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The Hustler (1961)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Sport  |  25 September 1961 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 60,336 users  
Reviews: 162 user | 96 critic

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



(screenplay) (as Sydney Carroll) , (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Top Rated Movies #250 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »



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


"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


It delves without compromise into the hungers that lie deep within us all. See more »


Drama | Sport


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 September 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Robert Rossen's The Hustler  »

Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Fast Eddie prepares for his first matchup against Minnesota Fats, his manager sits down in front of a poster depicting Willie Mosconi, 14-time world champion in billiards from 1941 to 1957. About ten minutes later, Willie himself makes a cameo as the guy who holds onto the bet money. His character name is also Willie. See more »


Sarah moves her hand off Eddie's knee twice, when she asks him where he goes when he goes out. See more »


Fast Eddie: How can I lose?
See more »


Referenced in Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (2007) See more »


Louisville Dixieland
(1961) (uncredited)
Music by 'Dan Terry'
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Great stuff, brilliant acting
9 January 2001 | by (Den Haag, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

This must be one of the best movies I have ever seen. Just about everything was perfect about it.

The acting was top-notch, especially George C. Scott as the Hustler hustling the hustler. His performance gave the movie a gritty underworld feel to it. Piper Laury delivers a powerhouse performance as the ill-fated drunk girlfriend of the lead player Paul Newman. He probably delivers one of his best roles to date. Just like Robert De Niro in Raging Bull he plays a character who is incapable of handling the pressures of fame and fortune, who is as George C. Scott's says "A born loser". If you look in Newman's eyes during the picture you can see the troubles he is going through. He loves the girl, but is unable to express this because he is afraid she will know the real him. He has to keep playing this Hustler-character all through his life to keep himself going. He knows nothing other than playing pool and hustling people out of their money.

The cinematography was absolutely brilliant alongside the set-dressing. The dirty, low-life feeling that must have hung around these dives called poolhalls was conveyed perfectly to the screen through brilliant lighting and art direction. The scenes in which Newman plays the different people at the pool table were shot and edited to near perfection (which has been redone again to near perfection in The Color of Money by Martin Scorsese).

The music gave a real emotional feel to this moving picture. Kenyon Hopkins deserves all the credit for this.

Absolutely a must-see for everybody who like to watch movies that are worth watching.


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