Entertainment

The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film 

Ranker Characters
Updated March 25, 2020 305 votes 55 voters 1.6k views

When it comes to movies, few characters are cooler than the con man. True, some of the most memorable con artist characters are frightening and violent. But many fictional con artists are downright delightful, winning devoted fan bases and sparking their own franchises. And it's not just audiences who respond to these law-breakers – many of the most memorable con artist characters have been played by Oscar-winning actors.

Just who exactly stands as the greatest con artist character in film is up for debate. Danny Ocean was memorably played by both Frank Sinatra and George Clooney. This charming con man appeared in four films, becoming one of the most popular swindlers to ever hit the silver screen. Roger “Verbal” Kint, played by Kevin Spacey, surprised investigators and movie-goers in The Usual Suspects.

Leonardo DiCaprio seems to love playing con men. First, he scammed Tom Hanks in Catch Me If You Can as Frank Abagnale Jr. Next, he scammed America as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street. Other great roles that appear on this list include Tom Ripley from The Talented Mr. Ripley and Freddy Benson from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Which movie con artist is your favorite? Vote up the fictional figures that are the most charming, crafty, or just plain entertaining, and add anyone who's missing. Just be sure to check your wallet when you're finished.
list ordered by
1
Frank Abagnale Jr. is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can
2
Roger 'Verbal' Kint is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects
3
Danny Ocean is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
4
Rusty Ryan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
5
Henry Gondorff is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Paul Newman in The Sting
6
Jordan Belfort is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street
7
Johnny Hooker is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Robert Redford in The Sting
8
Freddy Benson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Steve Martin in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
9
Lawrence Jamieson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Lawrence Jamieson Michael Caine in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
10
Tom Ripley is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley
11
Thomas Crown is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Pierce Brosnan in The Thomas Crown Affair
12
Lando Calrissian is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
rorschachdurden added Billy Dee Williams in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
13
Jonas Nightengale is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Jonas Nightengale Steve Martin in Leap of Faith
14
Irving Rosenfeld is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Christian Bale in American Hustle
15
Max Bialystock is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Tom Islava added Nathan Lane in The Producers
16
Ratso Rizzo is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
rorschachdurden added Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy
17
Nicky Spurgeon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Nicky Spurgeon
18
Frank Mercer is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Frank Mercer Sam Rockwell in Matchstick Men
19
Nick Wilde is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Tom Islava added Nick Wilde
20
Roy Waller is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Nicolas Cage in Matchstick Men
21
Harold Hill is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
22
Clifford Irving is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Clifford Irving Richard Gere in The Hoax
23
Harry Deane is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Harry Deane Colin Firth in Gambit
24
Jack Abramoff is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Jack Abramoff Kevin Spacey in Casino Jack
25
Simon Dermott is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Con Artist Characters in Film
Simon Dermott