Does “American Hustle” Have a True Story Behind It? The Real Story Behind the Movie


American Hustle is an American crime film from 2013 that is a historical black comedy. It is directed by David O. Russell. It was written by Eric Warren Singer and Russell, who was inspired by the FBI Abscam operation from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Christian Bale and Amy Adams play two con artists who are forced by an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) to set up a complicated sting operation on corrupt politicians, including the mayor of Camden, New Jersey (Jeremy Renner).

Jennifer Lawrence plays Bale’s unreliable wife. Principal photography took place from March to May 2013 in Boston, Worcester, and New York City.

American Hustle Was Held as A Result of An FBI Operation.

After Mel Weinberg was detained by the FBI in 1977 on suspicion of fraud and conspiracy, he started working secretly for the agency. Weinberg established Abdul Enterprises, a new fictitious business, this time with the assistance of government agents.

The FBI gave the scheme the name Abscam. Political corruption was uncovered thanks to several FBI undercover operations (via The New York Times).

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  • According to Slate, Abscam invented an imaginary Arab sheikh who desired to use his millions to invest in New Jersey casinos and acquire citizenship quickly. Six congressmen and one senator from the United States of America agreed to collaborate with him in exchange for money. The scandal involving bribery in Congress was the biggest ever.
  • Not just Mel Weinberg was a real person who was fictionalized in “American Hustle.” Amy Adams portrayed Sydney Prosser, a character based on Weinberg’s real-life mistress who frequently assisted him in his scams before his imprisonment.
  • Mayor Angelo Errichetti served as the model for Jeremy Renner’s Mayor Carmine Polito. He was detained because he was yet another public employee who participated in Abscam bribing.

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Does “American Hustle” Have a True Story Behind It?

The frank answer is both yes and no. The characters from American Hustle were all based on real people, yet none of them were ever genuine. While some of the more intimate details of these occurrences were not accurate, the main events did occur.


By including some personal information, Russell highlighted the reality of the need. What human beings will do to satisfy their desires is amazing.

And that is the movie’s central theme. Although American Hustle is a story of corruption, in its most simplistic form, it is the story of multiple individuals who wanted something so badly that it drove them to commit serious crimes.