Swindles, Scams & Con Artists
We use Library of Congress preservation techniques.
Luc Sante quotation
The House of Deception is fully aware that the deceptive arts are played out not only in theatrical venues at scheduled times, but also, when one least expects it, on varied stages by singularly clever performers:

on the streets and in the bars,
in the breakrooms and boardrooms,
at the courthouses, country clubs and cocktail parties,
and in the faculty clubs and church socials.

Below are selected lists of works on a wide array of "theatrical" deceptions.
Books on Bunco, Scams, Swindles & Con Artists
Links: Bunco, Scams, Swindles & Con Artists

Please bookmark & link to HouseofDeception.com - New titles are added periodically.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) -- explanations of common fraud schemes

Snopes.com -- "Urban Legends Reference Pages," debunks hoaxes and rumors

Hoax Busters -- The good folks at Hoax Busters, a comprehensive guide to a variety of internet hoaxes, have retired. On their way out, they have kindly left us with a list of their recommendations for other hoax-debunking websites:

Internet Hoaxes and Fake Facts

TruthorFiction.com, FactCheck.org, Politifact, Washington Post Fact Checker, ThatsFake.com, ThatsNonsense.com, Snopes.com."

Videos: Bunco, Scams, Swindles & Con Artists
The Sting (1973)
Director: George Roy Hill
Based on the
The Big Con by David W. Maurer
Runtime: 129 min.
Highly recommended by The House of Deception
Orson Welles' F for Fake (1972)
The Criterion Collection (2005)
Runtime: 88 min.
Photo Gallery of Book Covers:
Bunco, Scams, Swindles & Con Artists
*******Opinionated Ratings by The House of Deception*******

Highly recommended movies appear in large, bold type. The con is a central theme in these films.

Movies that appear in
small, italicized type are not recommended (NR). These may be good movies by other standards, but the con is not the central theme.

We have not yet viewed the movies listed in
plain type, although they appear on other con artist movie lists. We will add our ratings as we get to them.

The Thirties, Forties, & Fifties
Nightmare Alley. 1933
Poppy. 1936
My Little Chickadee. 1940 (NR: W.C. and Mae West comedy)
The Bank Dick. 1940 (W.C. gets conned by fast talker)
The Lady Eve. 1941
Nobody Lives Forever. 1946
The Swindle (Il Bidone). 1955
The Rainmaker. 1956 (NR: romantic western)

The Sixties
Elmer Gantry. 1960
Pocketful of Miracles. 1961
The Hustler. 1962
The Music Man. 1962
The Fortune Cookie. 1966 (NR: insurance fraud comedy)
The Flim-Flam Man. 1967 (NR: slap-stick comedy)
The Producers. 1968
The Italian Job. 1969 (NR: heist/caper)

The Seventies
Skin Game. 1971
Orson Welles' F for Fake. 1972
Paper Moon. 1973
The Sting. 1973

The Eighties
Vabank. 1981 (NR: Polish fluency required, no English subtitles)
Rakenstam. 1983
The Sting II. 1983 (NR: poor sequel to the 1973 classic, the great Jackie Gleason at his worst)
Vabank II. 1985 (NR: Polish fluency required, no English subtitles)
House of Games. 1987
Spoorloos. 1988 (NR: kidnapping, suspense)
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. 1988
Let it Ride. 1989 (NR: comedy, exploits of a track loser)

The Ninties
The Grifters. 1990
Leap of Faith. 1992
Sneakers. 1992 (NR: spy espionage)
Diggstown. 1992
Six Degrees of Separation. 1993
Scam. 1993
DeadFall. 1993
The Vanishing. 1993 (NR: American version of Spoorloos; kidnapping suspense)
Stars Fell on Henrietta. (1995)
The Usual Suspects. 1995 (NR: heist, murder, robbery, assassination, drug dealing)
Primal Fear. 1996
Hard Eight (aka Sydney). 1996 (NR: neo noir crime drama, Reno casino grifters)
The Swindle (Rien ne va plus). 1997
The Pest. 1997 (NR: John Leguizamo comedy)
Shooting Fish. 1997 (NR: British comedy)
The Game. 1997 (NR: psychological thriller with a complex deception)
The Spanish Prisoner. 1997
Traveller. 1997
Following. 1998
Blue Streak. 1999 (NR: police station comedy)
Simpatico. 1999 (NR: horse racing swindlers)
Man on the Moon. 1999 (NR: biopic on Andy Kaufman, eccentric comedian and pro wrestler)

The 2000s
Nine Queens (Nueve Reinas). 2000
Boiler Room. 2000
The Prime Gig. 2000
Bandits. 2001 (NR: bank robbery comedy; stunts and effects)
Birthday Girl. 2001 (NR: internet bride scam; extortion)
Heist. 2001 (NR: heist)
Heartbreakers. 2001
Ocean's Eleven. 2001 (NR: heist)
The Score. 2001 (NR: heist and double cross; Marlon Brando plays an old con artist)
Catch Me If You Can. 2002
Confidence. 2003
Matchstick Men. 2003
Shade. 2003
Out of Time. 2003 (NR: Southern police thriller)
The Italian Job. 2003
(NR: heist/caper)
Criminal. 2004 (remake of Nueva Reinas)
Ocean's Twelve. 2004 (NR: heist)
The Producers: The Movie Musical. 2005
Color Me Kubrick. 2005
Stories of Lost Souls. 2005
Bluffmaster! 2005
Derailed. 2005
Swindled (Incautos). 2005
Kurosagi. 2006
Lucky Number Slevin. 2006 (NR: assassination and revenge)
The Hoax. 2006
Con Man. 2006 (documentary)
Oceans Thirteen. 2007
Liar Game. 2007
Believe. 2007
Futurama: Bender's Big Score
The Brothers Bloom. 2009

Racket Sqaud. 1950 (Dragnet-style series dramatizes confidence crimes)
Mission: Impossible. 1966-1973 (elaborate con games foil the villian marks)
Shell Game. 1975 (pilot with John Davidson & Joan Van Ark)
The Ribos Operation. 1978 (episode of Doctor Who)
Cheers. 1982-1993. NBC. (Magician Harry Anderson played Harry 'The Hat' Gittes.)
The Great Money Caper. 2002 (a Simpsons episode based around grifting)
Firefly, The Series. 2002-2004 (character Saffron is a confidence woman in this fine series)
The O.C. 2003 (Jeri Ryan played a con artist during the third season.)
Lost. 2004 (two characters, James "Sawyer" Ford and Anthony Cooper, are both con-artists.)
North Shore. 2004-2005 (Amanda Rhigetti played a con artist.)
Con. 2005 (Skyler Stone on Comedy Central)
Hustle. 2004-2007 (BBC series)
The Real Hustle. 2007- (documentary spinoff of Hustle, BBC)
The Riches. 2007
Burn Notice. 2007-.
Leverage. 2008-.

The list above is adapted, edited, and expanded by the House of Deception from Wikipedia Encyclopedia and may be read in its original, uncredited form at Wikipedia.org.

Visit the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) for complete information about these films.

Please contact us to recommend other videos with con artist themes to add to this group.
Criminal (2004)
Director: Gregory Jacobs
Rated R
Runtime: 87 min.
Bunco, Scams, Swindles & Con Artists In Movies and Television
Herman Melville's The Confidence-Man

The Red-Headed League
, a Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, involves a sort of confidence trick used to enable a bank robbery.

Thomas Mann's
Confessions of Felix Krull Confidence Man, The Early Years, an unfinished novel about a German con man.

Many of the crime novels by Jim Thompson involve confidence artists.

Joyce Carol Oates's
My Heart Laid Bare features a family of confidence artists.

Eric Garcia's
Matchstick Men.

Neil Gaiman's
American Gods uses a two-man con as a major plot element.

O. Henry's collection
The Gentle Grafter describes a variety of confidence tricks.

Slippery Jim, the protagonist of Harry Harrison's
Stainless Steel Rat trilogy, uses abundant schemes and frauds.

The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man by David Maurer and Luc Sante

Judith Ivory's
Untie My Heart

Jenny Crusie's Faking It features a family of confidence artists.

"Children of Lieutenant Schmidt Society", a fictional secret society of pretenders to be sons of Pyotr Schmidt (a Russian revolutionary hero), are described in Ilf and Petrov's
The Little Golden Calf. See also The Twelve Chairs by the same authors.

The Professor in Spider Robinson's
Callahan series

John Constantine of DC Comics/Vertigo ongoing series,
Hellblazer, created by Alan Moore, uses confidence scams, trickery, and magic to outwit his opponents.

Stephen J. Cannell's
King Con features a confidence man who successfully performs many of the known cons, as well as some very creative and impressive ones.

Tim Krabbe's
The Golden Egg (1984) features a chemistry teacher who employs confidence tricks for the purpose of kidnapping.

Travis McGee in John D. MacDonald's series of novels frequently uses con games or has them tried against him.

Delos D. Harriman of Robert H. Heinlein's novel
The Man Who Sold the Moon could possibly be considered a con artist.

The novella
The Space Merchants by Frederic Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth is replete with con games practiced by corporations.

The novel
The Brethren by John Grisham features a con run within a federal prison in which closeted gay men are targeted for extortion by three incarcerated judges.

Terry Pratchett's
Going Postal features a convicted and condemned swindler spared execution in exchange for taking on a hazardous government job, to which he applies the principles of the con.

Brian Michael Bendis' crime graphic novels
A.K.A. Goldfish and Jinx have a con man named David Gold as a main character.

Monsieur and Madame Thenardier of Victor Hugo's
Les Miserables. Cruel, wicked, money-hungry, the Thenardiers scam money from whomever they can. Schemes include robbery, fraud, and murder.

The list above is adapted and edited by the House of Deception from Wikipedia Encyclopedia and may be read in its original, uncredited form at Wikipedia.org.

Please contact us to recommend other literature with con artist themes to add to this list.
Bunco, Scams, Swindles & Con Artists In Literature
Bunco, Scams, Swindles & Con Artists In Fine Art
On this page you will find:

.: a list of books (exposes) on confidence games, swindles, scams and con artists
.: a photo gallery of many of the books in the con game bibliography
.: a list of useful links to educational sites about bunco and confidence crime
.: a list of movies and TV shows with con artist themes and characters
.: a list of novels and short stories involving confidence tricks, scams and con artists
.: paintings and other works of art with swindling & confidence crime themes

Please bookmark & link to HouseofDeception.com - New titles are added periodically.
The Card-Sharp with the Ace of Clubs
Georges de La Tour
French Baroque Era Painter
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX
The Fortune Teller
Georges de La Tour
French Baroque Era Painter
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
A Card Juggler
Early 19th century
Louis-Charles Ruotte
France (c.1754-1806)
Etching with watercolour
The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
The Cheat
Alcide Segoni
Italy (1847-1894)
Found Out
Alcide Segoni
Italy (1847-1894)
A Transfer of Property
provenance unknown
Mary Frith aka Moll Cutpurse, A Notorious Master Thief and an Ugly Who Frequently Dressed as a Man
provenance unknown
Mary Frith aka Moll Cutpurse, A Notorious Master Thief and an Ugly Who Frequently Dressed as a Man
provenance unknown
Young London Thief
provenance unknown
Argument Over a Card Game
Jan Steen
Dutch Baroque Era Painter
Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany
Die Billiardspieler
Patrick Milbourn
American portrait and landscape painter
Leap of Faith (1992)
Director: Richard Pearce
Rated PG-13
Runtime: 107 min.
Highly recommended by The House of Deception
Swindled [Incautos] (2005)
Director: Miguel Bardem
Runtime: 107 min.
Recommended by The House of Deception
Nine Queens [Nueve Reinas] (2000)
Director: Fabian Bielinsky
Rated R
Runtime: 115 min.
Innocents and Card Sharpers (A Game of Piquet) 1861
Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier
French Academic Painter
National Museums and Galleries of Wales
Famous Magicians Photo Gallery
Houdini's Handwriting and Signature
J. B. Findlay Photos and Bibliography
Pro Wrestling History
Carnival & Sideshow History
House of Deception Homepage
Magic History
Pro Wrestling History Bibliography
Carnival & Sideshow History Bibliography
Magic History Bibliography
House of Deception Library: Bunco, Scams, Swidles, & Con Artists
Author Title Publication Year Publisher
Abagnale, Frank W. The Art of the Steal 2002 Broadway, New York
Abagnale, Frank W.; Redding, Stan Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake 2000 Broadway, New York
Ashforth, David Ringers and Rascals: The True Story of Racing's Greatest Con Artists 2004 Eclipse, Lexington, KY
Blaine, David Mysterious Stranger 2002 Villard, New York
Britland, David Phantoms of the Card Table: Confessions of a Card Sharp 2004 Four Walls Eight Windows. New York
Byrne, Robert McGoorty: A Pool Room Hustler 2004 Broadway, New York
Fenton, Peter Eyeing the Flash 2005 Simon & Schuster, New York
Gibson, Walter B. The Bunco Book 1946 Sidney Radner, Holyoke, MA
Henderson, Les Crimes of Persuasion: Scemes, Scams, Frauds 2000 Coyote Ridge, Azilda, Ont.
Houdini, Harry A Magician Among the Spirits 1972 Arno, New York
Huston, Peter More Scams from the Great Beyond! 2002 Paladin, Boulder, CO
Huston, Peter Scams From The Great Beyond 1997 Paladin, Boulder, CO
Hyde, Stephen; Zanetti, Geno (eds.) Players: Con Men, Hustlers, Gamblers and Scam Artists 2003 Thunder's Mouth, New York
Jay, Ricky; Purcell, Rosamond Wolff Dice: Deception, Fate, and Rotten Luck 2003 Quantuck Lane, New York
Keene, Lamar M.; Spraggett, Allen The Psychic Mafia 1997 Prometheus, Amherst, NY
Leland, Charles Godfrey Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling 1962 University, New Hyde Park, NY
Liebling, A. J. The Telephone Booth Indian [The Library of Larceny Edition] 2004 Broadway, New York
Lovell, Simon How to Cheat at Everything: A Con Man Reveals the Secrets of the Esoteric Trade of Cheating, Scams, and Hustles 2007 Thunder's Mouth, New York
MacKay, Charles Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds 1960 L. C. Page, Boston
Marlock, Dennis M. How to Become a Professional Con Artist 2001 Paladin, Boulder, CO
Marlock, Dennis; Dowling, John License To Steal: Traveling Con Artists: Their Games, Their Rules-Your Money 1994 Paladin, Boulder CO
Maskelyne, John Nevil Sharps and Flats: A Complete Revelation of the Secrets of Cheating at Games of Chance and Skill 1971 Gambler's Book Club, Las Vegas
Maurer, David W. The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man 1999 Anchor, New York
Moger, Art (ed.) Pros and Cons: Incredible True Tales about Famous Con Men, Frauds, Hoaxers, and Beguiling Swindlers 1975 Fawcett Books, Greenwich, CT
Mulholland, John Beware Familiar Spirits 1938 Scribner, New York
Nash, Jay Robert Hustlers and Con Men: An Anecdotal History of the Confidence Man and His Games 1976 M. Evans, New York
Norfleet, J Frank Norfleet: The Actual Experiences of a Texas Rancher's 30,000 Mile Transcontinental Chase after Five Confidence Men 1924 author, Fort Worth, TX
Peyton, Richard (ed.) At the Track: A Treasury of Horse Racing Stories 2004 Gramercy, New York
Randi, James Flim-Flam!: Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions 1982 Prometheus, Amherst, NY
Randi, James The Faith Healers 1987 Prometheus, Amherst, NY
Randi, James The Mask of Nostradamus: The Prophecies of the World's Most Famous Seer 1993 Prometheus, Amherst, NY
Randi, James Truth About Uri Geller 1982 Prometheus, Amherst, NY
Rice, George My Adventures With Your Money 1986 Nevada Publications, Las Vegas
Robbins, Todd The Modern Con Man: How To Get Something For Nothing 2008 Bloomsbury, New York
Rose, Jim Snake Oil: Life's Calculations, Misdirections, and Manipulations 2005 Bartleby, Silver Spring, MD
Sifakis, Carl Frauds, Deceptions, and Swindles 2001 Checkmark, New York
Sommer, Robin Langley Great Cons & Con Artists: The Incredible Stories of the Masters of Deceit 1994 Running Press, Philadelphia
Spurling, Hilary La Grande Therese: The Greatest Scandal of the Century 2001 Perennial, New York
Stein, Gordon; MacNee, Marie J. Hoaxes!: Dupes, Dodges & Other Dastardly Deceptions 1995 Visible Ink, Detroit
Stowers, Carlton The Unsinkable Titanic Thompson 1992 Palmer Magic, Lake Hughes, CA
Stratton, Owen Tully Medicine Man 1989 University of Oklahoma Press
Strauss, Darin The Real McCoy 2002 E P Dutton, New York
Swierczynski, Duane The Complete Idiot's Guide To Frauds, Scams, and Cons 2002 Alpha, New York
Tonken, Aaron King of Cons: Exposing the Dirty Rotten Secrets of the Washington Elite and Hollywood Celebrities 2004 Nelson, Nashville, TN
Walker, Kent; Schone, Mark Son of a Grifter 2002 Avon, New York
Wallace, Mike Con Men: Fascinating Profiles of Swindlers and Rogues from the Files of the Most Successful Broadcast in Television History 2003 Simon & Schuster, New York
Weil J. R. "Yellow Kid" ; Brandon, W. T. Con Man: A Master Swindler's Own Story 2004 Broadway, New York
Weisberg, Barbara Talking to the Dead: Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism 2004 Harper, San Francisco
Whitlock, Charles R. Easy Money: The Con Game Exposed 1994 Kensington, New York
Recommended Reading
Swindles, Scams and Cons


House of Deception Library: Bunco, Scams, Swindles, and Con Artists

Abagnale. Catch Me If You Can.jpg

Abagnale. The Art of the Steal.jpg

Ashforth. Ringers and Rascals.jpg

Blaine. Mysterious Stranger.jpg

Britland and Gazzo. Phantoms of the Card Table, Confessions of a Card Sharp.jpg

Byrne. McGoorty, A Pool Room Hustler.jpg

Fenton. Eyeing the Flash 2.jpg

Gibson. The Bunco Book 2.jpg

Houdini. A Magician Among the Spirits.jpg

Hyde and Zanetti. Players, Con Men, Hustlers, Gamblers and Scam Artists .jpg

Jay and Purcell. Dice, Deception, Fate and Rotten Luck.jpg

Liebling. The Telephone Booth Indian.jpg

Lovell. How to Cheat at Everything.jpg

MacKay. Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds 2.jpg

Marlock and Dowling. License to Steal.jpg

Marlock. How to Become a Professional Con Artist.jpg

Maskelyne. Sharps and Flats.jpg

Maurer. The Big Con, The Story of the Confidence Man.jpg

Moger.Pros and Cons.jpg

Mulholland. Beware Familiar Spirits.jpg

Nash, Hustlers and Con Men.jpg

Peyton (ed.). At the Track A Treasury of Horse Racing Stories.jpg

Randi. The Faith Healers.jpg

Rice. My Adventures with Your Money.jpg

Robbins. The Modern Con Man.jpg

Rose. Snake Oil 2.jpg

Sifakis. Frauds, Deceptions and Swindles.jpg

Sommer. Great Cons and Con Artists.jpg

Spurling. La Grande Therese.jpg

Stein and MacNee. Hoaxes.jpg

Stowers. Titanic Thompson.jpg

Stratton. Medicine Man.jpg

Strauss. The Real McCoy.jpg

Swierczynski. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Frauds, Scams and Cons.jpg

Tonken. King of Cons.jpg

Walker. Son of a Grifter.jpg

Wallace. Con Men.jpg

Weil and Brandon. Con Man, A Master Swindler's Own Story.jpg

Weisberg. Talking to the Dead.jpg

Whitlock. Easy Money, The Con Game Exposed!.jpg

House of Deception Library: Bunco, Scams, Swindles, and Con Artists

Magic in Fine Art
Pro Wrestling History Links
Ventriloquism History
Magic History Links
Carnival & Sideshow History Links
Shell Game(1975)
Director: Glenn Jordan
Runtime: 190 min.
Recommended by The House of Deception
Soldiers Playing Cards and Dice (The Cheats)
Valentin de Boulogne
c. 1620/1622
National Gallery of Art, Washington
The Cardsharks
Caravaggio (Michelangelo da Merisi)
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth
All Rights Reserved
Duff Johnson 2004-2023
No text or image may be copied or
reproduced without written permission.
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