The Color of Money: Wikis


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The Color of Money

The Color of Money US movie poster
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced by Irving Axelrad
Barbara De Fina
Dodie Foster
Written by Novel:
Walter Tevis
Richard Price
Starring Paul Newman
Tom Cruise
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Helen Shaver
Forest Whitaker
John Turturro
Music by Robbie Robertson
Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Editing by Thelma Schoonmaker
Distributed by Touchstone Pictures
Release date(s) United States October 17, 1986
Running time 119 min.
Language English
Budget US$10,000,000
Preceded by The Hustler (1961)

The Color of Money is a 1984 novel by American writer Walter Tevis, and a 1986 film semi-adaptation by the same title, continuing the story of pool hustler and stakehorse Edward "Fast Eddie" Felson, with Paul Newman reprising his role from the The Hustler (1959) and its film adaptation (1961). The sequel novel and film share as their premise the continuation of Felson's story at a point more than 20 years after the events depicted in The Hustler, and with Eddie not having been active on the pool circuit during that time. But aside from this and the title, they have little in common. Although Tevis did produce a screenplay for The Color of Money that was based on his novel, the filmmakers ultimately decided not to use Tevis's story at all, and instead crafted an entirely different one for the movie,[1][2] one with a large number of plot-point similarities to the earlier 1980 pool comedy, The Baltimore Bullet.

The title is a reference to the traditional green cloth (or baize) of a pool table being reminiscent of American currency notes.

In addition to Newman, the film also stars Tom Cruise as Fast Eddie's protege and rival Vincent Lauria, plus Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver and John Turturro. The screenplay was written by Richard Price, and the film was directed by Martin Scorsese, featuring an original score by Robbie Robertson.



In the book version of the sequel, Felson is no longer a professional pool player, but now owns a pool hall. He takes up a cue again to go on tour versus Minnesota Fats -- the fictional character from The Hustler, not the real-life Rudolph "Minnesota Fats" Wanderone -- for a cable TV sports show. Eddie finds he must cope with becoming skilled at the now-prevalent game of nine-ball, as opposed to straight pool, which he had mastered decades earlier. While losing to Fats, he regains some of his lost competitiveness and pride.

In the film version, Felson is a liquor salesman. He misses the action and goes back on the road as a stakehorse for a skilled but unfocused protégé, Vincent, travelling with the latter's manipulative girlfriend, Carmen. Eddie teaches them how to hustle significant amounts of money. But he also becomes increasingly frustrated with them and with himself, until an explosive falling-out results in a parting of the ways.

Eddie resumes competitive play himself, first hustling on "the road" and later in the professional tournament circuit, eventually coming head-to-head across the table with the now-successful (and far more treacherous) Vincent. Eddie wins their match, only to find out that Vincent lost deliberately, having had money riding against himself. Vincent gives Eddie $8,000 as a cut from the bet. Eddie procedes to forfeit his next match and give the money back to Vincent. He requests a private rematch, but states that if he doesn't beat Vincent now, he will in the future because, after all, "I'm back."

Subplots involve antagonism with a cocaine-abusing pool hustler named Julian; an up-and-down romance Eddie is having with a bar owner, Janelle, and sexual tension between Carmen and Eddie. Only minor references are made to the original movie (a returned character, Eddie's nickname, his formerly being shut out of the pool-hustling sphere, his preferred brand of whiskey, J.T.S. Brown, etc.), and Fats is not mentioned in the story.

Film production notes

Director Scorsese has a cameo walking his dog, and another playing pool.[3] Newman said that the best advice he was given by Scorsese was to "try not to be funny".[3] Cruise performed most of his own shots. An exception was a jump shot over two balls to sink another. Scorsese believed Cruise could learn the shot, but that it would take too long, so the shot was performed for him by Mike Sigel.[3] The "Balabushka" cue in the movie was actually a Joss J-18, which later became the Joss N-07[4] (not a Meucci as many believe), made to resemble a classic Balabushka.

Many top American pool players of the 1980s had speaking roles, including Steve Mizerak, Grady Mathews, and Keith McCready, and there were many cameos, including Jimmy Mataya, Howard Vickery, Mark Jarvis and Louie Roberts. Mike Sigel was technical director, and he and Ewa Mataya Laurance served as technical consultants and shot-performers on the film.

Another notable cameo is that of Iggy Pop, who plays one of the many contenders on the road. A young Forest Whitaker makes an extended appearance as a pool hustler as well.[5][3]

Noticeably absent from The Color of Money is the Minnesota Fats character, which had been so memorably portrayed by Jackie Gleason in The Hustler. Newman later said that he had wanted the character to appear, but that none of the attempts to include him fit well into the story that was being written. According to Scorsese, Gleason apparently agreed with Newman's opinion that Minnesota Fats was adventitious to the film's story. Scorsese said that Gleason was presented a draft of the script that had Fats worked into it, but that Gleason declined the offer because he felt that the character seemed to have been added as "an afterthought".[2][6]


The movie unexpectedly influenced John Carmack of id Software, who was one of the authors of the computer game Doom. Carmack has stated that the title of the game was inspired by Vincent's response when asked what he carried in his cue-case: "Doom."[7]

Film opening

Reflecting the general theme of the film, director Martin Scorsese delivers an opening uncredited voiceover, describing the game of nine-ball, over a scene of cigarette smoke and a piece of cue chalk:

Nine-Ball is rotation pool, the balls are pocketed in numbered order. The only ball that means anything, that wins it, is the 9. Now, the player can shoot eight trick shots in a row, blow the 9, and lose. On the other hand, the player can get the 9 in on the break, if the balls spread right, and win. Which is to say, that luck plays a part in nine-ball. But for some players, luck itself is an art.

Awards and critical reception

Paul Newman won Academy Award for Best Actor as well as National Board of Review Award for Best Actor, and received Golden Globe nomination for his role. 25 years prior to this, Newman was also nominated for Academy Award for Best Actor and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Drama for the same role, but won only BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio was nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture. The film was nominated for Academy Award for Best Art Direction and Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.[8]

The movie positively influenced the popularity of pool. [9] It currently holds a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes,[10] based on 34 reviews, though many critics noted that the film was an inferior followup to The Hustler. Siskel and Ebert gave the film "two thumbs down," Scorsese's only film to receive such a review from the team. [11]


The soundtrack to the motion picture was released by MCA Records in 1986.

Track listing

  1. "Who Owns This Place?" - Don Henley
  2. "It's In The Way That You Use It" - Eric Clapton
  3. "Let Yourself In For It" - Robert Palmer
  4. "Don't Tell Me Nothin'" - Willie Dixon
  5. "Two Brothers And A Stranger" - Mark Knopfler
  6. "Standing On The Edge Of Love" - B.B. King
  7. "Modern Blues" - Robbie Robertson
  8. "Werewolves Of London" - Warren Zevon
  9. "My Baby's In Love With Another Guy" - Robert Palmer
  10. "The Main Title" - Robbie Robertson


  • Available editions of the book include: ISBN 0-446323-53-5 (1984, first edition), ISBN 0-44634-419-2 (1986, movie tie-in edition), ISBN 0-349101-50-7 (1990), ISBN 1-568496-89-3 (1997), and ISBN 1-560254-85-8 (2003).
  1. ^ LoBrutto, Vincent. Martin Scorsese: A Biography (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, November 30, 2007) ISBN 978-0275987053
  2. ^ a b Forsberg, Myra. (1986, October 19). "'The Color of Money': Three Men and a Sequel", The New York Times
  3. ^ a b c d "Trivia for The Color of Money", IMDb, accessed January 30, 2006
  4. ^ Commercial information about the Joss N7 model pool cue, which stood in for a Balabushka in the film
  5. ^ "Full Cast and Crew for The Color of Money", IMDb, accessed January 30, 2006
  6. ^ Levy, Shawn. Paul Newman: A Life, (New York: Harmony Books, May 5, 2009) ISBN 978-0307353757
  7. ^ Doomworld. "Interview with John Carmack". Retrieved November 15 2005.  
  8. ^ "Awards for The Color of Money", IMDb, accessed January 30, 2006
  9. ^ "Most Significant Event: The Color of Money (1986)", Billiards Digest, October 2003, page 72
  10. ^
  11. ^ Ebert and Roeper at the movies

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Color of Money is a 1986 film about an up-and-coming pool player who goes on the road with a veteran pool hustler.

Directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by Richard Price, based on the novel by Walter Tevis.
The hustler isn't what he used to be, but he has the next best thing: a kid who is.


Fast Eddie Felson

  • Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.
  • [To Vincent] Vincent, get in the car, this is embarrassing. You're acting like some girl who got felt up at the drive-in.
  • [To Carmen] I'm not your daddy, I'm not your boyfriend, so don't be playing games with me. I'm your partner.
  • [To Vincent] You gotta have two things to win. You gotta have brains and you gotta have balls. Now, you got too much of one and not enough of the other.
  • [To Vincent] Walking into a crowded pool room, Fast Eddie Felson says, "Do you smell that?" Vincent replies, "Smoke"? Carmen replies to that, "No, Money."

Vincent Lauria

  • I think maybe the money's what's throwing you off here today.
  • [To Grady Seasons] Hey, Grady, up your ass with the spot. Is that okay with you?


  • [To Vincent] You win one more game, you're gonna be humping your fist for a long time. Got that, Vincent?

Grady Seasons

  • [To Vincent] It's like a nightmare, isn't it? It just keeps getting worse and worse.


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