Paul Newman gives an incredible performance here and Robert Rossen did to the game of pool with this film what he did to boxing in Body and Soul. A true masterpiece that features a very badass Jackie Gleason.
A good movie to show students who want to learn editing principles. When the actual action on the table gets more important, the movie cuts in closer and quicker to the players' faces, not the balls or cues -- the game is in the mind. The movie quickens and slows its pace perfectly with Eddie's mindset. --PolarisDiB
Every time I watch it, I think that I am going to like it more than I actually do. Don't get me wrong, it's a solid 4/5 stars, but early on I keep thinking it is finally going to click as an all-time classic. It hasn't yet, but I suppose that could still change.
Essential. An excellent, performance driven piece and a career high for Newman. The script is near perfect, whilst the overall screenplay focuses not solely on the game of pool but on the way it holds it's player's psychology to ransom. Rossen's direction and Dede Allen's editing combine to create a seedy, uncompromising vision of pool hustling where respect is gained but success is void.