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Film: The Color of Money

Eddie: Do you smell that?
Vincent: What, smoke?
Carmen: No — Money.

The Color of Money is a 1986 film directed by Martin Scorsese, a sequel to The Hustler. Twenty-five years after he abruptly retired from the world of pool, "Fast Eddie" Felson (Newman) is working as a successful liquor salesman. One day, he meets the skilled but flamboyant pool player Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise) and his girlfriend Carmen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). Seeing Vincent as himself as a young man, Eddie takes him up as a protégé and teaches him the way of the Hustler.

Like the original movie, The Color of Money was based on a novel by Walter Tevis, which was also a sequel to The Hustler. Unlike the original movie, Color deviates significantly from its source novel, which dealt with Fast Eddie’s comeback to take on his former archrival, Minnesota Fats. Also unlike the original film, Newman actually won the Oscar this time around.

The movie version is also known for inspiring John Carmack to pick the title Doom for his medium-altering video game.


This movie features examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: After Eddie's heroic BSOD and breakup with Vincent, he immediately starts working on regaining his pool-playing skills.
  • Academy Award: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. Newman took home Best Actor for his role.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: "Stocker", Vincent's favorite video game, was an actual title by the short-lived Bally/Sente.
  • Badass Boast/Doomy Dooms of Doom: Occurs when Vincent goes back to play pool against Moselle, carrying his Balabushka pool cue in a case. When Moselle asks what's inside, Vincent grins and opens it, revealing the Balkabushka, and simply says "Doom" with a huge grin. He then proceeds to wipe the floor with Moselle.
  • Broken Ace: Eddie is this at the start of the movie.
  • Call Back: Several lines are call backs to The Hustler.
    • After beating Eddie, Amos asks him, "Do I need to lose weight?" (a reference to Minnesota Fats from the original)
    • At one point, Eddie's girlfriend Janelle says she likes him because he has "character". In The Hustler, Eddie is told he's a loser because he doesn't have character.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Vincent exhibits signs of this whenever he gets the slightest hint that Carmen might be interested in someone else. During a hustle, when Eddie and Carmen were pretending to be a couple, Vincent was noticeably distracted by Eddie's heavy petting of her.
  • Delinquent: Carmen was one prior to the events of the movie. She first met Vincent after she got arrested for driving the getaway car while her (former) boyfriend was robbing his parents' house.
  • Fan Disservice: Averted. The script called for Fast Eddie to play one match in the nude, but Paul Newman declined on the grounds that "You don't want to see a 60-year-old man naked."
  • Friendly Rivalry: Eddie and Vincent become this at the end of the movie.
  • Gold Digger: Played with; Carmen stays with Vincent and clearly benefits from his pool-playing skills, but it's never clear how much genuine affection she has for him.
  • Heroic BSOD: Eddie gets one after he himself is hustled by Amos, who smoothly pretends to be a lucky amateur and suckers Eddie into a series of double-or-nothing games.
  • He's Back
  • Hustler: Eddie, who teaches his skills to Vincent.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Discussed; aside from shooting pool, Vincent's hobby is playing "Stocker", a racing video game. He believes that mastering the game will give him the reflexes needed to join the Air Force as a fighter pilot.
  • In Name Only: As noted in the description, the film is this to the novel.
  • The Lad-ette: Carmen is a mild version of this. Though she enjoys looking attractive, she happily spends her time in pool halls, smoking and drinking with the guys while rounding up marks. She's also a lot more Street Smart than Vincent.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Vincent has this with regards to Carmen — he clearly sees her as a Purity Sue, blinding himself to her Street Smarts and delinquent past. She's even wearing a necklace she stole from his mother, and he thinks it's just a coincidence.
  • Lysistrata Gambit: Carmen uses this to force Vincent to return to their plan and intentionally lose.
    Carmen: You win one more game, you're gonna be humping your fist for a long time.
  • No Sympathy: Eddie tells Vincent that being a successful hustler means he must never have sympathy for his marks; when Vincent throws a pool game against a man with a tracheotomy, Eddie sets up a Pool Hall Brawl to teach him a lesson.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Eddie has this in regards to the present-day popularity of nine ball, which he thinks is simpler, faster, and easier than the straight pool he used to play.
    Eddie: This ain't pool. This is for bangers. Straight pool is pool. This is like hand-ball, or cribbage, or something. Straight pool, you gotta be a real surgeon to get 'em, you know? It's all finesse. Now, every thing is nine-ball, 'cause it's fast, good for T.V., good for a lot of break shots.
  • Ordered to Lose: Eddie tells Vincent to "dump" one of his road matches to prep him for a rich guy who's an easy mark. Vincent, being the hothead egotist that he is, wins the match and loses the mark instead.
  • Parental Substitute: Vincent ends up adopting Eddie as a father figure.
  • Pool Hall Brawl: Eddie indirectly starts one to teach Vincent a lesson.
  • Redemption Quest: The movie is essentially about Eddie redeeming himself and embracing his long-supressed love for pool.
  • Role Reprisal: Paul Newman, who returned to play "Fast Eddie" Felson.
  • Scary Black Men: When Eddie takes Vincent and Carmen to a pool hall filled with black men, Vincent urges Carmen to return to the hotel, worried that she could get raped. Carmen's angry insistence that she can handle herself gets ignored.
  • Street Smart: Carmen is clearly more experienced and world-saavy than Vincent.
  • Team Prima Donna: Vincent, who always wants to be the winner, even when it's detrimental to the hustle. Eddie and Carmen have to work together to keep him in check. Vincent's inability to throw games (to set up larger bets and richer marks) often leads to arguments.
    Eddie: How much did you take off Moselle? I heard a hundred...
    Vincent: One fifty!
    Eddie: A hundred and fifty?
    Vincent: That's right, a hundred and fifty.
    Vincent: You walk into a shoe store with a hundred and fifty bucks, you come out with one shoe! We were working on five thousand!
  • Technician Versus Performer: Eddie and Vincent are this trope in regards to both pool and hustling — Eddie is methodical and businesslike, while Vincent is flamboyant and seeks attention.
  • Throwing the Fight: After Eddie beats Vincent in the 9-Ball Classic semifinals, he learns that Vincent threw the match because he had numerous bets riding on him to win.
  • Training Montage: Eddie's recovery is shown with a montage of activities to rebuild his skills, including swimming, being fitted for new eyeglasses, and lots of games of pool.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger: An example of the variation where the protagonist (Eddie) is the Stranger who meets the established Friends (Vincent and Carmen).

Eddie: Hey — I’m back.
After HoursCreator/Martin ScorseseThe Last Temptation of Christ
CobraFilms of the 1980sCome and See

alternative title(s): The Color Of Money
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