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Showing 1-10 of 470 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 749 reviews
on October 11, 2016
I saw this film in a theater when it first came out. Then, my friends and I thought it was a movie about playing pool. Not so many years ago, I bought the VCR. Upon watching it from a more mature point of view, I realized that this story was actually a "character study" of "Fast Eddie" Felson. Also, I came to fully appreciate the black and white filming. It's perfect for the time period portrayed. It's perfect for capturing the atmosphere of those dark and dingy, sometimes dangerous pool halls of that era where playing for money was the name of the game. Finally, I purchased this DVD Collector's Edition as a replacement for the VCR. The second disc of interviews and insights into the making of this film is a fine addition to the to this set and added more to my understanding of the film and its production. But still, there is the game... and when it comes to straight pool (the only real pocket billiards variation worth playing), Willie Mosconi, "Minnesota Fats" and "Fast Eddie" Felson are yet the original mentors for this now older, but still fairly talented player.
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on September 16, 2013
The Hustler is a widely acclaimed film with an all-star cast. It won 2 of its 9 Oscar nominations,with all four of its 4 principal actors, Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott, and Piper Laurie each receiving nominations for their acting performances. Although it was one of Newman's early roles, it wasn't his first. He had already made the A-list in 1956 playing Rocky Graziano in "Somebody Up There Likes Me," reaffirming his star power and popularity in 1958 as the male lead opposite Elizabeth Taylor in "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof." Jackie Gleason, was best known at the time as a comedian, variety show host, and creator of the "Honeymooners" TV comedy, starring in its lead role. In a completely non-comedic role, he plays Minnesota Fatst, a pool hustler widely acclaimed as the best in the country. It shows an entirely different aspect of Gleason's acting ability. Fast Eddie (Newman) has become obsessed with beating Minnesota Fats in a match. Tension among the characters steadily builds, particularly among Newman, Laurie and Scott, to the very end. Shot in B&W with which the director, Rossen, was more comfortable and accustomed to than color, it is entirely appropriate for the gritty and grimy old pool hall settings that comprise most of the film. While The Hustler may be classed by some as a "pool film" and it certainly increased the popularity of pool when originally released, it's not about pool or pool sharks. The game and its hustlers are only the vehicle for Fast Eddie attempting to find himself and salvation with Sara (Piper Laurie) who was slightly crippled by polio as a child, but she's not the only one flawed. The other three are flawed, being driven by their own character crippling demons. The film was unique and shocking in 1961 with its emotional intensity. It will seem tamer now, but maintains a compelling, gut wrenching outcome at the end, and that is the film's timeless power.

Blu-ray transfer has excellent grayscale with good contrast and is clean. Grain is present but handled well without sacrificing detail. The audio is limited by its original monaural source of low fidelity monaural source of low fidelity by today's standards. It has been reworked to 5.1, but the low fidelity shows with the opening Fox theme and logo. There is a 2.0 option if desired but it does not improve the overall fidelity. There's only so much that can be done with the original soundtrack.
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on May 11, 2017
The Hustler is a lot more than a movie about a game called pool. It's a film about life that uses pool as a back drop to teach the lessons expertly captured within the story. Many people aren't aware that Robert Rossen's father was caught up in the "Red Scare" in the fifties and black balled. Mr. Rossen uses the idea of corruption of power by Bert Gordon as allegory to McCarthyism. This film is deep on a variety of levels if the viewer cares to look beneath the surface of stellar performances by Newman, Gleason and Laurie to reveal the true ugliness of human potential gone wrong for the love of money and absolute control, net, domination of the spirit as Mr. Gordon so successfully demonstrates. As Ms. Packard labels Bert a Roman, she is led to the slaughter, sacrifices herself so that Eddie can transcend his nature and become the real winner in life. This powerful film also features some great pool by Willie Mosconi, one of the greatest of all time and was actually shot in a real pool hall in NYC. I've seen this movie, maybe 100 times and it never gets old. A true classic in the history of American cinema.
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on April 14, 2017
The Hustler film features the character of Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) who is extremely eager to take on popular pool player Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason). Things turn out differently than planned for him yet he does meet Sarah Packard (Piper Laurie) during the midst of all this. Felson also unknowing catches the intrigue of Bert Gordon (George C. Scott) during his game with Minnesota Fats. Gordon offers Felson a deal to help him turn his finances around, just with a major caveat. Additionally, to complicate matters, Felson actually cares a lot about Packard so he is pretty much forced to choose between the safe option that would give them more time together but with the caveat that his finances might stay the same andor get more challenging or go along with Gordon’s plan yet also risk what he (Felson)could be developing with Packard.
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on July 6, 2017
A classic, but Piper Laurie's performance has not aged well, and there is too much of the Fast Eddie/Crippled Piper subplot. When she gives Eddie the people wear masks speech, the movie nearly goes off the rails. The melodrama of her suicide and resulting confrontation between Newman and George C. Scott isn't quite enough to sink a flawed but enjoyable film. Jackie Gleason is the standout.
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on March 18, 2015
A famous motion picture with big stars that I had never seen. I was expecting a better movie. Slow moving and long. Two hours and 14 minutes could easily have been edited down to 90-100 minutes. It kept me watching until the end, but I was a little disappointed given my high expectations.
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on January 29, 2016
Oh, wait ... that's a different Paul Newman movie about hockey. This 1961 movie (in black & white) is about pool, but really more a character study. Even though it's 2 hours and 15 minutes, it was so entertaining the time just flew by. Newman, Gleason, Piper and Scott were all excellent in their parts. Plus the 2-disc collector's edition has a lot of extras (which I still have to watch), including a commentary. Warning, this is not a fast-moving adventure movie. There's no gratuitous violence (though there is some violence) and nothing gets blown up. A lot of it takes place in pool rooms. It's psychological and people making bad choices. Great movie. Nothing more to say.
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on June 16, 2017
I bought this because I knew it was a classic prequel to The Color Of Money, which I love. A classic it may be, but I think The Color Of Money is a lot better.
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on December 20, 2006
A cocky gambler named Fast Eddie (Paul Newman) sets his cites on debonaire Fats Domino (Jackie Gleason) as a trophy. By feigning drunkenness, Eddie has been able to con two-bit pool players out of hundreds of dollars. He now has just enough cash and more than enough ego for the big league. Or so he thinks. But an unanticipated life lesson is required before graduation.

Admittedly mild by today's standards, THE HUSTLER is nevertheless replete with depraved moral issues and vices. Gambling, drunkenness, brutality, sex, and death are more than subtly implied -- all taking this beyond family viewing category despite the lack of movie rating.

This ten-time Oscar nominated drama is absolutely mesmerizing. Newman, Gleason, George C. Scott, Piper Laurie, Michael Constantine all turn in remarkable performances. Viewers don't just watch this movie, they experience compassion, pity, shame, and disgust for its characters by becoming students of the pool game and of life. Rather than dispel the negative emotions, like a gambling habit, the craving for them becomes so intense, it is only satisfied through multiple viewings. There are a handful of movies with such a emotional impact -- A RAISIN IN THE SUN,THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, and IN A LONELY PLACE come to mind. THE HUSTLER is an unexpected trophy.

Excellent DVD extras include commentary on most of the trick shots in the film.

Movie quote: "Do you want some free advice?" "How much will it cost?"
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on April 30, 2017
America on the dark side of money. The win, the loss and the love that almost paid off. To watch Jackie and Paul glide around the pool table is nothing less then the ultimate explosion of entertainment. If you've ever played and never seen, your loss............
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