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The Hustler (1961)

Not Rated | | Drama, Sport | October 1961 (UK)
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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 »
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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:

They Called Him "Fast Eddie" 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:

October 1961 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Robert Rossen's The Hustler 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

The studio suggested changing the title, as "Hustler" was also a well-established (since 1924) slang term for a prostitute. One alternate title suggested was Stroke of Luck. When cooler heads prevailed, "Stroke of Luck" was added to the Kentucky Derby scene as the name of one of the horses. See more »

Goofs

During the last match between Fats and Eddie, in the first game, Fats attempts a soft break, leaving the cue ball against the rail. In the establishing shot, the cue ball is clearly bouncing away from the rail, in the next shot, the ball is tight frozen against the rail. See more »

Quotes

Fast Eddie: Fats, let's you and me shoot a game of straight pool.
Minnesota Fats: Hundred dollars?
Fast Eddie: Well, you shoot big time pool, Fats. I mean, that's what everybody says: you shoot big time pool. Let's make it $200 a game.
Minnesota Fats: Now I know why they call you Fast Eddie.
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Color of Money (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Louisville Dixieland
(1961) (uncredited)
Music by Dan Terry
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Best Sports Movie Ever
2 October 2004 | by AjtlawyerSee all my reviews

I think "The Hustler" is the best sports movie ever made. Fast Eddie Felson is perhaps the most talented pool shooter in the country and yet, at his core, he's a born loser. Why is Eddie so self-destructive? He has Minnesota Fats, ostensibly the country's greatest player, beaten in the first marathon match only to drink himself into insensibility and let Fats off the hook.

Throughout the movie Eddie is surrounded by other people who are self-destructive or only interested in making a buck off of him. Even Charlie, his original manager (Myron McCormick in a terrific role)needs him for a meal ticket. Bert, his second manager, is a slithering, calculating parasite who uses everyone around him. Sara, Eddie's pathetic girlfriend, is going through life in an aimless, alcoholic haze.

The movie really lets you into the lives of these people who live on the margins of society. The cinematography is outstanding, the settings and mood of the movie draw you in totally. The acting is uniformly outstanding from top to bottom. Great movies get great performances from the minor characters, too. Vincent Gardenia, Michael Constantine, Murray Hamilton and McCormick are perfect in the smaller roles while Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie (all getting well-deserved Oscar nominations) and George C. Scott are indelible in the major roles. Even boxer Jake LaMotta has a cameo as a bartender.

Can Eddie finally overcome being a born loser? Can love redeem any of these lost people? What makes a person a champion? Is it talent alone or does a champion need some inner demon that can only be defeated by pursuing victory at all costs?


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