Best Movies by Farr
The Grifters Poster
Released Runtime Category
1990 110 Drama, Romance, Mystery/Thrillers
Director Language
Stephen Frears English
Anjelica Huston, John Cusack, Annette Bening

The Grifters

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What's it About

Lilly Dillon (Huston) is a tough broad; she works for the mob, placing bets on horses to fix the odds at the track. Her mostly-estranged son Roy (Cusack) works the “short con”, small-time hustling and swindling. When mother and son happen to reconnect, Lilly takes an instant dislike to Roy’s new girlfriend Myra (Bening), who uses her sexual wiles to get whatever she wants. Myra, a former big-time swindler, tries to convince Roy to play the “long con” with her, while Lilly tries to convince him to quit grifting altogether. Can Roy escape the pull of these two powerful women?

Why we love it

British director Frears, known for the wickedly saucy “Dangerous Liaisons,” helms this crisp, cunning adaptation of Jim Thompson’s pulp crime novel. Set in seedy motels and around La Jolla racetrack, “The Grifters” evokes a bygone cinematic era of double-crossing dames and duplicitous deeds while maintaining a slick contemporary style. In an early role, Bening plays the ultimate femme fatale with gusto, while Huston is equally memorable as an old pro who’s in way over her head. Produced by Martin Scorsese, who provides the opening voiceover, this jazzy, Oscar-nominated thriller is a worthy tribute to those 1940s noirs we know and love.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"