Jackie Gleason was in reality a very good pool player and did many of his own shots in the film.
Piper Laurie didn't make another film for the next 15 years, devoting the time to her marriage and raising her only daughter. She returned to the screen in 1976 in 'Brian de Palma''s Carrie, earning her second Oscar nomination.
William Duell's film debut.
Cliff Robertson lost the role that went to Paul Newman, Jack Lemmon having already declined the part.
Frank Sinatra optioned the novel at one point.
Paul Newman had never held a pool cue before he landed the role of Fast Eddie Felson. He took out the dining room table from his home and installed a pool table so he could spend every waking hour practicing and polishing up his skills.
Kim Novak told Larry King on his television show that she turned down the role of Sarah Packard eventually played by Piper Laurie.
The Hustler while nominated for many awards, lost all the major ones and the main competition at the Oscars were the films Judgment at Nuremberg and West Side Story . In the scene when Eddie takes Sara out to a restaurant just before the Louisville trip, Sara has a line "I feel pretty" which, of course was the title to a major song in West Side Story.
Although Jackie Gleason is billed second, he only appears in the film for about 20 minutes.
An aficionado of acting, George C. Scott told interviewer Lawrence Grobel in his December 1980 "Playboy" magazine interview that his The Hustler co-star Paul Newman's performance in that film was nothing special (both actors were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances). However, he found Newman's performance as the eponymous Hud to be a superb piece of acting.
Boxer Jake LaMotta appears as as one of the many bartenders in the film. His one line is "Check," and he says it three times.
Director Robert Rossen was a pool hustler himself in his youth. He had even penned an unsuccessful pool-themed play called 'Corner Pocket'.
During the filming, one of the production days happened to fall on St. Patrick's Day. Prior to Jackie Gleason's arrival to the shoot at the pool hall, the lighting crew took out all the clear gels, and replaced them with green ones. Upon seeing this, Gleason was so impressed he said, "Boys! This looks beautiful! Take the rest of the day off!". He left, and production was shut down for that day!
Fast Eddie is from Oakland, California.
Filmed over six weeks entirely on location in New York City.
In the first big game, Eddie uses massé to change the cue ball direction and pocket two balls on a single shot. In the final game of the movie, he does it again. This is actually the same shot filmed from different angles. Although the shot is impressive, it is very risky and would give Eddie no discernible advantage.
Initially Paul Newman turned down the part of Fast Eddie Felson, as he was unavailable, having committed to star alongside Elizabeth Taylor in the film version of "Two for the Seesaw". Robert Rossen then offered the part to Bobby Darin. However, shooting overruns on Taylor's Cleopatra meant that she had to drop out of "Seesaw". Newman was then offered the part of Felson again; he accepted it after reading only half of the script. Nobody thought to tell Bobby Darin though, who found out from a member of public at a charity horse race.
One of the first mainstream Hollywood films to use the word "bastard".
Prior to the premiere, Richard Burton hosted a midnight screening for the casts of various Broadway shows. This generated a lot of positive word of mouth, forcing 20th Century Fox - who hadn't been actively promoting the film - to step up their promotional activities.
Ranked #6 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Sports" in June 2008.