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The Grifters (Miramax Collector's Series) (1991)

Anjelica Huston , John Cusack , Stephen Frears  |  R |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Anjelica Huston, John Cusack, Annette Bening, Jan Munroe, Robert Weems
  • Directors: Stephen Frears
  • Writers: Donald E. Westlake, Jim Thompson
  • Producers: Barbara De Fina, Jim Painter, Martin Scorsese, Peggy Rajski, Robert A. Harris
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Unknown)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 24, 2002
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000069I1U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,759 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Grifters (Miramax Collector's Series)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Feature Commentary track with director Stephen Frears, screenwriter Donald Westlake, actors John Cusack & Angelica Huston
  • The Making of The Grifters
  • The Jim Thompson Story
  • The Grifters scrapbook

Editorial Reviews

Academy Award(R)-winning actress Anjelica Huston (Best Supporting Actress, PRIZZI'S HONOR, 1985), John Cusack (SERENDIPITY), and Annette Bening (AMERICAN BEAUTY) star in this acclaimed hit where seduction and betrayal could lead to murder! When small-time cheat Roy Dillon (Cusack) winds up in the hospital following an unsuccessful scam, it sets up a confrontation between his estranged mother Lilly (Huston) and sexy girlfriend Myra (Bening). Both Lilly and Myra are ruthless confidence artists playing the con game in a league far above Roy ... and always looking for their next victim! The question soon becomes who's conning who as Roy finds himself caught in a complicated web of passion and mistrust!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ELEVATOR TO HELL April 29, 2000
Format:DVD
Produced by Martin Scorsese and directed by Stephen Frears, THE GRIFTERS is a winner. With three top actors, Anjelica Huston, Annette Bening and John Cusack, Frears invites us to a non-stop ride to hell.
Caught between his mother and his girl-friend, John Cusack will have a hard time to survive and become a man. You can almost touch the hate those two women feel for each other. Their last encounter is really a scene you will remember : set in Phoenix, in a motel, in a subtle variation of PSYCHO's first murder, it is a moment of great cinema.
Cusack is outstanding as the gentle grifter, Frear's cinematography is first class and Anjelica has never been so devilish. No doubt about it, THE GRIFTERS is a masterpiece of the film noir genre.
A DVD that bleeds.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Special Edition of a great movie January 6, 2003
Format:DVD
A fantastic movie about con artists. The tone of this movie is perfect: utterly unsentimental, deadpan, cool and calculated. Great score, great performances (not just the three leads, there are tons of bit parts that are very memorable), great dialogue. The pacing is snappy. I'm not going to say the movie is flawless, but honestly I can't think of anything particularly negative to say about it.
The DVD is a modest collector's edition. Some may say the extra features are a bit spare, but what is here is very useful and informative. The commentary track is consistantly listenable. There are four participants: the director, the screenwriter, and stars Cusack and Huston. The four were recorded separately and edited together seamlessly to make an entertaining and insightful track. Also here are two short but well-made featurettes, one covers the making of the film and the other sheds some light on the work of the author who wrote the book upon which the film is based.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb March 24, 2001
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I've never been a John Cusack fan, but he's utterly riveting in the role of a coming-of-age grifter caught between two indelible women. Annette Bening, at least here, is a pure force of nature, a sexy tsunami overwhelming everything in her path. And Anjelica Huston??? Her entire career has been one splendid performance after another, and this is one of her finest. You simply cannot take your eyes off her. The interaction of these three is one of the best examples of ensemble acting outside of an Altman film. And the little subtleties around these three -- from the brilliant set piece of the orange scene to the almost-identical dresses worn by Lily and Myra to Elmer Bernstein's moody score -- make The Grifters a compelling experience. The only disappointment is that the CD has NO extras at all, but you could certainly make the case that this is a movie that can stand completely on its own.
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray
This item is already available at Best Buy stores. I bought one on Jan 31 for $5.99 thinking it was a real bargain. It wasn't.
The first thing I noticed on the box cover when I got home was that it was in Dolby 2.0, not Dolby 5.1 like the original DVD. The video itself looked like a direct un-remastered film tranfer with all its faults: dirt, scratches, jumpy frame movement, grainy dark areas, etc.
The original DVD had 22 scene selections. This blu-ray version has about half that number and none of them are related to any particular track like the original. The original DVD had a French language track, but this one has none, nor does it have any subtitles. The only extra is a director's commentary track, but the original had that and much more.
If you don't care about these things, go ahead and buy it. I wouldn't.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray
Yes, Echo Bridge (the company who released this title on blu-ray) does mostly lousy work. In this case though, their Blu-ray is an obvious improvement over the SE DVD. Yes, it is in 2.0 DTS. This film was a originally released in dolby stereo (2.0), so while some might wish for the 5.1 that was created for the DVD, not having it here is no great loss. The Blu carries over the director and cast commentary from the DVD, as well as most of the other extras, so it has that going for it. As for the picture, this was a straight transfer with little effort put into cleaning it up, so yes, there are dust specs here and there but comparing this against my DVD, the picture is absolutely improved; depth, sharpness, detail are all improved upon. And because they did nothing but a straight transfer, there is no sign they used DNR on this. It looks like the film (grain and all) that it actually is. A film from the 90's shouldnt look like it was shot on hi-rez digital. Could it have been better? Sure, but what do you want for a $5 budget release? The bottom line is that it IS an improvement over the DVD. Im glad to have this great film looking the best it ever has.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful Greek tragedy set in America or I Oedipus January 3, 2005
Format:DVD
The Grifters is one of the most underrated films ever made in my opinion.

Oedipal conflicts simmer and ultimately boil over in a timeless American landscape populated by small time con artists, a brutal mafia boss and a dysfunctional mother and son whose reunion initiates many of the diverse plot twists and turns.

Houston's masterful performance is delivered with such blistering intensity that you can smell the burning celluloid as she wiggles her way across the screen.

The other performances are very fine indeed, this is definitely a movie that connoisseurs of fine acting will enjoy.

The pace is fast moving and engaging, the filmic equivalent of a page-turner, I'm easily bored and distracted, and this movie had me gripped until the final incredible scene.

One of the things I really appreciate about The Grifters are the way that the frailty of the human body is communicated realistically. No chairs splintering over people's heads or men punching each other repeatedly in the face before getting up again for more.

A swift pool cue handle jammed into in the guts is enough to cause a critical organ rupture, a small burn on the back of the hand is agonising and the damage done by a drinking glass is unimaginably worse than intended. I'm not going to even discuss the terrifying scene involving a bag of oranges. Just like in real life, violence is swift, unpredictable and causes all kinds of visible and hidden damage.

The other thing I really liked was the way that each of the characters had different personas depending on who they were relating to and the situation they found themselves in.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible movie masquerading as a noir comedy
It starts out looking like a comedy. It starts feeling disjointed and vague towards the middle and degenerates quickly into disgusting towards the end. A waste of two hours. Read more
Published 5 days ago by J. Prasad
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, disturbing, movie...
This one has some weird angles to it, but it is a Martin Scorsese movie. Definitely not one to let the kiddos watch!
Published 14 days ago by Jay Dollarhide
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Repeat
Watched it again after all these years. Did not have time to finish, so I will try again later. It was the first time I had seen Annette Bening and was impressed.
Published 19 days ago by S. Hoham
5.0 out of 5 stars What a good movie should be
Cusack, Benning and Houston....all terrific performances. For those of you who have never seen Annette Benning in her younger days, look out! Read more
Published 29 days ago by Dapipes2
5.0 out of 5 stars The classics are classic for a reason
Wonderful characters, and an unexpected ending. It was a pleasure seeing it again and all of the actors play their parts to the fullest.
Published 1 month ago by James T. Barter
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the time
Bad acting
Bad plot
If you're expecting oceans 11 or the Italian Job, this isn't it
Some gratuitous sex and violence thrown in but couldn't save it
Published 1 month ago by John Woodward
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Movie for all times....
Nothing better than a movie that keeps you guessing. I have watched this movie over and over and always delighted at the script, the acting and the lengths that people will go... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Douglas W. Fielder
1.0 out of 5 stars mean evil people
No redeeming qualities for any of the characters. Gratuitous violence and evil behaviors by the three main characters made this difficult to watch. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Flower Power
5.0 out of 5 stars Film Noir at It's Best!
Great performances by all. Wonderfully quirky ensemble of actors at the top of their game. Annette Benning and Angelica Huston are particularly good
Published 1 month ago by Regina Patterson
3.0 out of 5 stars is only ok
good acting. not a lot of content or story line. and kinda dismal. I was very uncomfortable with the mother son relationship. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Whitney Werner
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