Taglines: The Hustler isn’t what he used to be, but he has the next best thing. A kid who is.
Pool hustler Fast Eddie Felson finds the young, promising pool player Vincent in a local bar and he sees in him a younger version of himself. To try and make it as in the old days, Eddie offers to teach Vincent how to be a hustler. After some hesitations Vincent accepts and Eddie takes him and Vincent’s girlfriend Carmen on a tour through the country to work the pool halls. However, Vincent’s tendency to show off his talent and by doing so warning off the players and losing money, soon leads to a confrontation with Eddie.
The Color of Money is a 1986 American drama film directed by Martin Scorsese from a screenplay by Richard Price, based on the 1984 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis. The film stars Paul Newman and Tom Cruise, with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver, and John Turturro in supporting roles. The film featured an original score by Robbie Robertson.
The film continues the story of pool hustler and stakehorse Edward “Fast Eddie” Felson from Tevis’ first novel, The Hustler (1959), with Newman reprising his role from the 1961 film adaptation. The film begins more than 25 years after the events of the previous film, with Eddie retired from the pool circuit. Although Tevis did author a screenplay for the film, adapting the storyline from his novel, the filmmakers decided not to use it, instead crafting an entirely different story under Tevis’ title.
About the Story
Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) is a former pool hustler turned successful liquor salesman. One night he meets Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise), a young, charismatic pool player and video gamer who plays small-time nine-ball games while working as a sales clerk at a toy store. Eddie, who still stakes bets for talented players like Julian (John Turturro), persuades Vincent and girlfriend/manager Carmen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) to go on the road, where he can teach Vincent how to make much more money through hustling pool.
With Eddie staking their bets, Vincent visits a series of billiard halls where Eddie tries to teach him that “pool excellence is not about excellent pool.” Although Carmen is a quick study, Vincent chafes at Eddie’s scams, which routinely require him to play well below his abilities. Eventually, Fast Eddie picks up a cue himself, and does well in several games, but is taken in by a pool shark named Amos (Forest Whitaker). Humiliated, Eddie leaves Vincent and Carmen with enough money to make it to the championships in Atlantic City.
Wearing new prescription eyeglasses, Eddie begins working out and practicing. He enters the 9-ball tournament in Atlantic City and, after several victories, finds himself facing off against a more world-wise Vincent. He beats Vincent, but later, when he is celebrating with girlfriend Janelle (Helen Shaver), Vincent arrives and informs Eddie that he intentionally lost in order to collect on a bet. He gives Eddie $8,000 as his “cut.”
During his semi-final match against Kennedy, Eddie sees his reflection in the cue ball; disgruntled, he chooses to forfeit the game. Out-hustled again, Eddie returns the money, saying that he wants to beat Vincent legitimately. The two set up a private match, where Eddie informs Vincent that if he doesn’t beat him now, he will in the future because “I’m back!”
The Color of Money (1986)
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver, John Turturro, Bill Cobbs, Alvin Anastasia, Elizabeth Bracco, Lisa Dodson
Screenplay by: Richard Price
Production Design by: Boris Leven
Cinematography by: Michael Ballhaus
Film Editing by: Thelma Schoonmaker
Costume Design by: Richard Bruno
Set Decoration by: Karen O’Hara
Music by: Robbie Robertson
Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures
Release Date: October 17, 1986