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The Hustler (1961)

Unrated | | Drama, Sport | 27 October 1961 (Italy)
3:22 | Trailer

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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 »
4,179 ( 159)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 20 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


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


Drama | Sport


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 October 1961 (Italy)  »

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?


Prior to the premiere, Richard Burton hosted a midnight screening for the casts of various Broadway shows. This generated a lot of positive word of mouth, forcing 20th Century Fox - who hadn't been actively promoting the film - to step up their promotional activities. See more »


In the scenes with Paul Newman in her apartment early in their love affair, Piper Laurie's lines as Sarah are overdubbed. You can hear an audible dead spot in the soundtrack just before and after Paul Newman's Fast Eddie responds to her lines. Clearly a post-production issue and a distracting aspect of Laurie's performance in the film. See more »


Fast Eddie: Get on me Bert, I can't lose.
See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

14 December 2003 | by (The Hague, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Possible minor spoilers.

'The Hustler' is a great movie that involves the game of pool. Although this is important it is not really about the game. It is more about the life around it, Fast Eddie Felson's life in particular. Paul Newman plays this man in a terrific way. Eddie is a great pool player, he could be the best, if only he had more character. This is what Bert Gordon (George C. Scott) tells him. It is true. Eddie is a self-destructive man. He drinks too much and he does not know when to stop. At one point early in the movie he is playing the man who is considered the best of the country, Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason), and he has won 18.000 dollars but he gets too drunk and loses everything.

(Minor spoilers.) Then he meets a girl Sarah (Laurie Piper) who, like him, drinks too much. They start living together and it seems that Eddie is changing, but we suspects he is always thinking about playing Minnesota Fats again. Eddie gets in some trouble, his thumbs are broken, and after this he decides that he needs Bert Gordon to get back on track again. Gordon made him an offer before his thumbs were broken which seemed pretty unfair but now Eddie thinks he has no choice. He has the woman he loves on one side, who could get him out of trouble, and the game of pool and his desire to be the best on the other. What will happen is for you to see.

The interesting story about this self-destructive man is also about the self-destructive woman and the events around her are almost inevitable. The hero is a hero in most ways, but it is a hero who must face his weaknesses instead of discovering his strong points. This kind of hero is rare these days. Paul Newman shows us why he became such a great star with this memorable role.

Other things are very good too here. Although the game is never explained it is fun to watch every shot, some of them almost impossible. The black and white cinematography looks great. Fast Eddie Felson would return in Martin Scorsese's 'The Color of Money', a lesser film in some points but very good as well.

32 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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