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  • Paul Newman reprised his role of Eddie Felson from "The Hustler" (1961), on all short lists of great movies, to star in "The Color of Money", a worthy sequel in the way "Rocky II" was to "Rocky" -- not a great movie, but very good.

    Eddie, advancing in years, has apparently left the hustling circuit for a more respectable job as a liquor wholesalesman. On his route, he encounters a brash, obnoxious pool shark named Vincent (Tom Cruise) and his girlfriend (Mary Mastrantonio). Vincent has the talent, but not the brains or knowledge, to be another great hustler, so Eddie, his desire for the circuit reignited, offers to stake Vincent and teach him the ropes, in exchange for a substantial piece of the winnings. At first, Vincent's ego and obnoxiousness threaten his development, but he soon learns all of Eddie's tricks -- and a few of his own. By the time of the big tournament at the end of the movie, Eddie and Vince have split ways -- and find themselves on a collision course.

    I just realized that "The Color of Money" is my favorite Tom Cruise movie, but not my favorite Paul Newman movie (which could well be "The Hustler"). I re-viewed this movie recently after a long discussion with some friends about the difference between a movie star and an actor, and the few living legends that are both (besides Newman, I'd include Jack Nicholson and Robert de Niro). As always, Newman, even with such a huge public persona, disappears into the role of the middle-aged grifter, heartbroken how far his game has fallen in the days since he left the pool hall circuit. But he also makes the other performers around him shine. Cruise's trademark cockiness shines through in Vincent. Besides Mastrantonio, one of my favorite actresses Helen Shaver turns in a nice performance as Eddie's girlfriend, and Forest Whitaker first appeared on my radar in his short time on screen.

    The other star of the movie is the game. While Scorsese didn't make his movie into the character study of "The Hustler", he uses the pool tables and balls as a medium for many artistic scenes. If you are someone who enjoys looking at beautiful movies, you won't be disappointed. And there might even be some real pool players -- you never know...

    The story is good, not great. "The Color of Money" is not cut from the same felt as "The Hustler", and does not try to be. It is a movie about pool, not a character study. I don't think I would be up to repeated viewings as frequent as "The Hustler", but it's a fine way to spend an evening watching Newman and Cruise shoot pool.
  • People misunderstood "The Color of Money," I think. There are a few things to keep in mind:

    1) This was a Martin Scorsese film. Scorsese was fresh off "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull," and other such successes from less than a decade before. People were expecting a lot.

    2) It starred Paul Newman, returning to his character from "The Hustler," in a sequel that was twenty-five years in the making. That's longer than the wait for the "Phantom Menace" prequel.

    Perhaps for those two (very strong) reasons alone, when "The Color of Money" opened in 1986, the critics and audiences didn't think much of it. It garnered decent praise from both areas but most critics seemed to agree: it didn't hold a candle to "The Hustler," and anyone other than Scorsese could have easily made the same picture.

    After 19 years, I disagree. I think "The Color of Money" is not only an intelligent and amusing character piece, but an excellent continuation of a character we haven't seen for 25 years.

    First of all, Scorsese's direction isn't his best, but it's still very good. And he's definitely got the same elements going on as "After Hours" from a few years before -- his cinematography is identical and the dark colors and grainy '80s vibe are present in every frame. Likewise he's using the quick-cuts and zooms and iconic panning shots that he's known for. The thing is, Scorsese's styles just changed a bit during the 1980s (they even carried on into "GoodFellas" -- the night-time shots carry the same foreboding look as "After Hours" and "Color of Money"). I think now, looking back, since we've seen more of Scorsese's films, it's easier to notice that this is indeed a Martin Scorsese film. A man who is constantly changing his directorial approach. (Just look at "The Aviator" for goodness sake!) Newman deserved the Oscar more for "The Hustler," of course, but for what it's worth, Fast Eddie Felson's evolution is handled with care in the script and it's very entertaining (for anyone who's seen the original) to note the change in his behavior. It's also interesting to see the new cocky pool hustler, Vince (Tom Cruise), filling in the shoes of Eddie from a few decades before.

    If "The Hustler" was a great insight into the life of a troubled young man, then "The Color of Money" is a terrific insight into the evolution of this man, and the contrast between the young and the old. All adults tell us as children that they were just like us at one time, and we don't believe them. "The Color of Money" follows this principal -- in thirty years, we all know Vince will be just like Fast Eddie: wise and matured. And then he'll probably be coaching a young guy who thinks he's the king of the world. Will they make another sequel based on this continuation of the story? I doubt it. It's unnecessary, because as far as I'm concerned "The Color of Money" has already stressed the point. But you never know...

    Overall this isn't a great movie and I won't pretend it is. But I do think it's one of the better films to come out of the 1980s and had a lot more going for it than some of the critics gave it credit for. Film buffs should see it, especially those who loved "The Hustler."
  • blanche-28 October 2007
    "Twenty five years ago, my career ended before it had even really started," Eddie Felson tells Vince, a young pool shark. No longer the cocky man he was in "The Hustler," Eddie (Paul Newman) in 1986 is retired from pool and a successful investor. When he spots hot-shot Vince (Tom Cruise), he decides to invest in him and take him on the road, with the goal of Vince winning a big pool tournament in Atlantic City. Along the way, Eddie confronts what he was and is no more and looks at the dreams he let die. When Vince is too foolish and strong-willed to take his advice, Eddie makes an important decision.

    Though not as strong a film as "The Hustler," "The Color of Money" is still an excellent film with a great cast led by Newman, at the peak of his "older man" good looks and the brilliant acting he's always had. And, as usual, he tells you everything you need to know about a character. It's clear that he was content with his life and his attractive girlfriend (Helen Shaver) until he saw Vince. Then the old restlessness and competitiveness came creeping back into his blood.

    Seeing Tom Cruise in 1986 is startling since today, the lower half of his face has changed drastically due to plastic surgery. Here he conveys the raw, youthful energy that helped make him a star. Like many successful movie actors, he has a wonderful physical agility. His pompadoured Vince is a short-tempered, jealous, talented ingrate who can't help showing off. Cruise is very effective, as is Mary Elizabeth Mastroantonio as his sultry, beautiful girlfriend in another role she made memorable in the '80s.

    Beautifully directed by Scorcese, "The Color of Money" shows that it's never too late to follow your dreams and, with the right actors and the right script, you can do a good sequel even 25 years after the original.
  • The Color of Money is a slick sequel to The Hustler where Paul Newman as a much younger man paid the price for hustling pool. Now, twenty some years later, his Fast Eddie Felson is driving around in a big fancy Cadillac selling liquor and stake-horsing younger pool players. One day, while romancing his bartender girlfriend, his young protégé (John Tuturro) gets whipped by this cocky kid named Vincent. Eddie Felson is immediately drawn to the flaky, loud-mouthed kid with the name "Vince" stenciled on his tee shirt. After some arm twisting and manipulating, Eddie, Vincent, and Vincent's streetwise girlfriend Carmen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) are making their way to Atlantic City where a 9 Ball pool tournament awaits. Along they way Eddie tries to teach them how to hustle pool. This will be a problem because of course the cocky youngster won't do as he's told. He has a gift and knows it. It is simply impossible for him to hold back and let someone beat him. Even when it could lead to a bigger payoff down the road. His girlfriend Carmen also seems to see both Vincent and Eddie as a way to make money for herself. She is clearly a woman with motives all her own. Of course this will all lead up to a climatic match in Atlantic City between the old master and the young protégé, won't it? Well, it appears to for a moment, until we learn that what we saw wasn't really what it appeared to be.

    And that's the part of the film that seemed to really irk Roger Ebert in his review. He was expecting a masterpiece of a film for no other reason than Martin Scorcese is the director. But the film isn't a masterpiece. Its simply a very good film with some great performances, great music, and some gritty and authentic-looking locations. Who is the better pool player is the last thing this film is about. This is a film about people using other people. Be it for money, inspiration, comfort, you name it. Newman plays Felson here as a gruff, seasoned man who thinks he knows everything about the game, and those who play it. He finds out as the film moves along that is not always the case. Sometimes these younger players have new tricks up their sleeves, and if you let your guard down, they will hustle even the smartest old timer. There is a classic scene where Eddie, after a few too many drinks, allows a chubby and apparently dim-witted Forest Whitaker to take him for hundreds of dollars. The film is full of scenes that end in ways you don't quite expect.

    This is one of those movies where above all else, the casting was almost perfect. Newman is as watchable as ever. Mastrantonio steals a few scenes. Cruise is annoying of course, but he was supposed to be. Still, he looks kind of weak compared to the other actors. Great support from Helen Shaver and Bill Cobbs, too. Watch closely for an appearance from music icon Iggy Pop. During a montage, Cruise hustles him and then steals a shot of booze right out of his hand! The cinematography from Michael Ballhaus is great as always. In fact its too good! Some of the camera shots just look too stylish for such a film. Maybe that was Scorcese's way of trying to liven up a picture with so little violence! Overall, The Color of Money is worth your time. 8 of 10 stars.

    The Hound
  • "The Color Of Money" continues the story of pool player/hustler 'Fast Eddie' Felson (Paul Newman). He's 25 years old, and 25 years wiser as he's spent that time watching pool hustles and schemes and selling wine after his 'early' retirement from pool playing in the original.

    But now he's got a new excitement and energy to the game, as he meets Vincent (Tom Cruise), a young, cocky but talented fresh player who's not well known around the low-level pool rooms Eddie has been frequenting. Eddie and Vincent's girlfriend, Carmen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) see Vincent as a cash cow. Indeed, everybody uses everyone, and we're never quite sure the relationship between the three. That's the beauty of it.

    Scorsese's never been more refined yet quietly flashy, dealing with a traditional 'old' Hollywood tale of a mentor and protege as small time hustlers playing each other and getting played. The film is an underrated gem, truly downplayed in Scorsese's overall filmography.

    Definitely recommended.
  • Although a lot of this plot is taken from the Richard Widmark rodeo film When the Legends Die, The Color of Money is still a worthy film and a good successor to the early Paul Newman classic, The Hustler.

    I imagine that players like Paul Newman who create classic characters like Fast Eddie Felson must be bombarded with scripts or story ideas for sequels. Paul Newman is one of the most discriminating of players and up to this point he had only reprised his role in Harper with The Drowning Pool.

    When he decided to do The Color of Money there was no need to age Newman twenty five years with makeup. Time had done a better job than any makeup man could have done. Time had also honed his acting abilities so that he could realistically recreate one of his classic characters in an older generation.

    One thing about The Color of Money is that can and does stand independently of The Hustler. You do not have to have seen the earlier film to know what's happening here. Nevertheless in that earlier film, promising new pool player Eddie Felson does not take direction from mobsters who effectively end his career before he gets it firmly on track.

    Fast forward from 1961 to 1986 and Paul Newman is now a liquor salesman who hangs around poolrooms in tank towns and dreams what might have been. A young kid with a 'sledgehammer break' gets Newman's attention and its Tom Cruise. He's got a girlfriend, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio with him and the three sort of adopt each other.

    It's a complicated relationship between all three of them and all three of them manage to convey the many ups and downs of this triangle. Newman teaches Cruise the tricks of the trade including how to tank a game occasionally to bring up the betting odds. In many ways Cruise learns too well and Newman hanging around with him makes him realize just how much he's missed because of the gangland blackball.

    Reportedly Newman and Cruise got along splendidly during the making of The Color of Money. Their joint interest in auto racing cemented a very good working relationship.

    Paul Newman was also nominated during the eighties for Absence of Malice and The Verdict which are two of my favorites with him. Unfortunately in the first he was up against Henry Fonda who had been similarly snubbed for years by the Academy and was dying during the Oscar voting. The second time Ben Kingsley portrayal of the title role in the massive blockbuster Gandhi obscured what I think is Newman's finest performance in The Verdict.

    Though the Oscar was an Oscar for lifetime of work, The Color of Money is a worthy sequel to The Hustler. Martin Scorsese got great performances out of the whole cast. And Paul Newman finally got a matching Oscar to go with the one Joanne Woodward won for The Three Faces of Eve for their mantelpiece.
  • Pool hustler Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) discovers a cocky, young pool player Vincent (Tom Cruise) in a local bar. Along with Vincent's girl Carmen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), he tries to teach the youngster all that he knows about the hustle.

    Tom Cruise overplays the cocky arrogant characters. At times, he plays him like a cartoon character. Luckily Paul Newman could bring the acting chops to this movie. When Paul's character loses to Amos (Forest Whitaker), you see a history of the man's failures. You felt his defeat emotionally. Martin Scorsese directs this. I wonder if Martin Scorsese held back a little. The violence and grittiness for which he's known for isn't all there. They're traveling the darkest and lowest pool halls, but it could have been much worst.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Color of Money ain't about pool. The Color of Money isn't about young Vincent, or his girlfriend, Carmen. And believe it or not, The Color of Money isn't even about money. The Color of Money is about Paul Newman's character, Fast Eddie Felson, and his salvation to place meaning with significance to his trying lonely life as a pool hustler. Viewers lost in the glam of hustling pool or the action of 9-ball are missing out seeing the real beauty of this film of the story told. The story and life of Fast Eddie Felson that is. And credit to Paul Newman to go along with the brilliant character of course. Newman gives his grade A+ performance, one of the best I've ever seen, from Newman, or from anybody that is. Paul Newman is beautiful. The Color of Money is one truly exceptional character piece. The Color of Money, for my money, is better than The Hustler. It's an incredible sequel. It's an incredible feature. It's one of my more loved movies, mostly for Paul Newman's performance, but also very much for Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Tom Cruise as well. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is the main co-star here, and Tom Cruise takes on third role. I love the beautiful Mary Elizabeth. She's so good. She has such true acting abilities, which is rarer to find in Hollywood than one might think. Tom Cruise is great as Vincent, one of his more well acted roles to go along with Jerry Maguire and Rain Man, which is his best. Tom Cruise has some true acting talent too, just not like Newman or Mastrantonio, only because that they are two of the very best. Cruise has more star quality though. Don't get me wrong. The kid can act. I just love Tom Cruise. The best of the magic of The Color of Money happens between Newman and Mastrantonio as they quietly share a magnetic connection. The magnificent Martin Scorsese is a master of his trade, maybe the best in the business, and The Color of Money is one other misperceived, under-appreciated Scorsese classic, to go along with Casino and Gangs of New York, as well as but to a smaller scale, Shutter Island, The Aviator, Cape Fear, Bringing Out the Dead, and Mean Streets. The Color of Money is a 9 out of 10 ranking, an outstanding mark, nothing less. I hope I spelled Mary Elizabeth's last name right every time, Mastrantonio. It would be too entirely challenging to revise such a mishap. But I know that I did. Mastrantonio, God, that's a terrific name.
  • Near excellent sequel to "The Hustler" which returns Paul Newman (finally in an Oscar-winning role) as the old wise former hustler who decides to take young jerk Tom Cruise and his hot, but shady girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in her Oscar-nominated role) on the road to take advantage of all pool table challengers. Newman's reprise of his greatest role is truly something to experience. He is at the top of his career in this one, playing a quiet and complicated role of a man who has been tortured by time, loss and missed dreams of total success. Martin Scorsese's subtle and focused direction stays on task throughout and he lets his three outstanding leads do the bulk of the work. Not quite as good as "The Hustler" due to a weaker screenplay and less suspense, but still a very memorable cinematic experience. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Fast Eddie Felson finds promising pool player Vincent in a local bar and he sees in him a younger version of himself.

    To try and make it like he did 25 years ago, Eddie offers to teach Vincent how to be a hustler. After some hesitation, Vincent accepts and Eddie takes him and Vincent's girlfriend on a tour through the country to work the pool halls.

    However, Vincent's tendency to show off his talent, warning off the players and losing money, soon leads to confrontation. with Eddie....

    The film shouldn't have worked, back when this film was made, it was a rarity to have a twenty five year old classic to have a sequel out of the blue, and be actually any good.

    But this pulls it off, and then some. Newman is wonderful as the ageing hustler, and every loss and every dollar lost, is etched on his acting and his swagger.

    Cruise gives just as good as Vincent, and at the same time, he's likable and insufferable, not the Cruise we've had since 1990.

    Scorcese pulls the viewer in and makes the most mundane situations electrifying, who else could make a bunch of old men sitting in a room smoking and drinking hitting balls this exciting.

    and the final twist, is not just brilliant, it's crushing to Eddie.

    The soundtrack is great, adding to the narrative, and all in all it's a brilliant story about coming to terms with getting old and losing certain skills, and despite the fact that it's a fun movie also, it's pretty depressing when you look at it from Eddies point of view.
  • 25 years after casting his magic in The Hustler, Paul Newman returns again as Fast Eddie Felson, and the results are almost as good as the 1961 offering. Here he is older and wiser and carrying around a cue case full of cynicism, tho no longer involved in the game of pool he has his hunger for the game and the money it makes, rekindled by a meeting with dynamite hot shot Vincent and his beautiful girlfriend Carmen.

    The story involves the three of them going on the road hustling and aiming for the big pay off that Vincent's talent can ultimately bring them, naturally it's not all sweetness and light tho.

    It's a fine film when looking at it now, and I was amazed that it didn't feel like an 80s film as such, and this is down to the cracking direction of Martin Scorsese, it may be one of his most mainstream commercial offerings but his fine work is there for all to see. The camera glides around as if on air to create joyous results, shots that put the pool action right into the conscious of the viewer, it's a great effort. The film is further boosted by two wonderful performances from the leading men, Newman deserved his Oscar for putting such verve and honesty into the now grizzled Felson, there is a scene with Forest Whitaker that is Newman gold without him hardly having to say anything . Then there is Cruise, all big hair and a ball of adrenaline, a great ebullient show that is great fun to watch. I read somewhere that Newman praised Cruise for capturing the essence of a young Eddie Felson, well you can't say fairer than that. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio more than holds her own with the boys and fleshes out a smart and entertaining film that seems to get better with age, just like Felson funnily enough.

    Oh he's back alright, 9/10.
  • The Color of Money (1986)

    The reputation of this films rides partly on its director, a mainstream Martin Scorsese, and on the previous film it bounces off of (and makes vague reference to), The Hustler. Key to both films is the astonishing Paul Newman, who holds his end of the stick and then some. The rest of the cast is purely in canned and competent support roles, or in semi-star roles by two young actors with some screen presence but no great subtle skill to match Newman's.

    I'm speaking not only of Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio, who is forced to play the slightly tough, slightly sexy, generally submissive girlfriend, but also of Tom Cruise, who is brilliant at being "flakey" partly because he is in real life, from all accounts. You give Scorsese credit here for using the young actor in a role that matches his natural persona, in contrast to others, including Spielberg, who seem to make more of the actor than there is, and a certain falseness gets in the way. But this film uses the awkwardness and naive, boyish qualities of Cruise as a sudden pool shark really well.

    What holds it all back? I think basically plot. I mean, it's fun to see the big hustle at play, and to get stung once or twice when things aren't what they seem. But we sort of know going in that that's the general plan, and then it happens. And it takes a long time happening...there are no (no) complications here, beyond pool and hustling. The romances, for what they are worth, a completely thin, and didn't have to be. The settings, all these great (great) poolhalls and small town joints are terrific, populated a little too perfectly by locals of all different stripes. The camera-work makes some fairly cinema verite footage make sense in the scenes, but not with either edge or lyricism.

    This all sounds a little like I'm working hard to point out the flaws, and I must go back to where I started about Newman, and the basic strength of the aging pool player facing a change in his personal scenery. It's a canned affair overall. Well done, sure, but without the richness of the best of Scorsese's work, or the best of Hollywood, for that matter, including the preceding The Hustler, which you might see in a pairing with this one.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Never have I seen a Character on film , which is so cool . Paul Newman really nails it , he is thoughtful , patient , balanced and knows how to play games . His character is like a father figure , a man in his 50's but still good looking and active in life , although his experience in life makes him ease down a bit in life . As I am 31 , I like the idea that you can lay back , look at things , be in control of your life , and Newman's character seems to have that control , unlike his opponent friend to whom he is a mentor , the character played by Tom Cruise ; Young , rebellious , fearless and out of control . And to think that all they really do and talk about is playing 8ball or what you call it , is quite amazing , because the film never bores . The camera movements are beautifully composed , the music is pitch perfect and intense , the colors are Blue and green like very typical of Scorcese and at times the spark of red of the 8ball . Sympathetic little movie , and very touching .
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's been a while now since I saw "The Hustler", but my memory suggests that it was substantially more grim and gritty than this much later sequel, if one could even call it that. That might owe to the earlier film's black and white photography adding a noirish feel to the smoke filled pool parlors and lounges where the young Eddie Felson used to ply his trade. With "The Color of Money", I couldn't get quite comfortable with where the picture was going or if we would ever get there. The basic plot is understood, the now older Eddie (Paul Newman) would take upstart newcomer Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise) under his wing, teach him how to read his opponents, stake him in his matches, and collect his share of the winnings. I never really got the sense though that Vincent was ever really along for that ride, since he almost never took Eddie's advice, allowing his ego to constantly get in the way of their shared goal.

    What I got the biggest kick out of had to do with the musical lyrics set to various confrontations Vincent dealt with on the circuit. Eddie's warning about Moselle was comically echoed by Warren Zevon's line - 'You better stay away from him, He'll rip your lungs out Jim' - that was great. Later, as Grady Seasons runs the table, Vincent has to consider - 'Are you gonna fall for this'?

    The other noteworthy moment watching the film today had to do with Paul Newman's character talking to Vincent early in the story, and explaining how he would teach him how to hustle. The discussion might have just as well turned on Newman giving pointers to Cruise on how to act at this early point in his career. That's not meant to be a put down, but you can definitely see the difference between the actor Cruise of today compared to two decades earlier. Just an observation.

    I suppose my qualms about the picture have to do with it's pacing in the latter half, when the focus is on Fast Eddie's decision to compete again. There's that swimming pool dive that comes from nowhere, and the attendant visit to the optometrist when he realizes his sight is impaired. That just seemed to break the flow of the story enough to give it a disjointed feel. Later, Eddie's victory over Vincent in the tournament seemed tainted, and then of course, that's revealed to be true. I guess I was looking for the picture to end on some kind of message shedding light on the underlying decency of the principal players, but instead it looked like they both wound up behind an eight ball.
  • From the first part, this counterpart actually grips me more and takes me to a better understanding than the proceeding. I am not a Tom Cruise Fan, and I guess Paul did make it a lot better than a 'Tom movie', thank God. But This aging 'dinosaur', who is making a comeback on the pool-circuit has a new hotshot, in the picture, (that being Tom of course) that is great, but green as anything. Being and acting on the mind that he (Fellson) has...he pursues an idea to take and mentor this 'grandstander' who already has a lot of talent. If he can teach him. The jury isn't out yet on that one though. But I was in awe of this movie even before I took an interest in writing. The images of Newman, are so powerful to me, taking a hold of my mind with an encapsulating effectiveness. As I took new interest in a story that would have otherwise board me, I saw a man attempting to hold onto his own life in the process. He, a business man and a hustler, a sensitive lover and still a player, but faithful to all, how rare.

    There was this since of him being strong and a fighter and yet at a moment in weakness, but also reflective wiseness, that came through. He was attempting to not lose his handle on a large piece of his life. A passion, and a honed Career-hobby all in one.

    He loved his work, and struggled to reach a young upstart, named Vincent a rousing hot-head, with a propensity for blowing it, because of needed ego-strokes. A hard head with ability, but in need of mentoring to save him from himself. 'The Color of money' for me is a man trying not to lose himself in a vastly enveloping world. He is trying to stay alive. He's attempting to keep his life 'in play'. So that he doesn't die a career and identity 'self esteem' death on the side. The 'Color of Money' is a seminal work. It's brilliant and pleasing with a sense of accomplishment. If you haven't seen this one, find the DVD.

    I rate it a 10 for excellence.(****)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Absolutely perfect film. From the opening sequence of Eddie hustling the liquor on the barmaid to the last line of dialogue, "I'm back!", this movie kicks @ss. Cruise seems to be playing himself as the cocky pool whiz and Newman could not have done a better job bringing the old school retired hustler "Fast Eddie" Felson back to the pool hall. Scorcese succinctly tells the tale of the hustler getting sucked back into the game, whether he likes it or not. Amazing pool shots made by great players makes you realize just how good the best of the best truly are. If after watching this movie you don't go to the local pool hall for a beer and saunter around the table humming "Werewolves of London", you just don't get it. Also have to note the unforgettable line uttered by Forrest Whitaker after embarrassingly beating the hustler at his own game; "Hey Eddie, can i ask you a question? Do you think i need to lose some weight?" Priceless. Four huge stars.
  • Martin Scorsese directed this sequel to "The Hustler", set 25 years later. Paul Newman returns as 'Fast' Eddie Felson, long retired from pool playing, and now a successful liquor salesman. One day in a bar, he notices Vincent Lauria(played by Tom Cruise) who has undeniable talent as a pool player but is far too overconfident, scaring away potential marks as a result. Vincent reminds Eddie of himself, so agrees to manage him, as long as he accepts his coaching without argument. Vincent also has a loyal girlfriend called Carmen(played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) who reminds Eddie of his doomed romance with Sarah... Events will collide in the big pool tournament at the end. Paul Newman won a long overdue Academy Award for his performance, which is the best thing about this misfired sequel, which is good-looking but oddly unsatisfying, especially the ending. Lacks the stark style and memorable supporting characters of the first.
  • Older, wiser ex-pool hustler Paul Newman (as "Fast" Eddie Felson) spots younger, dumber pool playing fanatic Tom Cruise (as Vincet Lauria). Mr. Newman sees in Mr. Cruise the same ability he once possessed. Newman thinks, however, Cruise is a "flake". He decides to teach Cruise the tricks of the pool-hustling trade, make lots of money, and bring him to the BIG pool playing tournament in Atlantic City. BUT, the ex-champ and protégée have problems, and split up. Newman gets a new pair of eyeglasses, and decides to re-enter the game. Who do you think he meets during the ending tournament?

    Most obvious strength is Newman's excellent portrayal; the entire film rests on his characterization, and his expertly delivers the goods. Newman either inspires, or allows everyone else to shine on their own; at least, that's what comes across on screen. Newman is a marvelous actor. Cruise wisely plays his part not as a younger version of Paul Newman, but as a unique, naive character, with similar pool table expertise. May Elizabeth Mastrantonio (as Carmen) has a choice role as Cruise's accompanying girlfriend. Watch for a great scene wherein Newman shows he understands women as well as he does pool.

    The movie doesn't seem very realistic, after the three get going. The barrooms and pool halls are surprisingly smoke-free. Perhaps, director Martin Scorsese was portending a "smoking ban". The soundtrack music is too good, in most instances; sadly, there are no cheap jukeboxes playing awful oldies. Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" is an exception; it is a good song, and is used very well in the film. No balls jump off the table (or anywhere); it's a tight, professional picture. And, Martin Scorsese, Paul Newman, and Tom Cruise are certainly an irresistible box office hustle.

    ******* The Color of Money (1986) Martin Scorsese ~ Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, May Elizabeth Mastrantonio
  • Scorsese's 80s film about an oldtime pool player (Newman) who helps train a new youngster (Cruise) but later decides that he may have one more run left in him. The film is done well by Scorsese, but does not measure up to his best work, though its still better than most films out there, and probably did a lot to influence the recent Shooting Gallery, which was a pretty good film about pool as well, though a young Tom cruise played the role of the hotshot pool player much better than Freddie Prinze Jr. Anyhow, back to this film, Scorsese's dark style suited it well and Newman's performance is vintage. a definite must-see for a fan of scorsese, cruise, newman or pool. --- IMDb Rating: 6.7, my rating: 9/10
  • Maybe you once spent some time in Hollywood? Maybe you did not? On this next point you should trust your friendly reviewer. The values are different. The goals are different. The yardstick for measuring success is different. As always, other IMDb reviewers have covered the story and highlighted some of the most interesting moments. But what is missing from those reviews is how anxiously the "boys" were looking forward to seeing how this experiment panned out. For some of us the "pot of gold" at the end of the rainbow is money. For others fame. For the mavens in Tinseltown, it was getting a definitive answer to one of the most elusive mysteries in the biz -- can an actor well past his prime "revisit" one of his greatest roles (actually one of the greatest performances ever set to celluloid, period) after a lay-off of 25 years, and still deliver the goods? Recall (assuming you are a fight fan) that Ali could never, even after just a few years on the sidelines, bring back the speed and the snap he had BEFORE he was suspended. Frankly, you have to give Newman credit for even attempting to bring Fast Eddie back to life. Did he succeed? If you are looking for a definitive answer from me, I don't have one. I will say that the attempt, while on the one hand heroic, was at the very same time a serious cautionary tale for any actor thinking of trying the same stunt. The tone and direction were different. And the financial guys, the suits, did what they always do in this sort of situation, they threw in a younger guy as "insurance" to make sure the film didn't flop while waiting for the geriatrics to show up on the wheelchair ramp. (They needn't have bothered, this is possibly Tom Cruise's worst performance next to FAR AND AWAY and completely forgettable). If you are a film fan, and you have seen HUSTLER, oh, maybe six or twenty times, then you owe it to yourself to check our this longshot. Otherwise, give it a pass.
  • neilmac23 October 2008
    Not a good movie. In the book, Fast Eddie gets Minnesota Fats to coach him in making his comeback. The Tom Cruise character did not exist (and was completely unnecessary). Jackie Gleason was still alive when they made this, but may have been too old to reprise his role as Fats.

    The main problem is that Newman and Cruise do not connect. Cruise's acting is false and over-the-top and his character is just not credible. The pool sequences are well done but it is a lack-lustre movie overall.

    While Paul Newman is good in the role, it is not an Oscar-worthy performance. The Academy must simply have decided that it was Newman's turn to get an Oscar.

    So why did The Hustler work where this sequel does not? For a start, The Hustler had a much better screenplay, including some great quotable lines. But where The Hustler excelled was in the acting: The support cast of Myron McCormick, Piper Laurie, George C Scott and Jackie Gleason were first rate - with understated and totally believable performances...
  • The teacher is has-been pool shark Eddie Felson (Paul Newman). The student is Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise), a cocky, overconfident kid who knows how to beat opponents but whose swaggering attitude gets in the way of being taken seriously by professional pool players. At face value, "The Color Of Money" is a character driven story of Felson's efforts to teach young Vincent the importance of psychology and subtlety, en route to the big-time pool tournaments in Atlantic City. At a slightly deeper level, the film is the story of how Felson, with his own personal agenda, uses Vincent as a means to an end.

    For pool players the film offers lots of terrific pool playing. For everyone else, the story can seem dull and claustrophobic. Most of the film is set indoors, in dark pool halls. Except at the very beginning, there's a curious absence of cigarette smoke in these places, perhaps an oversight in production design. Camera "takes" are rather long at the film's beginning. And that gets the movie off to a slow start.

    Pool playing is not real conducive to great cinema, as it is not particularly visual. Director Scorsese does his best to make the visuals interesting, through quick editing and camera dissolves, especially in the film's second half. And there's plenty of story conflict between Eddie and Vincent, even though one wonders how Vincent can be so mentally ... dense. Perhaps his "attitude" is more a character contrivance, to add interest to the relationship between him and Felson.

    Despite wearing too much makeup, Paul Newman gives a fine performance. By contrast, Tom Cruise, with his big pompadour hairdo, is simply annoying. He struts his stuff, huffs and puffs on cue (pardon the pun), but otherwise lacks any sense of subtlety or refinement in emotional expression. I will credit both Newman and Cruise with skill in playing pool, as they made many of the shots themselves.

    Overall, Newman's name and the story's connection to "The Hustler" (1961) are what carry this film. "The Color Of Money" is a rather dull, slightly depressing movie that's not nearly as good as the 1961 original, but one that will nevertheless appeal both to fans of Newman and to viewers who enjoy the game of pool.
  • 25 years after throwing in the cue Fast Eddie Nelson (invariably played by Paul Newman) he now owns a pool hall and spends his time with some minor hustling. Until he comes across a guileless, but prodigally talented youngster with incessant bad hair days called Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise), who with ease and mirth dispatches the best pool player in his establishment. Enticed by the hapless youth Eddie soon ventures to take him and his girlfriend-manager Carmen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) on the road to throw them into the world of pool hustling and then to finally bring them to the Atlantic City to compete on the big stage...

    Paul Newman easily dominates proceedings with his restrained gentlemen charm residing somewhere on the verge of skewed morality - a place of pool cons made hard-earned money and just reward (fuly deserved Oscar winning role). Opposing him Cruise delivers a rather bland outing, in part due to attention subconsciously shifted north of his forehead to his 'dead beaver' hair-do. Thankfully however Cruise's character is essentially a counterpoint to Eddie - initially an uncouth naive jester under tutelage evolves into a self-conscience and money-orientated player, much in the mold of the hustler himself. Roles however change when Eddie rediscovers the joys of simply playing pool undercut by being hustled himself by a random Joe. As Vincent immerses further into the life, Eddie rediscover the pure joy of playing and enters the Atlantic City competition, thus basically completing a full circle (Vincent now the king of the world Eddie once was, whilst Eddie mature has now grown to appreciate the little things).

    The story itself tries to indulge the viewer, but watching balls being struck rarely builds enthusiasm, whilst the moral ambiguity of proceedings shadows the film in both greyness as well as dullness. Though Eddie especially is vividly evoked, "The Colour of Money" drags along with an unflinching incapability to make thunderbolting racks into a thrilling watching experience, instead drenched in smoke, lethargy and morose build-up (not helped by dim grainy cinematography). As stated in the movie the 9-shot is essentially nonstrategic, based on luck, noisy, quick and essentially crass, making the whole experience feel like nonsubstantial style.Coupled with bumbling chemistry between the two leads and some drunkenly built dramaturgy pieces fail to emotionally fall into place (in some part owed to the self-evident premise, which makes proceedings overly predictable. Despite Newman's best efforts overall the limping dramatic side and marginally interesting subject matter cause Scorsese to fail to lift off the ground.
  • mmallon424 October 2017
    I've never been more aroused by a film's editing and cinematography than that featured in The Color of Money, a film which I ultimately enjoyed more than it's predecessor The Hustler. It just so happens I first watched The Color of Money during my time as a film student and attempted to replicate many of the film's shots and edits for a music video (and an intentionally 80's music video at that) as I studied the cuts present in the film frame by frame. Needless to say, I was not entirely successful in my endeavour.

    The Color of Money has the fast pace and rhythm of MTV music videos but still with a sense of old-school class and sophistication; right from the opening credits, I can tell this would be a movie dripping in atmosphere. A movie so snappy, fast-paced and full of quick edits, many of which come unexpectedly along with many unconventional camera movements yet it never feels disorientating or distracting as the scenes glide with such fluidity and ease. The cinematography on display here isn't that of a David Lean production, no this is a movie which largely takes place in bars and pool halls yet it still has a sense of majesty and scope even if the shot in question is a close up of a drinking glass. Really the only edit I can fault is the very cheesy freeze frame of Paul Newman jumping out of a swimming pool. On the other hand, nobody uses licensed soundtracks better than Martin Scorsese. I get the impression scenes in the film were shot with the music in mind and not as an afterthought. With the opening scene, it feels like Phil Collins' One More Night was specifically composed to fit the mood and tone of the scene.

    The Color of Money however is not style over substance. I love the intriguing character triangle of a trio of hustlers as well as the harmony of two generations coming together. Tom Cruise is an actor I only like in certain parts but in roles such as Vincent, a cocky, male fantasy indulging character who embodies the entrepreneurial and capitalistic spirit of the 1980's (like his character in Risky Business), I simply revel in - as Eddie puts it "a natural character". Just as impressive are pool shots done by Cruise himself (he performed all but one of his own trick shots); makes me energised to play some pool myself.
  • I understand why Martin Scorsese directed The Color of Money. I just wish this small-time genre picture had been made at a little higher quality. After an attempt to film The Last Temptation of Christ in 1983 failed, Scorsese turned to smaller pictures made at lower budgets in order to get clout with studios. In 1985, he released After Hours, a strange, weirdly entertaining film of one man's wild and crazy night in Soho, New York. The Color of Money couldn't be more different in tone or style, yet it isn't able to conjure up the same energy or driving force After Hours did.

    What does work in The Color of Money is the acting. Paul Newman, a legend of the silver screen, reprises his role as "Fast Eddie" Felson who is now 25 years older and comes across a young pool player that revives the competitive spirit in him. The player is Vincent, an extremely cocky and self-aware young man with a gorgeous yet somewhat detached girlfriend, Carmen. Tom Cruise is perfectly cast as Vincent, able to capture every amount of arrogance and superiority a young, successful player would have. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is wonderful as well; beautiful, mysterious and with a subtle underside to her character that gives her more of an edge than the main characters.

    This, in turn, becomes one of the main problems of the film. What the screenplay lacks is an intriguing setup between Newman and Cruise. Here we have two bonafide stars of the screen, yet it becomes rather obvious what is going to happen in nearly every single scene between them. The generation gap as well as the differing personalities creates such a predictable conflict that the film loses much of its suspense and edge. Another problem is the flashy photography and editing tricks Scorsese utilizes in the pool scenes. More often than not, it probably would have been more effective to simply shoot it straight instead of trying to dress it up with so many effects and techniques. I understand why Scorsese did it this way, to draw in the large audiences to maintain his status. In the end, however, the final result doesn't add up to much of a great entertainment. With all this talent on display, it leaves something to be desired.
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