->'''Bert:''' I don't think there's a pool player alive shoots better pool than I saw you shoot the other night at Ames [against Minnesota Fats]. You got talent.\\
'''Eddie:''' So I got talent. So what beat me?\\
'''Bert:''' Character.

''The Hustler'' is a 1961 film directed by Robert Rossen, adapted from the novel of the same name by Walter Tevis. It stars Creator/PaulNewman, Jackie Gleason, Creator/GeorgeCScott, and Creator/PiperLaurie.

"Fast Eddie" Felson (Newman) is a talented but overconfident and undisciplined pool hustler who tries to prove himself by challenging legendary pool player "Minnesota Fats" (Gleason). After Felson loses to Fats, he takes up with the heavy drinking Sarah Packard (Laurie) and starts a relationship with unscrupulous manager Bert Gordon (Scott) that ultimately proves costly both professionally and personally.

The movie was nominated for nine Academy Award nominations, but [[AwardSnub only won two]] (Art Direction and Cinematography). Newman played "Fast Eddie" Felson again in the 1986 sequel, ''Film/TheColorOfMoney'', and [[ConsolationAward won an Oscar as Best Actor]], making him one of four actors who have been nominated for that award twice for playing the same character.[[note]]The other three being Peter O'Toole, Al Pacino, and Bing Crosby.[[/note]] In 2008, it was ranked #6 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 Greatest Sports Films of all time.

For the trope about {{Professional Gambler}}s who play others for money, [[{{Hustler}} click here.]]

!!''The Hustler'' provides examples of:

* TheAce: Minnesota Fats is unquestioningly recognized by everyone as the best pool player ever.
* TheAlcoholic: Sarah drinks almost constantly to dull the pain of being a BrokenBird.
* AlwaysSomeoneBetter: As good as Fast Eddie may be at pool, he will not be satisfied until he has beaten the one player he sees as his possible superior, Minnesota Fats.
* BadassBoast: This little gem after [[spoiler: Eddie beats Fats, and Bert demands what he believes is his share.]]
--> '''Fast Eddie:''' Boy, you better, you tell your boys they better kill me, Bert. They better go all the way with me, 'cause if they just bust me up, I'll put all those pieces back together again, then so help me... So help me God, Bert, I'm gonna come back here and I'm gonna kill you.
* BadGuysPlayPool: Kinda the point.
* BigBad: Bert Gordon.
* BrokenBird: Sarah. She even walks with a slight limp, due to [[spoiler:her childhood bout of polio]].
* ByronicHero: Eddie, who is driven to have Minnesota Fats acknowledge him as the better player... no matter what it takes.
* CallingYourShots: Newman and Gleason are playing 14.1 straight pool and call their shots.
* TheCameo: Jake La Motta, at the point where he'd destroyed his boxing career and personal life and turned to being a nightclub entertainer, plays a bartender.
* CreatorCameo: Willie Mosconi, 15-time winner of the World Straight Pool Championship, was the film's technical advisor. He trained Paul Newman on pool techniques, and has a cameo during the first match as the bystander who holds the stake money.
-->'''Fats:''' Willie, hang on to that.
* CripplingTheCompetition: 'Fast Eddie' Felson has his thumbs broken by a pool shark who doesn't like being hustled.
* DarkAndTroubledPast: Both Eddie and Sarah have this; she even lampshades it when they first meet.
-->'''Sarah:''' Eddie, look, I've got troubles... and I think maybe you've got troubles. Maybe it'd be better if we just leave each other alone.
* {{Deadpan Snarker}}: Bert
* DesperatelyCravesAffection: Sarah, whose desperation is only held in check by her constant drinking. It becomes more obvious when she starts falling in love with Eddie.
-->'''Sarah:''' I love you.\\
'''Eddie:''' You need the words?\\
'''Sarah:''' Yes, I need them very much. If you ever say them I'll never let you take them back.
* DisappearedDad: Sarah, whose father left her when she was seven. Her only contact with him are the monthly checks he sends her.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:Eddie eventually beats Minnesota Fats, but only because he drove Sarah to suicide with his obsessive drive to play pool, and he realizes at the end that it's a meaningless victory.]]
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler: Sarah, after she's been rejected by Eddie and slept with Bert.]]
* DrowningMySorrows: This is Sarah's favorite pastime when she first meets Eddie.
* DysfunctionJunction: This is how Eddie and Sarah bond initially.
* FragileFlower: Sarah is almost inevitably this when she isn't simply drunk.
* GracefulLoser: Minnesota Fats graciously accepts his defeat, if only because Eddie was going off the rails and decided that Bert Gordon was the real enemy. Eddie comes off as a good winner to him at the end, too.
* GrayRainOfDepression: Eddie takes Sarah out to dinner, then tells her that he will be leaving town for a little while. Fearing that he's dumping her, Sarah bolts out of the restaurant and into a downpour.
* HisOwnWorstEnemy: Eddie, full stop. It's illustrated in his first game against Minnesota Fats; despite being ahead $18,000 dollars, Eddie still insists on playing -- whereupon Fats utterly ''demolishes'' the drunken, sleep-deprived Eddie, winning everything back, and then completely cleans out Eddie and Charlie.
* HopeIsScary: Sarah exhibits signs of this when she starts falling in love with Eddie.
* {{Hustler}}: Eddie, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin of course.]]
* HustlingTheMark: Being a pool shark, Eddie frequently does this.
* InNameOnly: The film is a reasonably close adaptation of the book of that name. They each have a sequel called ''Film/TheColorOfMoney'', but the film and the novel have almost nothing in common.
* LargeHam: "You owe me MONEY!"
* ManipulativeBastard: Bert Gordon, a dangerously subtle version. ''Everything'' he says and does is used to manipulate and control others -- there are no innocuous comments anywhere. Worse, even after the other characters ''know'' not to trust him, he's still able to goad them to his ends and ultimately [[spoiler:[[DrivenToSuicide drive Sarah to commit suicide.]]]]
* MonochromeCasting: Nearly everyone in the movie is Caucasian -- the few exceptions are a mute black man at Ames' pool hall who sweeps the floor, and a black gambler and his family at the races.
* MythologyGag: While at the Kentucky Derby, the race announcer lists some of the horses racing. One of them is named "Stroke of Luck", a proposed alternate title for the film.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Inverted -- RealLife pool player Rudolf "New York Fats" Wanderone claims that Minnesota Fats is based on him. After the film was released, he adopted the nickname for himself and became better known by it than the movie character.
* PreAsskickingOneLiner: After more than 24 hours of straight pool playing against Minnesota Fats, Eddie is exhausted and rather drunk. Then Fats, well-groomed and smiling, says, "Eddie, let's play pool." Fats proceeds to utterly destroy him at the table.
* ProfessionalGambler: While Eddie is one to a degree, he's dwarfed by Bert, whose entire lifestyle is built around his gambling wins.
* SecondPlaceIsForLosers[=/=]ToBeAMaster: This is Eddie's primary motivation throughout the film -- it's not enough that he's already a great pool player, he ''must'' defeat Minnesota Fats and have Fats acknowledge him as the best.
-->'''Eddie:''' You can't see it, can you, Charlie? I mean, you've never been able to see it. I came after ''him.'' And I'm gonna get him. I'm goin' with him all the way. The pool game is not over until Minnesota Fats says it's over.
* SellOut: What Eddie does when he agrees to let Bert manage him.
* TheSocialExpert: This is Bert Gordon's most important skill as a ManipulativeBastard; he can quickly size up someone and identify their innermost weaknesses. He's so good that even after losing a fortune to Eddie in a marathon session of pool, Minnesota Fats cheerfully agrees to keep playing just because Bert identified Eddie as a "loser" -- and then proceeds to win it all back.
* SolemnEndingTheme: Most of the movie is devoid of any sort of music or background theme, but the end credits are accompanied by a mournful jazz piece.
* TechnicianVsPerformer: Refined, calm Minnesota Fats compared to arrogant, spontaneous Eddie Felson.
* TheTeetotaler: Even though he frequents bars and pool halls, Bert's beverage of choice is milk.
* TragicDream: Eddie wants to beat Minnesota Fats and be recognized as the best pool player ever. [[spoiler:He eventually succeeds, but derives no pleasure from it.]]
* TragicHero: Eddie. His FatalFlaw is his [[AmbitionIsEvil ambition]] to beat Minnesota Fats, which blinds him to everything else.
* TheUnfettered: According to Bert, this is what Minnesota Fats becomes when he plays, which allows him to be a top-tier pool player. Eddie eventually learns the same skill [[spoiler:after Sarah's death.]]
* WorldOfCardboardSpeech: The film makes it clear from the beginning that although Fast Eddie is a talented pool player, his attitude is holding him back. It's no surprise that he eventually gets his WorldOfCardboardSpeech. Now, how he gets it, on the other hand...
->'''Eddie:''' Fat man, you shoot a great game of pool.