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The 9 Best Con Artist Movies to Watch After 'Focus'

by Zach Seemayer 8:15 PM PST, March 01, 2015
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In Focus, Will Smith's first film since 2013, the superstar plays Nicky, a long-time conman who is planning his last big score, but ends up reuniting with a con woman who he trained years before.

The film, which performed mildly at the box office in its debut this weekend, joins the ranks of Hollywood's long love affair with the art of the con.

VIDEO: Will Smith Is A Shirtless Con Man in Focus

In celebration of this newest entry in the grifter genre, here are nine of the best conman movies ever made.

(Note: This list doesn't include movies about heists that happen to involve conmen -- i.e. Ocean's Eleven or The Heist -- just films that celebrate the age of tradition of swindling.)

9. Matchstick Men (2003): Nicholas Cage and Sam Rockwell play con artists who are planning one of the biggest scams of their careers. Things get complicated when Cage's teenage daughter shows up and wants to learn the tricks of her father's trade.

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8. American Hustle (2013): Nominated for 10 Oscars, David O. Russell's complex crime dramedy, set in the 1970s, stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner. It focuses on two con artists who are forced by the FBI to use their skills to uncover corrupt politicians and deadly Mafiosos.

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7. The Brother's Bloom (2008): Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody play two brothers who claim to be the greatest conmen of all time. They set their sights on swindling a young, eccentric heiress (Rachel Weisz) and they take her on a worldwide adventure ride, building her trust in an attempt to snag the ultimate score.

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6. Confidence (2003): This is one of those con movies that is too complex to easily summarize, but essentially focuses on a grifter (Ed Burns) who is looking to avenge the murder of his friend and at the same time finds himself indebted to a crime boss – played brilliantly by Dustin Hoffman.

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VIDEO: David O. Russell Talks American Hustle

5. The Lady Eve (1941): This classic con story follows three grifters on a cruise ship who target an awkward but handsome millionaire, played by Henry Fonda. The great Barbara Stanwyck plays one of the scammers, who successfully seduces Fonda, until she realizes she's falling in love with him.

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4. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988): In this con comedy, Steve Martin plays a young hot shot scam artist who matches wits against Michael Caine, a seasoned, cultured veteran grifter. They both try to one-up each other in a challenge to see who can be the first to swindle a lonely young heiress out of $50,000.

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3. The Grifters (1990): John Cusack stars in this brilliant neo-noir crime drama that tells the story of a small-time con artist who is forced to choose sides between his scam artist mom and his girlfriend, whose a crook and a con artist as well.

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2. Catch Me If You Can (2002): Based on true story, Leonard DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale, Jr., one of the most successful con artists of all time who began his scams at the tender age of 19. As Frank makes millions forging checks, he is perused by FBI Agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) who will stop at nothing to catch the sneaky scammer.

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1. The Sting (1973): Without a doubt, this is the ultimate con film. Starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman, The Sting follows a rookie and a master grifter who try to pull off a long con on a powerful and deadly banker. The film was nominated for 10 Oscars and ended up taking home seven, including Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture.

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VIDEO: The Movies We're Most Excited To See In 2015

For a look at other fun films we're excited to see in 2015, check out the video below.

For more movie news and lists, you can follow Zach Seemayer on Twitter @ZachSeemayer.

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