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.