Female Con Artists In Movies

I am fascinated by stories with female con artists and have gathered quite a collection. Here is my list of movies. I also have lists of con women in:
   Romance Novels
   Non-Romance Novels
   Television
I’m always on the lookout, so if you’ve seen other movies, let me know.


A grifter (Cagney) teaches a female protégé (Blondell) who soon grows to be an even better grifter.

A male and female con artist meet, steal from each other, and instantly fall in love. After that, it’s all fun.

Two con artists in love get caught and sent to jail, first one, then the other.

A woman, taught by one man to scam rich people with fake lost relatives, falls for another man who does the same thing.

Desire
1936

Marlene Dietrich is a thief and con artist who meets and falls for an innocent American car designer.

Poppy
1936

W.C. Fields plays a con artist, and Poppy is his daughter. Ends with the classic line, “Never give a sucker an even break.”

A family of con artists, including a mother and daughter, move in with an innocent old lady who works her magic on everyone.

A older man and his beautiful daughter con people on an ocean liner. Then, like any good romantic comedy, she falls for the mark.

A woman pretends to be a young girl to save money on her train fare. From there, the deception grows.

She cons an insurance salesman, making him think she loves him, then getting him to insure and kill her husband. Remade in 1973.

A con woman fleeces an innocent bank cashier who likes to paint pictures. She and her conman boyfriend steal his paintings and sell them.

A father/daughter con team work an innocent man on a cruise ship, but she falls in love with him. A remake of The Lady Eve.

There’s barely a con in this Agatha Christie murder story until the twist ending.

Elmer meets a woman running a traveling ministry and he takes to it instantly. She’s pretty good at it, too.

Two con men compete against each other. A minor con woman makes a brief appearance. This is the original movie that Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was made from, but that movie has better con women.

A simple man, with his wife and son, stumble in to the highest-stakes poker game of the year. As the title suggests, the little lady ends up with a surprisingly big hand.

Three con artists (2 male, 1 female) swindle over and over, but when trouble arises, they cheat each other. Movie is faithful to the book until the end when a different one of the trio is triumphant.

She cons an insurance salesman, making him think she loves him, then getting him to insure and kill her husband. Faithful remake of 1944 movie.

A man and a 9-year-old girl (his daughter?) pull scams across depression-era America.

A gathering of con artists work together to avenge a friend. Female con artists include Alva Coleman and Billie.

Two crooked couples are tangled in a complex web. One couple pairs a fake-psychic woman with a cabdriving grifter. The other couple does kidnappings and jewel theft.

A comedy in which an older con man works with his daughter and a new colleague to swindle his wife.

Nick pulls a long con with a large crew, including his mother and a pickpocket named Anna.

A minor con woman appears briefly, 15 minutes in, but a more significant con woman shows up later. An earlier version of this movie is Bedtime Story but that version has only the minor con woman.

Wanda is a con woman in this comic heist tale.

A male and two female con artist (one is his mother). A gritty look at the downside of conning.

A male con artist and his young daughter grift all over the country until they try to swindle a female lawyer. She notices this dysfunctional but loving family.

A female con artist moves into an unused home and weaves an entire life around the home’s owner. Is there any truth to it?

A female con artist teams with a man to run a fake traveling ministry. They break-down in a small town, and things change.

Malice
1993

A con artist goes to great lengths (including plastic surgery) to pull a long con.

Although Zoe is not a con artist at first, she tricks people and does quite well.

A female con artist seduces and cheats every man she meets, husbands, boyfriends, detectives, and more. Will she get away with it?


Remake of the old TV show includes multiple female con artists as part of the impos­sible mission teams.

Jackie is a tough flight attendant who gets caught running money. She has to go up against murderous crooks and federal agents.

She’s not a con artist, but hangs out with two men who are, and quickly learns their ways.

A complex story of deception, including a supposedly innocent woman who becomes more and more involved as the story unfolds.

A female con artist and an older male partner do a money scam in Switzerland that gets out of control.

A female con artist targets the wrong mark and tries to cheat a poor street performer. He can’t be conned, and they fall in love.

Three con artists (one female) pull a horse-racing scam. Decades later, one of them revisits things to make trouble.

An entire movie of con artists, male and female. It keeps on twisting right up to the very end.

A conman and his new partner do a rare-stamp scam that end up involving the conman’s sister.

A woman helps run a telesales boilerroom while falling for one of the salesmen.

A casino heist by Elvis impersonators is successful. But a local woman manages to change everything for the thieves.

A con woman and her male colleagues play a Russian-bride scam on a British man.

A mother/daughter team of con artists each marry rich men and steal their money. But the daughter picks the wrong mark and falls for him.

Heist
2001

Rebecca Pidgeon once again plays the con woman in her husband’s story (See The Spanish Prisoner and others).

There are two scheming women here, all trying to fool a dentist.

A female con artist is part of a complex jewel heist scheme, where everyone gets fooled in the end.

A female con artist is the “inside man” on fake real-estate deals, but falls in love with an insecure librarian.

A long and twisted con game, it’s never clear (until the end, of course) who is on which side.

Two grifters run into trouble when one of them has a long lost 14-year-old daughter show up.

Shade
2003

Grifters and card games: a perfect opportunity to wonder who is conning whom. All of them, even the woman in the troupe, have uncertain loyalty right up until the end.

A Fillipino movie about a man with too much bravado (calls himself Mr. Suave) who freezes up when he is with a woman. His friends hire a female con artist to help him out. Very silly.

A layered plot of endless cons. Is that woman a con artist? It’s hard to tell. This is a remake of the Argentinian film Nine Queens.

A silly story in which Tommy’s evil stepmother (Bo Derek) is a con woman.

A female pool hustler has a hard life trying to get her son back.

21
2008

A band of MIT students break Vegas casinos by counting cards. Two of the students (a man and a woman) pull a con in the end.

A family of four pretends to be normal while actually doing stealth advertising in a rich neighborhood.

A female grifter/carnival worker (a splinterhead) falls for a local boy.

She’s a con artist, working as a teacher in order to win the attention of an attractive fellow teacher.

Gambit
2012

Two competing Englishmen use an American rodeo queen for their plot, but she’s more than they expect.

Con artists abound, men and women, in this re-imagining of the ABSCAM scandal.


The “Four Horse­men” (one is a woman) are really magic­ians and thieves, but they do plenty of con­ning, too.

A young-adult (Nickelodeon) con story that includes three females.

A magician and spiritual debunker meets a woman who has true psychic powers. Or does she?

A complex plot that pays homage to “The Sting.” Young con man tries to trick older one, but many con artists help take him down, including women.

Focus
2015

A female con artist apprentices with a more experienced man, but by the end, they’re equals.

A beautiful retelling of “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters. By removing the original story’s “Gilbert-and-Sullivan” ending, the movie improves the greatly.


Full disclosure: I have written two romance novels that feature female con artists: Executive Sweet and Rock Con Roll.

See also: Con Women in Romance Novels, Con Women in Non-Romance Novels, Con Women on TV.