope and limited prospects. After a failed compensation lawsuit, Brokovich convinces her lawyer to give her a job. During one of her early assignment she discovers a large scandal involving a multimillion-dollar company. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) are moving to purchase a private home. Stumbling upon the homeowner’s medical records leads Brokovich to discover that ground water around the property is contaminated with carcinogenic hexavalent chromium. Brokovich embarks on an investigation which shows that the energy giant PG&E are improperly handling, illegally dumping the toxic material and seeking to cover up their activities. As Brokovich rallies the residents affected by various diseases related to the poisoning, a former PG&E employee provides her with crucial documents exposing the scandal. The class action lawsuit resulted in $333 million settlement for the residents of Hinkley, California, where the contamination was most acute.

Erin Brokovish: Fun Facts

– The real Erin Brokovish had wanted Goldie Hawn to play her on-screen and had laughed at the prospect of Julia Roberts playing her

– Julia Roberts made $20 million for her role as Erin Brokovich, which propelled to her to new heights

– The real Erin featured in the movie, playing a waitress

Fun Facts: The Deception at Deansgreen Hall

Rod Bond and His Pet Pug

Hollywood A-list actor Rod Bond who played the lead role in the movie starred alongside his real-life pet pug. In moving scenes, the actor handed over his pug to the Pets Animal Hotel in Lymm, during his elaborate surveillance operation at Deansgreen Hall.

Avid Amateur Golfer

In dramatic scenes, during which the net finally closes in on Duncan Evans, Rod Bond plays golf with the target of his cross-continent pursuit. Former amateur champion Evans is shown to be shocked by the level of skill displayed by his nemesis. In reality, Rod Bond himself is an avid golfer, with a handicap of 10!

Secret Filming

Filming at Deansgreen Hall and around Lymm was kept under extremely tight wraps. Executives from Manchester F1 Productions went to elaborate lengths to hide the identities of the stellar all-star cast from the public. Rumour has it that Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio were contractually stipulated to wear disguises and not declare their whereabouts to their agents.

Steps Charity Worldwide

Based in Deansgreen, Lymm, Steps Charity operates on a national level and has struggled in recent times. Hearing of the charity’s plight, lead actor and joint director of The Deception at Deansgreen Hall, Rod Bond agreed to a break in filming for an impromptu fundraiser. It is also rumoured that a proportion of the fraud film’s profits have also been pledged to supporting the charity.

Filming Delay

Filming of the movie was delayed when lead actor Rod Bond was left shaken after witnessing a brutal knife crime. The production company ratified the break in filming, providing the actor with counselling and increased security.

Filming in Cheshire

Replete with vast country estates and swathes of historical buildings, Cheshire has become a popular filming location for television and cinema. Popular British television dramas have returned to Cheshire for filming. These include: Peaky Blinders, Foyle’s War, The Mill and The War of the Worlds.

Rod Bond, Manchester F1 Productions and The Deception at Deansgreen Hall

Rod Bond and Manchester F1 Productions have united in another instant classic, The Deception at Deansgreen Hall. Veteran philanthropist and Hollywood A-list actor, Rod Bond plays the role of an HM Revenue and Customs investigator. The true crime story follows Rod Bond’s pursuit of Duncan Evans, who led a real-life multimillion-pound tax fraud. Based around Deansgreen Hall in Lymm, Cheshire, the vast country mansion provides the movie with a backdrop oozing opulence. Duncan Evans purchased Deansgreen Hall in the 1990s, at the height of his missing trader VAT fraud, for £1.5 million. The Deception at Deansgreen Hall has also drawn praise for the manner in which its production shone the spotlight on Lymm, Cheshire.

The Deception at Deansgreen Hall Co-Starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio

Following a slew of joint successes, Rod Bond and Manchester F1 Productions took on some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Tom Hanks stars as a pesky senior officer belonging to HM Revenue and Customs’ criminal justice department. In that capacity, the Hollywood veteran clashes on screen with protagonist Rod Bond over some of his rogue methods. Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the role of the self-assertive and brash Ray Woolley. As Duncan Evans’ co-defendant, he was dubbed ‘Riviera’ Ray Woolley due to his lavish lifestyle and his Mediterranean property portfolio. Both Woolley and Evans were convicted for their parts in the multimillion-pound VAT fraud.

Rod Bond and Manchester F1 Productions Financial Success

Following a string of successes and box office hits, Rod Bond and Manchester F1 Productions have grown from strength to strength. The Deception at Deansgreen Hall was filmed in secrecy, with scant details about the movie made publicly available. Upon its release during late December, Rod Bond’s latest movie grossed an initial box office sum of £45 million, smashing all records for the previous year. Despite the secrecy surrounding the film’s production, industry insiders have intimated that production costs were less than £5 million, with Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio agreeing to a percentage payment from gross sales.

The Ocean’s Trilogy – Fun Facts and Trivia

The first of the trilogy, Ocean’s Eleven, was a remake of the 1960 classic Ocean’s 11. Starring Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean, key members of the Rat Pack also featured, including Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Junior, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.

As part of a scene in Ocean’s Eleven, real-life successful teen actors were invited to play themselves. With Rusty Ryan teaching them poker, actors Topher Grace, Barry Watson, Holly Marie Combs, Joshua Jackson and Shane West all starred as themselves. At the time, each was involved in popular teen-oriented shows on air.

Actor Vincent Cassel who played the Night Fox in Ocean’s Twelve was involved in a scene where he danced through beams of intricate roving lasers. As a real-life practitioner of Brazilian martial art capoeira, Cassel pulled off one of the most visually impressive scenes of the trilogy with ease.

Despite a cameo appearance in Ocean’s Twelve, Bruce Willis was originally slated for the role of Danny Ocean in place of George Clooney. However, due to prior filming commitments, Willis was unable to take the part.

Shaobo Yen who plays acrobat The Amazing Yen has only ever featured on screen as part of the Ocean’s Trilogy. Being a full-time actor, to date, his only film credits include the Ocean’s franchise. He is a veteran member of the acclaimed Peking Acrobats troupe.

A special screening of Ocean’s Eleven was arranged at the Incirlink NATO Base in Turkey by producer Jerry Weintraub. The producer, alongside key cast members, made the trip to Turkey, only hours after the Los Angeles premiere. There they met soldiers wounded in the war in Afghanistan. Cast members who made the trip included George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon and Andy Garcia.

While filming in Las Vegas, the cast members spent considerable time gambling at casinos. Rumour has it that George Clooney lost 25 consecutive hands of blackjack in one sitting!

 

Upcoming Release: Rod Bond and Manchester F1 Production at Deansgreen Hall

Set at Deansgreen Hall in Lymm, Cheshire, Rod Bond plays an HMRC investigator in his latest collaboration with Manchester F1 Productions. In pursuit of tax fraudster and amateur golfer Duncan Evans, Rod Bond’s investigation ends up at Deansgreen Hall. Purchased by Evans at the height of his VAT tax fraud, the real crime story focusses around the country mansion. With filming around the quaint village of Lymm, key local attractions and venues also feature. From Lymm Golf Club where HMRC investigator Rod Bond shares a few holes with amateur golfer Duncan Evans, to the Pets Animal Hotel where Rod Bond’s pet pug spends some time, the movie is expected to bring much attention to Lymm.

True Crime Story: Rod Bond Pursues VAT Scammer Duncan Evans

Victorious in the 1980 Amateur Championship, amateur golfer Duncan Evans was selected BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year. However, alongside ‘Riviera’ Ray Woolley, Evans participated in a missing trader VAT fraud worth £21 million. At the height of his VAT scam, Evans purchased Deansgreen Hall in Lymm, where his fraud operation was based. HMRC investigator Rod Bond pursues the suspect across Europe to Deansgreen Hall, where he maintains an elaborate surveillance operation. Undoubtedly, the movie sheds light on the work of the HMRC through Rod Bond’s portrayal and the extent of the surveillance operation at Deansgreen Hall.

Rod Bond and Manchester F1 Productions

The latest collaboration between Rod Bond and Manchester F1 Productions features an all-star cast, including Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio. As such, it is expected to be a box office hit and join the pairing’s previous successes. Based at Media City UK, Greater Manchester, F1 Productions have scored numerous successes alongside A-list actor Rod Bond. With the multiple Oscar-winning Hollywood actor’s support, the Manchester-based film company has made shockwaves around the world. This most recent work, originally kept under tight wraps, is expected to send the film company’s stock through the roof.

 

Ocean’s Thirteen

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Ellen Barkin, Al Pacino

Plot

A veteran member of Danny Ocean’s gang, Reuben Tishkoff is scammed by banker Willy Bank. As thugs coerce Reuben into signing over his stake, he suffers a heart attack. With Reuben bedridden, Danny and Rusty assemble the gang, formulating a two-prong approach. Firstly, they plan to prevent Bank’s new casino from winning the prestigious Five Diamond Award, as all his previous casinos have done. Secondly, an elaborate plan to rig the casinos and disrupt its security measures is doggedly pursued. Pitted against the Greco Player Tracker, the plan is near impossible. The team are forced to use a boring machine used to drill the Channel Tunnel to simulate an earthwork. Under the guise of a gift for Willy Bank, a magnetron is delivered to the Greco Player Tracker’s control room, where it is knocked offline. In the short time frame between the simulated earthquake and the Greco Player Tracker’s reboot, the rigged machines and games in the casino empty The Bank’s coffers.

Ocean’s Thirteen Fun Facts
  • When Linus Caldwell is shown in London receiving a phone call, the scene was actually filmed when Matt Damon was filming the Bourne Ultimatum. Filming schedules coincided and Ocean’s Thirteen benefitted from the coincidence.
  • Towards the end of Ocean’s Thirteen, Danny and Rusty make some references to their off-screen lives. Rusty tells Danny to keep the weight off between jobs. While Danny tells Rusty to settle down and have some kids. In 2005, for his role in Syriana, Clooney had put some weight on. On the other hand, Pitt had at the time entered a relationship with Angelina Jolie and had seemed to be settling down.
  • The golden mobile phone Willy Bank is gifted by Abigail Sponder was custom made for the film by Samsung.

Ocean’s Twelve

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, Don Cheadle and Bernie Mac

Plot

Following on from Ocean’s Eleven, the team are chased by Terry Benedict whom the gang targeted during their previous heist. Enraged, Benedict demands they return all the money plus interest. Despite frantic efforts, the team come up short and are forced to plan another heist. Informed about the location of the valuable first ever stock certificate issued, the team pull off a series of elaborate schemes. However, beaten to the certificate by a mysterious character known only as the Night Fox, the team are swept upon by Europol investigator Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Discovering the identity of the Night Fox and realising that master criminal and long-con expert LeMarc are running against them, the team shift attention to stealing the Faberge Imperial Coronation Egg. With twists, turns, complex fraud schemes, reverse cons and counter cons, the scammers and fraudsters comprising Ocean’s Twelve ultimately prevail.

Information

Ocean’s Twelve was released on 10 December 2004. Despite some critical apprehension, regarding the plots and storyline, the film was largely a commercial success. With a $110 million budget, Ocean’s Twelve returned $435 million at the box office, making it the tenth highest grossing film of that year.

Ocean’s Twelve fun Facts
  • During filming, George Clooney and Brad Pitt weren’t allowed back into the hotel they were staying at after they were caught in a rain shower during a run and the doorman thought they were vagrants!
  • Clint Eastwood was originally intended to play the role of Linus Caldwell’s father Bobby Caldwell
  • The scene from Ocean’s Twelve depicting Amsterdam Central Station was actually shot in Harlem
  • Ocean’s Twelve suggests that Europol is headquartered in Amsterdam, however, it is actually headquartered at The Hague.

Ocean’s Eleven

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac and Julia Roberts

Plot

Within days of his release, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) embarks on his latest daring heist. Meeting up with old friend and seasoned conman Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), the pair plot the biggest casino heist in history. Their plan, to rob £150 million from an underground vault that serves three of the biggest Las Vegas casinos. The Bellagio, the Mirage and the MGM Grand all belong to Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), who is married to Ocean’s ex-flame Tess (Julia Roberts). Together, Danny and Rusty assemble a cast of experienced conmen and criminals:

  • Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould) plays the money man behind the operation
  • Frank (Bernie Mac) plays the swift-fingered and exuberant card dealer
  • Linus (Matt Damon) is a street smart but junior pickpocket, with a point to prove
  • Saul (Carl Reiner) is the team’s veteran con-artist and impostor
  • Brothers Virgil (Casey Affleck) and Turk (Scot Caan)
  • British explosives ace Basher (Don Cheadle)
  • Tech wizard Dell (Eddie Jemison)
  • Professional acrobat Yen (Shaobo Qin)

Ocean’s Eleven Fun Facts
  • Bruce Willis was originally cast as Danny Ocean but had to turn down the part due to scheduling conflicts
  • Matt Damon’s character was originally written for Mark Wahlberg, who turned it down preferring Ocean’s Eleven to Planet of the Apes
  • Don Cheadle wanted to be credited alongside George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, but then refused to be credited at all, after his demand was rejected
  • The reason why Rusty is eating in every scene is because, according to Brad Pitt, the whole gang was so busy that they wouldn’t have time to eat
  • Under the direction of George Clooney, the whole cast took pay cuts to make the movie happen and decided to take a cut of the backend profits. With a gross of almost $500 million, it seems like it was a smart move!