"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
Paul Newman agreed to make the film having read only half the script. He knew at that stage that it was a great project for him. See more »
After thugs break his thumbs, Eddie wears cast on his hands that remain sparking white for weeks - an impossibility because casts are dirt magnets that quickly become dingy-looking under the best of conditions and he's seen spilling coffee on them, lives in a seedy apartment, goes outside for a picnic and so on. See more »
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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