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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"... He was a winner... He was a loser... He was a hustler. 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 »

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

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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

In a curious train of events, a bartender here played by boxer Jake LaMotta would later have his life story filmed as Raging Bull (1980) by director Martin Scorsese who, in turn, would direct the 'Hustler' sequel The Color of Money (1986). See more »

Goofs

In the last game with Fats, Eddie starts by calling and pocketing the 1 ball and the 12 ball. Eddie is talking to Bert as he sets up his next shot, a 4 ball, which he then pockets. His next string of calls - the 5 ball, the 14 ball, and then the 4 ball again (which he had already pocketed). See more »

Quotes

Big John: You Eddie Felson.
Fast Eddie: Who's he?
Big John: What's your game? Whaddaya shoot?
Fast Eddie: You name it, we shoot it.
Big John: Look, friend, I'm not trying to hustle. I don't never hustle people that walk in a poolroom with leather satchels. Don't try to hustle me.
Fast Eddie: Okay, I'm Eddie Felson. I shoot straight pool.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 20 to 1: Hollywood's Hot List (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Louisville Dixieland
(1961) (uncredited)
Music by Dan Terry
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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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