Con artist flicks are some of the most entertaining and thrilling films. Hollywood has given us many TV shows and films of such kind. In honor of all that, we’re going to talk about the 15 best con artist movies of all time. So, let’s get started:
15. Focus (2015)
The focus was released in 2015 and instantly became a memorable movie. No, it wasn’t critically acclaimed or an Award-magnet. However, it was entertaining and kept you in your seat for an hour and 45 minutes.
The film stars Margot Robbie and Will Smith as Jess and Nicky. While Jess was Nicky’s teacher once upon a time, she’s back now to meddle with his plans. This leads to a flurry of action and a very intriguing con movie.
14. The Two Faces of January (2014)
The Two Faces of January is an entertaining and gripping film. You’ll find many movies where it’s good vs. bad, but rarely any good movies where it’s bad vs. bad. The film is led by grey characters, and two of them are con artists, Chester (Viggo Mortenson) and Colette (Kristen Dunst).
However, they land in trouble with the Greek police and must trust another grey character, a stranger named Rydal (Oscar Isaac). It’s a great film and thoroughly captures the mindset and work of con artists.
13. Snatch (2000)
Snatch is a great film that thoroughly encapsulates the trials and atmosphere of the underworld. Illegal boxing rings, fierce bookies, and small-time thieves—the film has them all. However, they’re all trying to con each other throughout the movie.
The take in this movie is diamonds worth millions of dollars. But, what you might find most intriguing about this movie is the star cast featuring Brad Pitt, Jason Statham, Benicio Del Toro, etc.
12. The Brothers Bloom (2008)
The Brothers Bloom is about two con artists who have had a long and fruitful career of conning people. Throughout, they’ve had many wins and are doing well for themselves, as Bloom(Adrien Brody) wishes to be out of the business.
However, when Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) convinces Bloom to pull off another job, things turn out. This time, they’re going big, and they decide to target an eccentric woman called Penelope (Rachel Weisz).
11. Nightmare Alley (2021)
Nightmare Alley was one of the films that flew under the radar in 2021, thanks largely to Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, the film was definitely one of the watch-worthy films released in 2021 because of the prolific director and star cast.
It begins in the 1940s when Carlisle (Bradley Cooper) begins his quest to the top of the food chain. He cons wealthy and elite people but hopes to cash in a big score against a tycoon. The only problem he faces? He’s up against one of the most daunting adversaries yet.
10. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street is largely a true story—save for some made-up characters. Featuring a star cast as well, this film was the talk of the town back in the early 2014s. Many people thought Leo should have won his first Oscar for portraying Jordan Belfort as a wall street broker.
The film is based on the true story of Jordan, who’s looking to make it big. But, soon, he realizes he’s up against way too big a fish, and the only way to the top is by ripping them off or conning them. In the movie, he’s joined by Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) on his question.
9. Criminal (2004)
Criminal (2004) features one of the best comedic con-man plots ever. This film begins when Richard (John C. Reilly) goes on a mission to swindle the rich. But soon, he requires help, so he enlists a thief called Rodrigo (Diego Luna).
After that, the film largely surrounds them trying to sell a rare currency bill. However, their target is a currency collector, and fooling him may not be as easy as they think. But the temporary partnership between two con artists makes for a great movie.
8. The Talented MR. Ripley (1999)
The Talented MR. Ripley is one of the best films of Matt Damon‘s career. Playing the titular character, Tom Ripley is a brilliant and witty young man but still an underachiever in his abilities. Soon, he’s sent to retrieve someone in Italy.
When he lands, he finds that his target is Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), a spoiled brat. But, seeing Dickie’s luxurious life, he becomes envious and decides to make something similar for him— through conning and contriving.
7. Inception (2010)
Inception is always viewed as action, adventure, or Sci-Fi. But, if you’ve seen this film, then you know that at the center of this plot is the biggest con mission of the main character, Cobb’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) life.
He makes a living by conning people and stealing information from their dreams. Therefore, he’s recruited by an energy mogul Saito (Ken Watanabe), to attack another energy mogul Fischer (Cillian Murphy). His mission? To change Fischer’s mind and dissolve his empire.
6. Now You See Me (2013)
Now You See Me is pure entertainment if you like mystery, thrillers, etc. The film may not have been a hoot among the critics, but the audience surely loved it. So much so that the studio had to make a sequel for it.
It begins with four street magicians who are great at what they do. But, underneath the cover of magicians, they’re brilliant con men (and women) who con people. But, soon, things turn sour when they’re chased by the police and FBI.
5. The Usual Suspect (1995)
The Usual Suspects is a classic of the 90s. One of the most famous thrillers of all time, this film features one of the greatest con artists’ stories of all time. What Inception did with dreams, this film does with con work, as the characters face cons after cons—including their own.
The plot of this film is one of those “hard ones to explain,” but it all begins when five common—but largely unrelated criminals end up in the same mugshot lineup. Soon, they work together to steal a large sum of diamonds, and that’s when you should pay attention.
4. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Ocean’s Eleven is a con classic. As the name suggests, it’s about a team of eleven con artists led by their eccentric, charming, and brilliant leader, Danny Ocean (George Clooney). Some would even say this film was the pioneer of star-studded casts.
It begins when Ocean assembles a team of eleven brilliant criminals. The plan he has in mind seems improbable, as he wants to steal millions from the most secure Las Vegas Casino. It also features other great actors, including Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, and Julia Roberts.
3. Matchstick Men (2003)
Matchstick Men is largely considered one of the greatest con movies ever. It begins with Roy (Nicolas Cage), who has an equally brilliant and capable partner in Frank (Sam Rockwell). But, they decide to work on a huge score to make it big.
But, as always, things don’t go according to plan. Largely because Roy’s teenage daughter comes back into the fray. So, does it halter their swindling? That’s something you can only enjoy if you watch it yourself and enjoy one of the best con artist movies ever made.
2. American Hustle (2013)
American Hustle is a modern classic, a timeless movie, and something that is chockfull of stars. Led by the ever-formidable Christian Bale as a con artist Irving. However, he turns into a wall when he’s hired by an FBI agent, Richie (Bradley Cooper), to pull off a job.
His target? A potential mayoral candidate Carmine (Jeremy Renner). However, Irving and his girlfriend Sydney (Amy Adams) come up with a plan to con them all. Does it pay off? Well, it pays off in the viewer enjoying one of the best con artist movies.
1. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Catch Me If You Can is a timeless film that is based on a true story. The film features two of the greatest actors from across generations, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. Telling the true story of Frank Abagnale, Leonardo plays him to perfection.
On the other hand, we have a determined FBI agent Carl (Hanks), who is hell-bent on bringing down Frank, who has conned people out of millions of dollars. The film tells it all, Franks’s journey to a con man, his rise as a millionaire wanted criminal, and his eventual truce and work with the FBI.
- I Care a Lot (2020)
- A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
- The Sting (1973)