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The Hustler (1961)

6 | | Drama, Sport | October 1961 (UK)
3:22 | Trailer
An up-and-coming pool player plays a long-time champion in a single high-stakes match.


Robert Rossen


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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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


"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


They Called Him "Fast Eddie" See more »


Drama | Sport


6 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

October 1961 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

El audaz See more »

Filming Locations:

Yonkers, New York, USA See more »


Box Office


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

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


At least some of the film was shot on location in Louisville, KY. The hotel where Eddie, Sarah & Burt check in is the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville. There are clear interior shots of its distinctive period lobby. Its other claim to fame is that it was frequented by Al Capone during the prohibition era and was also the haunt of another gangster named Rebus that F. Scott Fitzgerald modelled Gatsby on. The hotel also features in The Great Gatsby (2013). See more »


After having his thumbs broken, Eddie is wearing large casts on both hands. Clothing changes that occur later would be impossible because the sleeves on the shirt and jacket that Eddie wears could not fit over the casts. See more »


Fast Eddie: I don't rattle, kid. But just for that I'm gonna beat you flat.
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Referenced in Milestones in Cinema History: The Hustler (2007) See more »


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

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User Reviews

..."perverted, twisted, and crippled"...
16 April 2017 | by elvircorhodzicSee all my reviews

THE HUSTLER is a sport drama about a bitter life and an unscrupulous competition. Film is based on Walter Tevis novel of the same name.

A small-time pool hustler travels cross-country with his partner and earns, on fraud, some money. His attitude and his big mouth forcing him to challenge the legendary player "Minnesota Fats". A challenger and legend finally meet each other. Straight pool duel can begin. Their game attracts the attention of a professional gambler. The young challenger has, despite a noticeable talent, lost the match. He leaves his partner and he meets, at the local bus terminal, a girl, who is an alcoholic supported by her father, attends college part-time, and walks with a limp. They start a strange relationship. However, the pool hustler wants again to challenge a famous rival. His talent does not seem sufficient, he needs a strong character...

A restless, irritable and evil protagonists are perfectly integrated into a dark atmosphere. Their greed for a fame and money has ruled out any form of love and nobility in this film. The plot is brisk and exciting. Every word or move is full of passion and has its price.

Paul Newman as Eddie Felson is a passionate and violent pool hustler. The protagonist, who is, at one point, on the top of his life goal, and then drops down until he touches the bottom. He was intoxicated with his ambition. The loss of a loved person and a bitter life knowledge are his brutal sobering. Mr. Newman has offered a quite good performance. Piper Laurie as Sarah Packard is his girlfriend, who has lost in her unclear past. However, when Eddie comes into her life, she revives her pathetic reality. She is a dominant character in one part of the film, in which she emphasizes their tragic fate. George C. Scott as Bert Gordon is an antagonist on duty. He is an evil which trades with feelings and souls. His performance is very convincing. Jackie Gleason (Minnesota Fats) is a cool as a legendary player. However, he has become a prisoner of his talent and money.

Maybe this movie is a strong projection of the real world, which is complemented with a cynical reviews and a tragic-ironic end. The protagonists have condemned themselves to a bitter taste of life.

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