Box art for American Hustle

  American Hustle


The true story of the FBI's 1980 under-cover sting operation of Congress, dubbed Abscam, to root out corruption which was the brainchild of the world's greatest con man.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Mesmerizing mature drama with just a bit of sex, violence.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that American Hustle is an intoxicating, brilliant -- but mature -- drama that will leave viewers breathless with its audacity and streak of humor. There's not a ton of violence or sexual activity, but the themes are intense and adult (reinvention, one-upsmanship, overarching ambition infidelity, an unhappy marriage). The movie also includes brief scenes of drug use and loads of swearing including multiple instances of "f--k."

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about what makes this movie unique. Have you seen other movies with similar styles or themes? What sets this one apart? What do you know about how the director works?
  • What makes a movie better for mature viewers -- sexual or violent content or adult-oriented themes? What kinds of movies should teens not see?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all American Hustle reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: "American Hustle" may have taken its inspiration from the art of the steal, but it has a heart of pure, if slightly tarnished, gold.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fresh: It's hilarious and sad and, especially, entertaining.

- Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fresh: Russell] seems to be having obscene amounts of fun, which becomes contagious very quickly.

- Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News, Thursday, December 19, 2013

Audience Reviews

4 stars

It's Goodfellas for the the twenty first century with con-artist. A masterpiece. Director, David O'Russell crafts a stylish, clever and well-character drawn film that marks as his best and most passionate project yet, that is much a crime story as it is a love story. An energetic, fresh, funny and wickedly entertaining movie. A brilliant and damn-near perfect film. A riveting and remarkable crime-drama. It's tremendous fun from start to finish. It has a great heart even if its slightly tarnished. A cleverly written and superbly crafted film that shines as a work of art. It delivers top-notch performances from its wonderful all-star cast. Christian Bale is outstanding, he totally transforms himself into this character by gaining forty pounds and shaving he top of his head and just digs deep into every emotion. Bradley Cooper is terrific. Amy Adams is excellent. Jennifer Lawrence is wonderful. Jeremy Renner is fantastic. The chemistry between the actors is just brilliant and shows that they are all totally award-worthy.

- allan913, Tuesday, March 18, 2014

4 stars

'American Hustle' a movie that actually kinda over-rated this year alongside with 'Frozen' in the animation zone.. The cast is doing brilliant job : Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner, they're just stuninng.. While the script and directing style from David O Russell is once again made me fall in love with his work.. Why I said this movie over-rated because they're actually good, really good but just like 'Iron Man 3' which will leave the audience to love it or hate it, actually I felt that this movie got the same power to gave the audiences to love it or hate it.. While for the Golden Globes that this movie got, I must admit that the cast did a great job but to win it? Well that's what I thought as over-rated, especially for Jennifer Lawrence even though I love her performance in this movie..

- ajaymuthecooldevils, Monday, March 17, 2014

4 stars

For a while at least, this film will hold a special place in my heart for personal reasons, because I saw it at a time when it was something I needed in my life. A bit of context. This was the next film I saw after seeing Inside Llewyn Davis. For more info about why that is significant, see my review for that film. A few days after seeing that film, my girlfriend and I began a period of separation from one another so we could each analyze the state and also the fate of our relationship. A few days after the separation began, a close friend and I went to see this movie, and it was just what I needed. This is a gloriously stylish, uplifting, and fun character driven caper movie very loosely based on the FBI's ABSCAM sting operation of the late 1970's/early 1980s. The film follows con artists Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser as they get tapped by FBI agent Richie DiMaso to help bring down a host of corrupt politicians, including the mayor of Camden, New Jersey- Carmine Polito. Their efforts are met with complications, including interference from Irving's unpredictable wife Rosalyn, Irving's growing relationship with Carmine, Richie's testy dealings with his superiors, and a bunch of tensions between Sydney, Richie, Irving, and Rosalyn. While the film is loosely about historical events, it is more concerned about the characters, and themes of loyal, deception, and power than the plot, which is largely there as a backdrop. For some, this might be disappointing, as the ABSCAM sting operation is a fascinating story in its own right, and sure, deserves to be given a proper film treatment, but I don't think that matters. Normally the historian in me would be getting really critical, but honestly, this is a case when I don't care. I love these characters, and yeah, though the film plays fast and loose with history, maybe that will inspire people to get out and do some researching for themselves. That is something I can endorse. Even though this is a David O. Russell film, one can sense that he's really channeling 70s era Scorsese, as well as taking a huge helping of influence from Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights. No, this film isn't as great as that one, and, no, I don't think it's a negative thing to make the Scorsese comparison. I mean those things in a positive way because I can't fault Russell for his ambitiousness, especially when he channels stuff like what I just mentioned. The soundtrack is excellent, there's some fantastic cinematography and editing, and the period details, costumes, hair, and makeup are absolutely spectacular. Yeah, some of the pacing is a bit off, and the story is a bit murky (especially with the time frame), but in the grand scheme of things, I can overlook all this since the rest of it is so great, which brings me to the best part: the cast and their performances. Unbelievable. We get one hell of a lineup with Christian Bale as Irving, Amy Adams as Sydney, Bradley Cooper as Richie, Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn, and Jeremy Renner as Carmine. Louis C.K. plays one of Richie's superiors, and Michael Pena is, some would say, criminally underused as a fellow FBI agent. I felt that Pena was in for an okay amount of time (given the role), and loved Louis in his particular part. There's also a killer cameo, but unlike some, I won't spoil it. I will say though, that this is one of the better and more appropriate roles this person has had in a good long while. Bale is great, and really sells the mother of all combovers. Cooper is a hoot with that perm, and Adams rocks those low (and I mean LOW) cut dresses like nobody else. I will say that I think that Rosalyn might have been a part more suitable for someone about 10 years older than Lawrence, but she has a lot of fun with it, even if the Jersey housewife accent slips in and out on occasion. This is a fun movie, and it also leaves you with something to think about,. Sure, it's flawed, and perhaps even overrated. I loved the crap out of it though, and think that, even with the flaws, it's still a dynamite piece of work. I'm biased, but I at least admit it and explain my reasons. Even if this film doesn't quite connect with you like it does with me, I still strongly recommend it. It's funny (a lot), dramatic (at times), and, above all, constantly entertaining.

- cosmo313, Monday, March 17, 2014