Who doesn’t like a con film? Its high-stakes and gut-punching mind and action fights are enough to keep anyone from looking away. With these 15 Best Con Movies, we curated a list you will surely enjoy.
1. The Sting (1973)
English 2h 9m IMDb
Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Stars Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw
The Sting might be one of the most recognizable con films. As a pioneer in the genre, you can trace back many of the conventions through George Roy Hill’s work. With the fantastic performance from Paul Newman and Robert Radford, you are in for a good-old 70s flick.
The film is in Chicago in 1936 and follows two professional grifters, Johnny Hooker and Henry Gondorff. With a thirst for revenge, they must work together to pull one of their most excellent cons. The Sting was successful as it took home seven Academy Awards.
2. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
English, French 2h 21m IMDb
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken
Catch Me if You Can is one of the classics by Steven Spielberg. The story follows Frank, an expert con artist who undergoes various names and professions. Carl, an FBI agent, decided to make it his life mission to capture the elusive man.
The film is a certified commercial success grossing over $352 million, earning five times its budget. The chemistry between DiCaprio and Tom Hanks is also well praised. With countless nominations and praises from critics, this film is a must-watch if you love con flicks.
3. Paper Moon (1973)
English 1h 42m IMDb
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Stars: Ryan O’Neal, Tatum O’Neal, Madeline Kahn
Paper Moon’s story is set in the Great Depression-era Midwest. It follows the exploits of con artist Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neal) and his young daughter Addie (Tatum O’Neal) as they work across the country scamming people with their “paper moon” act.
With a fun, lighthearted tone yet moving dramatic shifts, it encapsulates the time it’s set on. It received countless nominations and awards from the Oscars and The Academy. Tatum O’Neal took home the trophy, being the youngest person to ever win an Oscar at ten.
4. Nine Queens (2000)
Spanish 1h 54m IMDb
Director: Fabián Bielinsky
Stars: Ricardo Darín, Gastón Pauls, Graciela Tenenbaum
If you have a penchant for some good Argentine con film, this 2000 movie by Fabián Bielinsky will suit you. Nine Queens stars Ricardo Darín and Gastón Pauls as two con artists who team up to trick a group of wealthy collectors.
Its excellence broke Argentine cinema’s barrier and made its way to international acclaim. Nine Queens is a fast-paced, cleverly written thriller that keeps the viewer at the edge until the very end. The two main characters are likable and sympathetic, even as they commit increasingly devious acts.
5. Trading Places (1983)
English 1h 56m IMDb
Director: John Landis
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Ralph Bellamy
If you want your swindling film with a side of racial and social commentary, look no further than the 1983 flick Trading Places. You know you are in for a hilarious performance with a stellar cast like Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy.
Aykroyd and Murphy play two men from very different walks of life. Aykroyd is Louis Winthorpe III, a successful commodities broker from a wealthy family. The film is a success, grossing over $90 million. Trading Places also has many awards nomination, especially with its excellent writing of the screenplay.
6. Midnight Run (1988)
English 2h 6m IMDb
Director: Martin Brest
Stars: Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto
Midnight Run plays off the life between three characters: two bounty hunters and the elusive swindler. With a ton of money behind their back, the three set on a great game of chase across the country. The stakes are just getting higher and higher than ever before.
The film is a hilarious and action-packed ride, with De Niro and Grodin playing off each other perfectly. It’s a classic buddy movie that will entertain and give action-comedy fans a run for their money.
7. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
English, French, German 1h 50m IMDb
Director: Frank Oz
Stars: Steve Martin, Michael Caine, Glenne Headly
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is one of the comedic classics from Frank Oz. The film stars Steve Martin as Lawrence Jamieson, a con artist, and Michael Caine as Freddy Benson, a small-time crook. The two team up to swindle a wealthy American heiress, played by Glenne Headly.
Critical reception for the film was primarily positive. Dirty Rotten Scoundrel was a financial success, with over $100 million at the box office. With two Academy Awards wins for Caine and Martin, it’s also struck through the cinema sphere.
8. Matchstick Men (2003)
English 1h 56m IMDb
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Alison Lohman, Sam Rockwel
Matchstick Men stars Roy Waller (Cage) and Frank Mercer (Rockwell), two con men on their way to a major heist. Roy is a veteran con artist who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, while Frank is his younger and more impulsive partner. The two men attempt to pull off a major heist, but things take a turn when Roy’s daughter suddenly appears.
Ridley Scott’s Matchstick Men plays off the excellent pairing between its characters, especially Cage and Rockwell. With the stellar direction by Scott, this is one of the classics in the con-heist genre.
9. Now You See Me (2013)
English, French 1h 55m IMDb
Director: Louis Leterrier
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Common, Mark Ruffalo
With a famous magic trick for its title, Now You See Me serves as a fun and entertaining twist to a con film. The movie revolves around an Interpol Detective and FBI agent as they try to capture illusionists and their bank heists throughout the area. The film has an excellent cast, such as Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, and Woody Harrelson.
Despite mixed reviews from critics, “Now You See Me” was a box office success, grossing over $351 million worldwide. If you are a fan of the heists and interconnected plots, this film is a must-watch for you.
10. House of Games (1987)
English, Latin 1h 42m IMDb
Director: David Mamet
Stars: Lindsay Crouse, Joe Mantegna, Mike Nussbaum
Coming from the mind of David Mamet, House of Games is one of the genre’s classics. It stars Lindsay Crouse as Margaret Ford, a successful therapist. The story follows her entanglement in the con artists’ world after meeting the charming and manipulative Mike (Joe Mantegna).
The film is a masterclass blending tension and manipulation, with Mamet’s writing and direction keeping the viewer on edge. The plot is twisty and gripping, and the characters are all fascinating and complex. “House of Games” is a thrilling ride from start to finish and is considered one of Mamet’s best films.
11. American Hustle (2013)
English, Arabic 2h 18m IMDb
Director: David O. Russell
Stars: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper
American Hustle follows the story of Bale’s Irving Rosenfeld, a con artist working with his con-partner and girlfriend, Sydney Prosser (Adams). The two con-men are forced to work with FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Cooper), who is investigating corruption in the government. Complete with the late 70s and early 80s aesthetics, you will love this film if you are a fan of the period.
Russell’s film offers a modern twist to the classic film-noir of the 80s, complete with the image and storyline. The film grossed over $250 million with ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.
12. The Grifters (1990)
English 1h 50m IMDb
Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Anjelica Huston, John Cusack, Annette Bening
The Grifters tells the story of small-time con artist Roy Dillon who is torn between his lifestyle and love for his girlfriend, Myra. With the sudden appearance of Roy’s mother, along is a chance to work for a more significant con. With these new changes in his life, Roy must make a decision.
Frears’ The Grifters is a well-crafted film with solid performances from its cast. The film’s plot is intriguing, and the characters are complex. The movie is a must-see for fans of crime dramas.
13. The Brothers Bloom (2008)
English, French, Czech, Japanese 1h 54m IMDb
Director: Rian Johnson
Stars: Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo
The Brothers Bloom shows the lives of con artists Bloom (Adrien Brody) and Stephen (Mark Ruffalo). The two have been running cons since they were children and are now looking for one last big score. They find their mark in Penelope (Rachel Weisz), an eccentric heiress who is looking for some excitement in her life.
Despite being primarily a comedy, the direction by Rian Johnson still incorporates emotional plot beats in the film. This movie is best if you want a more fantastical adventure twist in your con flick.
14. Swindled (2004)
Spanish 1h 50m IMDb
Director: Miguel Bardem
Stars: Ernesto Alterio, Victoria Abril, Federico Luppi
The second Spanish con film on this list, Miguel Bardem’s Swindled, offers a unique mix of action and drama. It stars Bardem’s brother, Javier Bardem, as a con artist who is double-crossed by his accomplices and left for dead. The film also stars Penélope Cruz, Eduardo Noriega, and Paz Vega.
Swindle was a box office success in Spain, which grossed €11,032,852. It received mixed reviews from critics, but Bardem’s direction was praised.
15. I Care a Lot (2020)
English 1h 58m IMDb
Director: J Blakeson
Stars: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González
Netflix’s 2020 I Care a Lot is a black comedy-crime flick by J Blakeson. The movie shows the life of Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike), a con artist who pretends to be a caretaker for the elderly to exploit them. However, her latest victim, Jennifer Peterson (Wiest), turns out to be much more than she is capable of.
The film offers a commentary on the greed and selfishness of people who exploit the vulnerable. With a gripping take on a con film, the film provides a gripping hold to your attention.
Now that you know the 15 Best Con Movies on this list, what are you waiting for? Grab the popcorn and some sodas and start the marathon.