One of the greatest movies of all-time: The Hustler


The year was 1961. John F Kennedy was just elected president, the Vietnam War was escalating and it would be another 8 years before we landed on the moon…


The Hustler starring Paul Newman as “Fast” Eddie Felson and Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats, directed by Robert Rossen. It’s a story of a down on his luck pool shark (Fast Eddie), that is on a cross country journey to find and beat The greatest living pool player. Minnesota Fats.

He finally finds the “fat man” as Eddie would later nickname him, and challenges him to play for $200 per game then ups the ante to $1,000 per game.

I remember the first time I watched this movie as a kid. It was cool, it’s like i jumped in the DeLorean and punched 1961 into the flux capacitor. It made you realize how cool the 60's were, when everyone smoked Cigarettes and had a drink in their hand…. Literally

Jackie Gleason in my mind was one of the most underrated actors to ever live. He didn’t make that many movies. Matter of fact he tried to retire numerous times. Claiming he was “tired of filmmaking.” Most people remember him from the Smokey and the Bandit films. Which is sad because those were his worst films, they were funny but beneath him.

His last film ever made was with Tom Hanks, a 1986 film called Nothing in Common. He died less then a year after filming. I have seen many of his films and none were better then The Hustler, and he was nominated for an academy award for his role as Minnesota Fats.

He also had a very successful music career as a jazz musician, where he sold over ten million albums.

Ok, back to the movie…

Eddie couldn’t help himself. He was arrogant, mouthy and wildly flawed, that’s what made his character so good. Paul Newman who played Fast Eddie initially turned down the role because he was due to make a film with Elizabeth Taylor. But the Taylor film fell through and the rest is history. Newman who is one of the best actors to ever live knocked it out of the park. And nothing shows it better then this scene…

They played pool through the night and I’m not going to tell you who wins. You’ll have to watch the film. One of the things I love about this film is after watching it awhile you don’t even realize it’s black and white.

Rent it or check it out in Netflix, you won’t regret it. I leave you with what I consider the best scene in the movie…