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The Hustler (1961)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Sport  |  25 September 1961 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 60,170 users  
Reviews: 162 user | 95 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 #246 | 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


A motion picture that probes the stranger... the pick-up... why a man hustles for a buck or a place in the sun! 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?


While at the Kentucky Derby, the race announcer lists some of the horses racing. One of the horses named is "Stroke of Luck". "Stroke of Luck" was one of the titles considered for the film as a result of studio fears that the title "The Hustler" would create negative connotations with prostitution. See more »


In Fats' first game against Eddie, his cigarette disappears briefly. See more »


Fast Eddie: The pool game is over when Fats says it's over... I came after him and I'm gonna get him. I'm going with him all the way.
See more »


Referenced in Frogs for Snakes (1998) See more »


Louisville Dixieland
(1961) (uncredited)
Music by 'Dan Terry'
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.

27 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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