Hustlers And Swindlers: The 8 Best Films And Shows About Scams

Need something to watch after Inventing Anna, We Crashed and The Dropout? We’ve got you covered
Hustlers And Swindlers: The 8 Best Films And Shows About Scams

There are few genres of entertainment that combine suspense, drama and emotion like heist and scam films, so it's no wonder that they get everyone hooked. Inventing Anna, We Crashed and The Dropout have all recently captured audiences around the world, after the smash hit that was Scam 1992. If you're looking for more addictive scamster stories, we've got you covered. Here are some of the best films in the genre that you can stream online:

1. The Sting (1973)

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

This George Roy Hill film is a classic caper, more entertaining than ingenious but that's because Hollywood has basically used it as a blueprint for many long con narratives over the years. It also infamously beat The Exorcist to win the Best Picture Oscar, despite its unabashedly fluffy approach to a story based on a real con enacted by two brothers in Depression era Chicago. Played by Robert Redford and Paul Newman, the protagonists convert a warehouse into a betting hall to dupe a mafia boss and avenge the murder of their friend.

2. Diggstown (1992)

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

The film is about a bet made between a recently freed criminal and a businessman. Diggstown stands apart for how it is a con film seamlessly layered on top of the typically dramatic beats of a sports film. The intense stakes of finding a champion boxer that can beat ten of the best in a boxing town makes it one of the most compelling movies on this list.

3. Matchstick Men (2003)

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

Ridley Scott's Nicolas Cage starrer is another comedy drama, with a big heart – taking on the tradition of The Sting and Paper Moon. Cage plays an LA conman who is suddenly having panic attacks, when his long-lost teenage daughter turns up at his doorstep. His OCD and panic attacks start to calm down and she agrees to help him and his partner pull off their newest con. Scott fleshes out these characters with care, drawing us in and the actors deliver well.

4. Paper Moon (1973)

Streaming on: AppleTV+

Directed by one of the champions of Hollywood's Golden Age, Peter Bogdanovich, this period drama is based on the novel Addie Pray. Tatum O'Neal plays a young girl who's looking for adventure and a way out of being shackled to her grandmother's side after her mother passes away. She won an Oscar for the film, embodying a vulnerable self-assuredness as a young woman who knows what she wants and isn't scared of going after it. 

5. Hustlers

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

Sure, Hustlers is about strippers taking revenge, but it's also sharp and discomforting enough in its storytelling that the stripping will be the last thing on your mind by the time you finish it. Based on a New York Times article by Jessica Pressler (who also wrote the piece that inspired Inventing Anna), Hustlers follows a band of strippers in New York that con and steal from rich, dull Wall Street dudebros. Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez are at the center of the scam, acting chops on full display. 

6. Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar

Featuring Melissa McCarthy in an uncharacteristically somber role, the film follows a forger who finds a sense of security after establishing a career forging letters between literary figures that have passed away. We see how McCarthy's Israel finds her way up from rock bottom to a sense of fame, albeit fake.

7. Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal

Streaming on: Netflix

This Netflix production uses documentary footage and reenactments to expose the corruption at American Ivy League schools, which let more than 800 students attend some of the most prestigious universities in the world . The scandal, which drew attention because it involved actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Jones among many other high profile people, first came to light in 2019 and the film does a pretty solid  job of presenting the entire case. 

8. The Good Liar

Streaming on: Netflix

Starring British acting royalty Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen, this who's-conning-who film is the story of an experienced swindler who finds a perfect target in a rich widow. Except she has her own secrets, and the story weaves from London to Berlin, going back all the way to the Second World War. The acting legends are cast perfectly and keep you guessing throughout, until decades' worth of secrets are revealed.

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