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The Hustler (1961)

Not Rated | | Drama, Sport | 25 September 1961 (USA)
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3:19 | Trailer
An up-and-coming pool player plays a long-time champion in a single high-stakes match.

Director:

Robert Rossen

Writers:

Sidney Carroll (screenplay) (as Sydney Carroll), Robert Rossen (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Won 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Paul Newman ... Eddie Felson
Jackie Gleason ... Minnesota Fats
Piper Laurie ... Sarah Packard
George C. Scott ... Bert Gordon
Myron McCormick Myron McCormick ... Charlie Burns
Murray Hamilton ... Findley
Michael Constantine ... Big John
Stefan Gierasch ... Preacher
Clifford A. Pellow Clifford A. Pellow ... Turk (as Cliff Pellow)
Jake LaMotta ... Bartender
Gordon B. Clarke Gordon B. Clarke ... Cashier
Alexander Rose Alexander Rose ... Score Keeper
Carolyn Coates Carolyn Coates ... Waitress
Carl York Carl York ... Young Hustler
Vincent Gardenia ... Bartender
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Storyline

"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

Taglines:

It delves without compromise into the hungers that lie deep within us all. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Robert Rossen's The Hustler See more »

Filming Locations:

Yonkers, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ranked #6 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Sports" in June 2008. See more »

Goofs

In the early pool scene Fats takes two shots left handed although he is a right handed player. See more »

Quotes

Bert Gordon: Eddie, is it alright if I get personal?
Fast Eddie: Whaddaya been so far?
Bert Gordon: Eddie, you're a born loser.
Fast Eddie: What's that supposed to mean?
Bert Gordon: First time in ten years I ever saw Minnesota Fats hooked... really hooked. But you let him off.
Fast Eddie: I told you I got drunk.
Bert Gordon: Sure you got drunk. You have the best excuse in the world for losing; no trouble losing when you got a good excuse. Winning... that can be heavy on your back, too, like a monkey. You'll drop that load too when you got an excuse. All you gotta do is learn to ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Castle: The Wild Rover (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Pool-Hall Drama
14 September 2009 | by freemantle_ukSee all my reviews

The Hustler is seen as a well respected, getting Oscar nominations and making Paul Newman's name as an actor. Here is a film noir style film with gritty, flawed characters, looking at working class culture. It made during a great period of cinema.

The film tells the story of a small time pool hustler, Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman), who had been traveling around America, making a lot of money and wanting to challenge Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason), the best pool player in America. After initial success, Fats beats Eddie, with him being battered and beaten. He ends up forming a relationship with an alcoholic woman, Sarah (Piper Laurie), a woman who is beaten down by life. They both help each other and seem in love, but Eddie does the only thing he can do, hustle, getting himself in dangerous. In a bar Eddie meets Bert Gordon (George C. Scott), a gambler who offers to back Eddie up and give him his chance to beat Fats.

The film is considered by some a sports movie, but the film isn't. It is a character drama, it is about the broken American dream (like the writer John Steinbeck focused on). Many of the characters are flawed in some way. Eddie is a very arrogant character, who doesn't know where to stop and is almost on the path to self-destruction. Sarah is an alcoholic, who has given up on her dreams. Bert Gordon is a user, a man who only thinks of his own self-interest, an good villain. The Hustler strongest element is the acting, with top performance from all the actors. They made you believe in their characters. The director, Robert Rossen, does a good job, using fading shots, strong fixed shots, adding to the atmosphere and does well filming the pool scenes.

They are some problems with the film. It is a little too long and seems unfocused. Just cutting a few minutes properly would have made this a better film.

I personally the grim and gritty reality that this film sets out. This is a worthy film from the film noir school.


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