Page 2's Top 20 Sports Movies of All-Time
No. 9: The Hustler (113 points)
Year released: 1961.
Cast: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott.
What we like: The brilliant performances of Newman as Fast Eddie Felson and Gleason as Minnesota Fats; the long scene early in the movie where Newman tries to hustle the ultimate hustler (Gleason), and they wind up playing all night ... best pool-playing scene ever; the dialogue (Fats: "Eddie, do you like to play pool ... for money?"; Fast Eddie: "Let's you and me play some pool, Fat Man."); the trick shots.
What we're willing to overlook: The tedious "when-will-Piper-Laurie-kill-herself" subplot that takes up much of the middle of the movie.
Newman is brooding and cool, but Gleason, when he washes his hands and combs his hair, man, to be that cool, that would be something. -- Page 2 columnist Eric Neel
"Look at that fat man move!" Gleason comes off as Babe Ruth with a pool cue. -- Page 2 columnist Jeff Merron
A movie without flaws. Great acting. Great tension. Never a dull moment. And since billiards is constantly on ESPN2, it definitely counts as a sports movie. -- Page 2 columnist Bob Halloran