With or without the Oscar, this is one of the greatest American films ever made in any genre. George C. Scott refused to take part in the Oscar ceremonies when "The Hustler" was nominated, calling them "a self-serving orgy" if my memory serves me right. Perhaps that stand contributed to the movie not being recognized in its own time. Whatever the reason, this film shows you that recognition is unnecessary for true art. The cream always rises to the top.
People may not realize that Paul Newman was an unknown when this movie was made. His youthful brashness and emotion laden performance show him as an actor beyond his years.
One can never say too much about George C. Scott. He's old reliable, in this movie as in his others. He does an excellent job. He's just so good that we are numb to his mastery.
Piper Laurie also turns in an amazing performance. Her acting is subtle but her method is steady.
The real standout in this film is Jackie Gleason. He shows why he was called "The Great One." I personally feel that this movie shows him as the greatest method actor of his generation, and perhaps one of the greatest ever.
But unbelievable acting is only one part of this gem. The cinematography is clear and artistic. The script is expertly written and the scenery couldn't be more authentic.
This is the only pool movie I know of that you can enjoy as a pool player. The pool scenes are unbelievable. They used the greatest pool players of the day in shooting and it shows. The Color of Money is a nicely shot movie but there is not really a lot of pool in it. This is a pool movie that transcends pool.
Please do yourself a favor and add this to your collection.