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The Hustler (1961)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Sport  |  25 September 1961 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 57,702 users  
Reviews: 157 user | 93 critic

An up-and-coming pool player plays a long-time champion in a single high-stakes match.

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(screenplay) (as Sydney Carroll) , (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Top 250 #246 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Myron McCormick ...
Charlie Burns
...
Findley
...
Big John
...
Preacher
Clifford A. Pellow ...
Turk (as Cliff Pellow)
...
Bartender
Gordon B. Clarke ...
Cashier
Alexander Rose ...
Score Keeper
Carolyn Coates ...
Waitress
Carl York ...
Young Hustler
...
Bartender
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Storyline

"Fast" Eddie Felson is a small-time pool hustler with a lot of talent but a self-destructive attitude. His bravado causes him to challenge the legendary "Minnesota Fats" to a high-stakes match, but he loses in a heartbreaking marathon. Now broke and without his long-time manager, Felson faces an uphill battle to regain his confidence and his game. It isn't until he hits rock bottom that he agrees to join up with ruthless and cutthroat manager Bert Gordon. Gordon agrees to take him on the road to learn the ropes. But Felson soon realizes that making it to the top could cost him his soul, and perhaps his girlfriend. Will he decide that this is too steep a price to pay in time to save himself? Written by <jgp3553@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only the angel who falls knows the depths of hell. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 September 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Robert Rossen's The Hustler  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The great pool legend Willie Mosconi was brought in as technical adviser and stand-in for the actors (particularly Paul Newman) in the tougher pool shots. Crew members have noted how Mosconi was similar to the Minnesota Fats character as written: well-dressed, fastidious, a player who brought a deep concentration to the game. Other than seeing his hands making some of the shots, Mosconi appears in the picture as the guy who holds the stakes in the contest between Eddie and Fats. Assistant director Ulu Grosbard said that watching Mosconi in action was "like watching a great violinist or great cellist. There was nothing he couldn't do once he went to work on that pool table." See more »

Goofs

When Sarah writes words on the mirror, she writes "TWISTEd" - all capital letters except for the "d". When it is shown later, when Eddie is in the room, it is written in all lower case letters. See more »

Quotes

Fast Eddie: You know, I got a hunch, fat man. I got a hunch it's me from here on in. One ball, corner pocket. I mean, that ever happen to you? You know, all of a sudden you feel like you can't miss? 'Cause I dreamed about this game, fat man. I dreamed about this game every night on the road. Five ball. You know, this is my table, man. I own it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Outsiders (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Hustler Theme
(1961) (uncredited)
Music by Kenyon Hopkins
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An All Time Classic
28 August 2005 | by (Adelaide Australia) – See all my reviews

When is a movie about pool not a movie about pool? When it's The Hustler. Watching this for the first time, i was expecting a movie full of games of pool with trick shots galore, with Newman the hero getting the girl and beating Fats the champ, role credits...a nice little feel good story. wow, was i ever mistaken (and very pleasantly surprised to be). The Hustler is filled with great performances: Newman, Gleason, Scott, and Laurie all give great, GREAT performances that makes a fairly simplistic plot with little real action absolutely riveting to watch. Newman is great as Eddie the born loser with talent coming out of his ears, but not enough brains to know how to utilise it best. Gleason is great and says a lot with simple body language more than the few lines he has. Scott is phenomenal as always as a soulless gambler only looking out for himself and dragging all those around him down as well. Laurie is perfectly suited to her character, a desperate, lonely alcoholic who seems to know her relationship with Eddie is bad for both of them, yet is unwilling or unable to break free.

The Hustler is amazingly written, with quotable lines and dialogue that just cuts deep into the cores of these characters; as they interact with each other and are forced to show their true colours, we see the true people underneath as the facade is stripped away. These are damaged, broken, confused, troubled souls who seem to gravitate towards one another, as if they can sense a kindred spirit. I have to say that the reason these characters resonated so strongly with me, is because, as unpleasant as it is to do so, i can see elements of myself in each character.

This kind of movie is one that would be nigh on impossible to get made in contemporary Hollywood. A downbeat story from start to finish, with unlikeable characters, it is one of the greatest films i have ever seen. an absolute classic in the purest sense.


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