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The Hustler (1961)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Sport  |  25 September 1961 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 59,204 users  
Reviews: 161 user | 94 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 250 Movies #244 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 15 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 <>

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?


Ulu Grosbard later noted that the interior of Sarah's apartment was built in a studio at 55th St. and 10th Ave. He said the actors' dressing rooms there were very small and, in his memory, without windows, "like cells," but that Piper Laurie furnished hers "as if she were going to live in it the rest of her life." It was Grosbard's impression that Laurie would sometimes spend the night there. See more »


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


Bert Gordon: [to Eddie] You owe me MONEY.
See more »


Referenced in The Cincinnati Kid (1965) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Definitive Movie About Pool
12 January 2005 | by (Oklahoma City) – See all my reviews

This is, without a doubt, the closest anything out of Hollywood ever came to touching the soul of a pool player. Paul Newman plays "Fast Eddie" Felson, a young player from California who travels east to take on the ultimate challenge: to beat "Minnesota Fats," played by the late Jackie Gleason.

Willie Mosconi, probably the greatest pool player who ever walked the Earth, was technical adviser and choreographed many of the game sequences. On technical merit alone, this film is a pool player's classic. Beyond that, however, the way "Fast Eddie" takes to his skills and relationships pushes this film out as a classic for the general audience. In one scene, he is describing what it is like to be really good at something. It is one of the best speeches about excellence I have ever heard. This is one of my top three films. On a scale of ten, I give it an eleven.

34 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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The thumb breaking scene? pinealrapture
Fats employed every trick to beat Felson; otherwise he loses. isolated_ions
What did Bert Gordon whisper to Sarah? kag2-1
Handbook on the side? HenriettaDemina
What did G.C. Scott mean when he screamed "You owe ME MONEY!" epatten67
George C Scott or Jackie Gleason? kag2-1
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