- 1 hr 59 min
The Grifters is a moody film noir that chronicles the life and times of a young man named Roy Dillon. Roy Dillon makes his money through running small-time cons. He is quite smooth at swapping out small denomination bills for higher denomination bills, but at one point, he plays a con on someone who is wise to him and ends up getting seriously hurt for his pains. As Roy is rendered bed-ridden by his illness, his mother arrives in town. His mother, the smoothly cold Lily Dillon, is very worried about her son, but she has her own problems. After getting him care and a nurse to look after him, she heads out to the race tracks, where she makes bets on behalf of an organized crime boss. Her high-dollar bets offset the odds on the losing horses, making people see them as better bets and increasing the amount of money that the bookmakers keep. It is soon revealed that her life is quite dark and that her influence has shadowed the way that Roy lives his own life. Lily immediately dislikes Roy's girlfriend Myra, who herself is a con artist, though she is one who prefers to live off of her seductive appearance rather than dangerous cons. Until Roy was injured, she had no idea about his double life, though once she figures it out, she decides that she wants Roy as a partner in long cons, which are significantly higher in risk but which have higher pay offs. Roy is resistant, but at the same time, he must deal with his mother's life increasingly intruding on his own. These three volatile personalities are set on a collision course, one that leaves shattered lives and terrible misunderstandings in their wake. The Grifters was nominated for four Academy Awards in 1990, including the awards for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and Best Director.