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The Hustler
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The Hustler (1961) More at IMDbPro »

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

Overview

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8.1/10   47,625 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Sidney Carroll (screenplay) and
Robert Rossen (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Hustler on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 September 1961 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
They Called Him "Fast Eddie" See more »
Plot:
An up-and-coming pool player plays a long-time champion in a single high-stakes match. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won 2 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 14 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
"We Have A Contract Of Depravity" See more (145 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Paul Newman ... Eddie Felson

Jackie Gleason ... Minnesota Fats

Piper Laurie ... Sarah Packard

George C. Scott ... Bert Gordon
Myron McCormick ... Charlie Burns

Murray Hamilton ... Findley

Michael Constantine ... Big John

Stefan Gierasch ... Preacher
Clifford A. Pellow ... Turk (as Cliff Pellow)

Jake LaMotta ... Bartender
Gordon B. Clarke ... Cashier
Alexander Rose ... Score Keeper
Carolyn Coates ... Waitress
Carl York ... Young Hustler

Vincent Gardenia ... Bartender
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
William Adams ... Old Doctor (uncredited)
Tom Ahearne ... Bartender (uncredited)
Charles Andre ... Waiter at Parisien Restaurant (uncredited)
Don Crabtree ... Small Role (uncredited)
Gloria Curtis ... Girl with Fur Coat (uncredited)
Robert Daget ... (uncredited)
Don De Leo ... Another Player (uncredited)
Charles Dierkop ... Pool Room Hood (uncredited)
William Duell ... Louisville Hustler (uncredited)
James Dukas ... Kibitzer (uncredited)
Brendan Fay ... Player (uncredited)
Jack Healy ... Hotel Proprietor (uncredited)

Hoke Howell ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Don Koll ... Racetrack Ticket Clerk (uncredited)
Charles McDaniel ... Reservation Clerk at Louisville Hotel (uncredited)
Charles Mosconi ... Second Man (uncredited)
Willie Mosconi ... Willie (uncredited)

Sid Raymond ... First Man (uncredited)
Art Smith ... Old Man Attendant (uncredited)
Blue Washington ... Limping Attendant at Ames Billiards (uncredited)
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Directed by
Robert Rossen 
 
Writing credits
Sidney Carroll (screenplay) (as Sydney Carroll) and
Robert Rossen (screenplay)

Walter Tevis (based on the novel by) (as Walter S. Tevis)

Produced by
Robert Rossen .... producer
 
Original Music by
Kenyon Hopkins (music by)
 
Cinematography by
Eugen Schüfftan (director of photography) (as Eugene Shuftan)
 
Film Editing by
Dede Allen (film editor)
 
Production Design by
Harry Horner (production design by)
 
Set Decoration by
Gene Callahan 
 
Costume Design by
Ruth Morley (costumes designed by)
 
Makeup Department
Donoene .... hair styles by
Robert Jiras .... makeup by
 
Production Management
John Graham .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Charles H. Maguire .... assistant director (as Charles Maguire)
Ulu Grosbard .... assistant director (uncredited)
Don Kranze .... assistant director (uncredited)
Angelo Laiacona .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Albert Brenner .... associate art director
Jack Flaherty .... property master (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Edward Beyer .... sound editor
Jim Shields .... sound (as James Shields)
Dick Vorisek .... sound (as Richard Vorisek)
Jack Fitzstephens .... sound editor (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Herbert Holcombe .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
William Cronjager .... assistant cameraman
David Golden .... chief electrician
Saul Midwall .... camera operator
Muky .... still photographer
Martin Nallan .... chief grip (as Martin Nallan Jr.)
Felix Trimboli .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Richard Stone .... assistant editor
Evan A. Lottman .... montage of pool scenes editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Angelo Ross .... music editor
Dan Terry .... musician: Louisville music
 
Other crew
Marguerite James .... script supervisor
Willie Mosconi .... technical advisor
Fred Hift .... publicist (uncredited)
Ralph M. Leo .... production accountant (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Robert Rossen's The Hustler" - USA (complete title)
"Eddie Felson" - Israel (English title)
"Hustler" - Japan (English title)
See more »
Runtime:
134 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Kim Novak told Larry King on his television show that she turned down the role of Sarah Packard eventually played by Piper Laurie.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Sara is typing drunk, she knocks over the bottle of alcohol in front of the typewriter. When Eddie picks up the bottle in the next shot, the bottle has been moved to the right.See more »
Quotes:
Sarah Packard:Eddie, look, I've got troubles... and I think maybe you've got troubles. Maybe it'd be better if we just leave each other alone.
Fast Eddie:I have my things over at the hotel. I'll bring them over later.
Sarah Packard:I'm not sure. I don't know.
Fast Eddie:Well, what do you want to know? And why?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Hustler ThemeSee more »

FAQ

How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Is "The Hustler" based on a book?
Any recommendation for other pool-playing movies like "The Hustler"?
See more »
145 out of 179 people found the following review useful.
"We Have A Contract Of Depravity", 16 January 1999
Author: Michael Coy (michael.coy@virgin.net) from London, England

"The Hustler" is steeped in the seedy atmosphere of smoke-filled pool halls in the ugly urban hinterland of America. The Ames Billiard Hall is funereal in feel. When 'Fast Eddie' Felson walks in with Charlie, his manager, Charlie remarks, "These tables are the slabs they lay the stiffs on." The film is about the talented men who perform, but equally about the talentless predators who exploit them. The habitues of the pool hall cling to the shadows. They wince when a blind is opened and sunlight gets in. A new hustler enters, and these vultures gather silently on the margins.

Eddie is the youngster hungry for glory. He and Charlie pose as salesmen and Eddie feigns drunkenness, hooking the punters by repeating an almost-impossible shot. For all the slickness of the con, Eddie is impatient for bigger things. He wants to challenge Minnesota Fats, the best hustler in the land.

Newman gets his name above the title, but this is a film with four exquisite pieces of acting. Jackie Gleason as Minnesota, Piper Laurie as Sarah and George C Scott, playing Bert Gordon, turn in wonderful performances.

Eddie matures as the story progresses. He starts as a cheap chiseller, hustling ten bucks, but ambition carries him to Louisville and the world of the high rollers. Sarah's love opens emotional dimensions in him which he previously lacked. Bert Gordon confronts him with his own spiritual inadequacies, forcing him to understand himself. Eddie is jejune in the first game against the Fat Man, but by the second meeting he is emotionally strong, and completely his own man. He has made the spiritual journey from the whining "everybody wants a piece of me" to the inner knowledge that Sarah bequeathed him - that only those who give can truly live.

Bert Gordon, with his dark glasses and hawkish features, is a creature of the night. Loving the 'action' of a clash of talents, but lacking any talent of his own, Gordon is the predator on the sidelines. Hearing of the new hustler's presence, Gordon arrives soundlessly and sits watching intently for hours. His dark genius sees the weakness in every soul. In the bar, when he and Eddie talk business, Gordon is foreshortened to look tiny alongside the talented youngster. For all his money and sharp wits, Gordon will never be more than a parasite living off the ability of others. Finally, Eddie and Fats walk into the sunlight, heroes who have proved themselves. Gordon remains perched on his gloomy barstool, a prisoner in his own dark kingdom.

If Sarah is the vulnerable, physically-disabled woman who relies on drink too heavily, the victim of the men she encounters, she is also the heart of the movie. She destroys Gordon's certainty and she shows Eddie the meaning of love. Her tragedy is Eddie's salvation. She and Eddie find each other in a deserted bus station in the dead hours. They are both lost souls, Citizens of Hell. She is the deformed girl with the empty life, and he is the emotional cripple with no resources of education or character to sustain him. They cling to each other as if shipwrecked. When the seduction comes, Sarah hesitates. She knows this will lead to suffering. "Why me?" she asks, then surrenders to her fate.

The time when Eddie's hands are in plaster is Sarah's brief season of happiness. She stops drinking and even makes progress with her writing. Somebody needs her, belongs completely to her. It cannot last.

"I made you up, Eddie," Sarah tells him, and in a sense she did. She imagined him to be loyal and stable. On the night when the truth dawns, Sarah goes from feeling pretty in her new dress to being a rain-sodden wreck. She is supplanted in Eddie's attention by the sinister Gordon, who asserts the new power-balance in the railroad dining-car. The hotel suites are adjoining, and though Sarah closes all the doors, she can't keep Gordon out. By Findlay's party, she has hit the bottle again. The patterned dress which Eddie bought her, a symbol of her incarceration, has the shadow of the ballustrade projected onto it, seemingly magnifying her sense of ensnarement.

Though Jackie Gleason does very little in this film, he dominates it. On screen for a fraction of the film's totality, and having neither great speeches nor grand gestures, he impresses by his sheer presence. Stillness, self-containment and an ironic amusement make Minnesota Fats the perfect foil for the angry, ambitious Eddie. In the final showdown, Fats' quiet poise outshines the grandstanding of the others. Gleason conveys beautifully the fear at the core of this big dandy. When Eddie has him in trouble, the Fat Man begins to lose his sartorial integrity as his confidence unravels.

This contrast of stillness and motion is effective in the first meeting of the hustlers. Fats and Gordon, who know what they are about, remain motionless and tranquil. Eddie the incontinent wannabe gradually loses control of both mouth and limbs. The film is rich in symbolic language. The cheap rooms which Eddie rents are mere boxes for hire, like the bus station locker which he lives out of. When he and Sarah meet for the second time, the inevitability of their coupling is conveyed in a scene without words or gestures. Eddie's plastercasts are manacles - without his hands, he is nothing. A sumptuous restaurant and a happy couple are transformed when the brutal truth emerges. The camera angle is reversed, and Eddie and Sarah are now separated by gaunt shelves of crockery. The illusion has been shattered. When Eddie sneaks out on the sleeping Sarah with the stake money in his hand, it is the betrayal of Charlie re-enacted.

A marvellous film is enhanced by a superbly sleazy jazz score (Kenyon Hopkins) and the violence is all the more gut-wrenching for being suggested, rather than shown.

Verdict - probably a masterpiece.

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