1 EXT. SMALL TOWN MAIN STREET - AFTERNOON
An old Packard coupé pulls up to a roadside gas pump. Two men get out
and stretch their legs. The older man, Charlie Burns, a balding,
desiccated man in his mid-forties, shambles toward the bar across the
street. Eddie Felson remains behind to speak to the attendant.
I think I got a little grease in this lining
Oh yeah. Well, it will take me about thirty
minutes to check it. You want me to fill her up
Yeah. You better check the oil too.
Eddie leaves the car parked at the gas station and heads for the bar.
2 INT. ARMSTEAD'S BAR - AFTERNOON
Armstead's is a typical small town pool hall. It has a bar, a short
order counter, a skee-ball machine, and pool tables for small, friendly
games. The few people in Armstead's this day are not playing; they sit
and read the papers. Charlie and Eddie are at the bar, drinking
Boys just passing through?
Comin' in or goin' out?
Goin' in. We got a sales convention. Gotta be
What do you guys sell?
Druggist supplies. Buster here is gonna get an
(Eddie scoffs, as if embarrassed)
No, he sold seventeen thousand bucks' worth of
stuff last month. Fastest boy in the territory.
Yep. Fastest and the bestest ... Hey, give us
another round, will ya? One for him, one
Thanks. Sure is a hot day for driving. Late
afternoon is better. You guys have plenty of
time. Make Pittsburgh in two, maybe three
Hey, he's right!
(eyes the unused pool table)
Whaddya say, Charlie, huh? Play a little pool?
Wait out the heat?
It's gonna cost ya money. It always does.
Oh, come on, stop stalling. Grab yourself a
Charlie rises from his barstool.
(to the bartender)
Good thing he can afford it.
Eddie is already at the table.
(to the bartender)
Keep 'em coming, will ya, friend? J. T. S.
Charlie joins Eddie.
3 INT. ARMSTEAD'S BAR - TIME LAPSE
The game is in mid-progress. It's Eddie's shot. He downs his bourbon,
weaves a bit, bends over the table, and awkwardly pokes at the white
cue ball with his stick, missing an easy shot. Several more townspeople
have come in from the street and are following the play. The bartender
refills the glasses as soon as they are emptied.
You miss again, you lose again.
(at the bar)
What's the kid in hock for so far?
About sixty, seventy bucks.
(racking the balls, to Charlie)
Next game, ten bucks.
(to the bartender)
Nice lookin' boy. Clean-cut. Too bad he can't
hold his liquor.
4 INT. ARMSTEAD'S BAR - TIME LAPSE
Two balls lay side by side on the table. Eddie peers at them, trying to
figure his shot, blinking his eyes to focus better. Some of the
onlookers seem skeptical. But Eddie pats the corner pocket confidently,
leans over, and raps out his shot. The ball banks in.
I made it, boy! I finally made it! C'mon, pay
up. Pay up, sucker.
He pounds his pal Charlie on the shoulder and collapses into a nearby
You ought to take up crap shooting. Talk about
Luck! Whaddya mean, luck?
You know what I mean. You couldn't make that
shot again in a million years.
I couldn't, huh? Okay. Go ahead. Set 'em up
the way they were before.
Go ahead. Set 'em up the way they were before.
Bet ya twenty bucks. Make that shot just the
way I made it before.
Nobody can make that shot and you know it. Not
even a lucky lush.
Stung, Eddie lies across the table and sets them up himself.
(to the bystanders)
Hm? Is that the way they were before?
Yeah, that's right.
C'mon, put it up.
They toss their money on the table, and Eddie shoots, but his shot is
too hard and his ball leaps over the side of the table. The bartender
cannot contain his staccato laughter.
Set 'em up again ... C'mon, set 'em up again.
(putting up his cue)
You're drunk, boy. I'm not gonna bet ya any
Let's get back on the road. You gotta be at
that convention in the morning.
Up the flagpole with the convention. C'mon,
Charlie. You're into me now. I got my money on
I don't want it.
I'll try you.
Eddie pauses, smiling.
Well... well, now.
Don't be a chump. Don't bet any more money on
that damn fool shot.
(to the bartender)
Well, now ... I mean, you figure I'm a little
drunk, and I'm loaded on the hip, and you just
want in, real friendly, while the money's still
floating, huh? Okay ... Go ahead. Set 'em up.
Sheepishly, the bartender replaces the balls in their original
All right, you want some easy money, huh?
Here's a hundred and five dollars. That's one
week's commission. Now you want to take the
whole thing, and then you get a crack at your
I'll take a piece of that action.
No. I want him.
I'll take it out of the till.
I'll meet you in the car, chump.
Eddie chalks up his cue, waiting impatiently for the bartender to
return with the money from the cash register. Then he downs his drink
and quickly strokes out his shot, the ball banking crisply and directly
into the corner pocket. There is a cocky leer on his face as he reaches
for the dollar bills.
5 EXT. GAS STATION - AFTERNOON
The door of the Packard coupé slams shut. Eddie Felson holds up his
stuffed billfold for his pal, Charlie Burns, to see. He tosses it on
the seat beside him and turns on the ignition.
MAIN TITLE SEQUENCE
6 INT. AMES POOL HALL - MORNING
Henry, the elderly Negro janitor, draws up the Venetian blinds to let
the early morning light flood into AMES POOL HALL. Henry is the janitor
of Ames, the sexton of this immense, shabby cathedral of pool, in which
the pews are pool tables covered with oilcloth slipcovers and the great
vault of a room is lit by brass-and-globe chandeliers. Henry ambles
through Ames righting overturned ashtrays and replacing yesterday's
abandoned cue sticks. The cashier enters. He looks at his watch, then
checks his time against that of the clock on the wall.
Henry nods, then steps up on a stool to fix the minute hand of the
clock. It now stands at ten o'clock.
7 INT. AMES POOL HALL - DAY
It is twelve-thirty when Eddie Felson and Charlie Burns first enter
into Ames. Only one table is in use; the hall is empty. In Eddie's hand
is his leather cue case. They stand before the swinging doors and look
Yeah, like a church. Church of the Good Hustler.
Looks more like a morgue to me. Those pool
tables are the slabs they lay the stiffs on.
I'll be alive when I get out, Charlie.
They saunter over to the cashier's cage. A sign on the brass bar reads
NO GAMBLING ALLOWED ...
Eddie's arrival is noted by Big John and Preacher, a gambler and an
addict, who hang out at Ames at all hours, waiting for action.
(to the cashier)
(with some annoyance)
No bar, no pinball machines, no bowling alleys.
Just pool. Nothing else. This is Ames, mister.
Eddie takes his cue ball from the cashier's cage and heads for a table.
As he passes Charlie, he mimics the cashier wickedly:
This is Ames, mister.
The two go to a table. Eddie selects a house cue, then rolls it over
the table top to test the roll. He seems pleased. He runs his hand over
the green felt as if he were caressing it. His last test is to sweep
the cue ball into the corner pocket.
Nice clean pocket drop.
Eddie takes some balls out of the return box and throws them on the
(chalks his cue)
How much am I gonna win tonight? Hm?
Charlie doesn't reply. But Big John and Preacher lean forward in their
chairs to listen in.
Ten grand. I'm gonna win ten grand in one night.
(Charlie stares at him)
... Well, who's gonna beat me? C'mon, Charlie,
who's gonna beat me?
Okay ... Okay. Nobody can beat you.
Ten grand! I mean, what other poolroom is there
in the country where a guy can walk out with
ten grand in one night? Jeez, you know, I can
remember hustling an old man for a dime a game.
Big John, stubbly cigar between his fingers, drifts over to their table.
(to Eddie, off Big John)
You got company.
You looking for action?
Maybe. You want to play?
No. Hell, no! You Eddie Felson?
What's your game? What do you shoot?
You name it, we shoot it.
Look, friend, I'm not trying to hustle. I don't
never hustle people that walk into poolrooms
with leather satchels. Don't try to hustle me.
Okay, I'm Eddie Felson. I shoot straight pool.
You got any straight pool shooters in this here
What kind of straight pool game you like?
The expensive kind.
Come up here to play straight pool with
Yeah, that's right.
Want some free advice?
How much'll it cost?
(turns to Charlie)
Who are you -- his manager, his friend, his
He's my partner.
You well-heeled, partner?
We got enough.
Go home. Take your boy and go home. Fats don't
need your money, there's no way you can beat
him. Nobody's beat him in fifteen years. He's
the best in the country.
You got that wrong, mister. I am.
Okay, I told you what I wanted about Minnesota
Fats. You just go ahead and play him, friend.
Just tell me where I can find him, friend.
Comes right in this poolroom every night, eight
o'clock on the nose. Just stay where you are.
He'll find you.
As Big John walks off, Eddie smiles at Charlie.
8 INT. AMES POOL HALL - NIGHT
Eight sharp. A departing customer holds the door for an incoming one:
Minnesota Fats. Heads turn when he makes his punctual appearance.
Fats' clothes reflect his high station at Ames Pool Hall: a gray felt
bowler hat, and an expensive, tailored overcoat, with a carnation in
its lapel and two silk handkerchiefs peeking up from its breast pocket.
He moves like a sultan through the room, past Big John, whose eyes dip
significantly, and over to the coat rack, where Henry respectfully
takes his coat and hat. The buzzard-like eyes of the cashier direct his
gaze toward Eddie's table. Fats withdraws a cigarette from his gold
case, then casually strolls toward Eddie's table standing apart and
quietly observing the sharp, precise movements of his prospective
opponent. Even though Ames is filled with players, there is little
noise other than the clicking of pool balls.
You shoot a good stick.
Thank you. Gee, you shoot straight pool,
Now and then. You know how it is.
You're, uh, you're Minnesota Fats, aren't you?
You know, uh, they say Minnesota Fats is the best
in the country out where I come from.
Is that a fact?
Yes sir, boy, they, heh, they say that old
Fats just shoots the eyes right off them balls.
Where do you come from?
California? Is your name Felson? Eddie Felson?
I hear you've been looking for me.
Yeah. That's right, too.
Big John! You think this boy is a hustler?
Fats and Eddie regard each other with amusement, sharing the private
joke of pool hustlers.
Do you like to gamble, Eddie? Gamble money on
Fats, let's you and I shoot a game of straight
Well, you shoot big-time pool, Fats. I mean,
that's what everybody says, you shoot big-time
pool. Let's make it two hundred dollars a game.
Now I know why they call you Fast Eddie. Eddie,
you talk my kind of talk ...
(moving to the main table)
Sausage! Rack 'em up!
At his command, Ames comes to life. Players drag their chairs across
the floor and position them around the main table. Eddie, hand to his
mouth, realizes that the big moment has arrived and beckons to Charlie
for his leather cue case. The uniformed maids withdraw the cover off
the green felt top, and Sausage, the racker, begins to bang the balls
into the wooden racking triangle.
Fats is in the washroom, scrubbing his hands and nails. Eddie stands
and screws together his inlaid, ivory-pointed cue as Fats dries his
hands. He and Fats eye one another.
How do you feel?
Fast and loose, man.
In the gut, I mean.
I feel tight -- but good.
Henry helps Fats on with his coat. Sausage finishes racking. Fats
carefully extends his palms so that Henry may sprinkle on some talcum
powder. They are ready to start. Fats, immaculate in jacket and tie,
tosses a wad of bills -- his stake money -- onto the table. Charlie
does the same, counting the bills out one by one.
(off the cash)
Willie, hang onto that.
Willie takes the money. Two balls are rolled to the end of the table,
and Fats and Eddie, like two duelers, prepare to shoot for the break.
In the silence of the room, they bend over their cues and softly stroke
out their shots. The balls roll down the table, bank off the far
shoulder, and slowly return toward the two players. Fats' ball hits
the closer shoulder.
The balls are returned and Eddie makes his break shot, a glancing blow
that leaves the pack of balls nearly intact and the white cue ball
lying far away at the end of the table. Eddie looks up, with a smile.
Didn't leave you much.
Fats walks around the table and peers at the balls.
(after a pause)
You left enough ... six in the corner.
Placing his cigarette on the wooden rim of the table, Fats rams the cue
ball into the pack, dropping the six ball into the pocket. The table is
now his. Eddie sits down unhappily. Fats plays quickly, moving from
shot to shot with studied authority, his eyes and hands working
Fifteen in the corner ...
(shot goes in)
Ace in the side.
The shot goes in. As Eddie watches, the prancing, elegant Fats
maneuvers around the table.
(shot goes in)
(shot goes in)
The shot goes in.
(whispers, to Charlie)
Boy, he is great! Jeez, that old fat man. Look
at the way he moves. Like a dancer.
Twelve. Cross side.
We see Fats' bejeweled fingers curl around the cue stick, the stick
then darting out to send a ball caroming off a far bank and into a side
And them fingers, them chubby fingers. And that
stroke. It's like he's, uh, like he's playing a
violin or something.
(shot goes in)
Fats keeps sinking shots.
9 INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
It is eleven o'clock. Eddie is up. The crowd at Ames sits stolidly in
their seats, watching each player, each move.
The shot goes in and he lines up another.
The shot is a difficult one involving a combination of balls. As it
rolls in, the crowd breaks into applause, and Fats bangs the butt of
his cue stick on the floor to show his appreciation.
10 INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
A high angle of the table. Fats plays defensively, playing a safety,
leaving Eddie with little to shoot at.
So Eddie does the same.
Fats peers at the pack of balls huddled together, then points to one
that lies in the middle of the pack.
Seven ball in the corner.
Big John looks around -- the shot seems impossible. Fats slams the cue
ball into the pack. The balls carom outward in all directions. Only the
seven rolls slowly into the corner pocket. Eddie slumps back in his
seat as the crowd applauds.
11 INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
It is twelve o'clock, and Fats dominates the play. As he calls out the
litany of his shots, we see, superimposed over his hands and his face
and the sound of socking pool balls, the spectators, stupefied by the
action; Charlie, swallowing hard; Eddie, looking on, waiting to play;
and the bills endlessly unfolding out of Charlie's hands and floating
onto the table.
12 INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
One-thirty and Fats is still shooting.
Ace in the corner.
The shot rolls in.
(darkly, to Eddie)
Quit. He's too good.
Charlie, I'm gonna take him.
(goes to the table
and chalks his cue)
Well, you don't leave much when you miss, do you,
(from his seat)
That's what the game's all about.
Mm hm ... Two ball, side pocket.
The shot goes in. Fats pounds his stick on the floor. No one else makes
Very good shot.
You know I gotta hunch, fat man. I gotta hunch
it's me from here on in ... One ball, corner
(shot goes in)
I mean, that ever happen to you? When all of a
sudden you feel like you can't miss? I dreamed
about this game, fat man. I dreamed about this
game every night on the road ... five ball ...
(shot goes in)
You know, this is my table, man. I own it.
Fats allows a perfunctory bow of his head, a courtly gesture, to
Eddie's manager. Charlie looks away, avoiding his eyes.
13 INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
It is two-thirty. Now it's Eddie's voice we hear calling out the shots.
He circles the table, a proud, cocky smile on his face, and
superimposed over his movements we see the spectators, hunched up in
their chairs, and Fats' face, glowering, hostile.
The applause grows louder as the balls keep spinning toward the pockets.
14 INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
Eddie beams with pride and excitement as he accepts the acclamation of
the sharks at Ames. He slaps down the chalk and returns to his seat. It
is almost four o'clock.
Pay the man again, Fats.
Fats draws himself slowly out of his chair and hands the money to
Hey, how much are we ahead?
Approximately? One thousand bucks.
Fats, let's you and I shoot a game of pool for
a thousand dollars a game.
Fats hesitates for a moment, then reaches in his pocket for some bills.
Preach! Go down and get me some White Tavern
whisky, a glass, and some ice.
Preacher! Go on down and get me some bourbon.
J. T. S. Brown. No ice, no glass.
Preach ... get it at Johnny's.
You got a bet.
They stand up, remove their jackets, and prepare to play again.
15 INT. JOHNNY'S BAR, THE BACK ROOM - NIGHT
As Preacher opens the door to the back room, clutching a paper bag
filled with bottles to his chest, we see six men seated around a table,
playing poker. Preacher approaches one of them and whispers something
hurriedly in his ear. The man is Bert Gordon. Except for his dark
glasses, he might pass for a conservative businessman out for an
evening with the boys, sipping milk instead of alcohol to soothe an
ulcer. He nods to Preacher who then leaves. Bert appears thoughtful
for a moment. He rises.
Cash me in.
Bert sips his milk.
16 INT. THE GAME AT AMES - EARLY MORNING
A floor full of cigarette butts surround Charlie's chair. Charlie
crushes out another on the floor and immediately reaches for more.
Two in the corner.
(shot goes in)
The shot gos in. Eddie drains the last drips from his bottle of
bourbon, then looks jauntily at Bert, who now sits quietly in a chair,
watching them both.
Ace in the corner.
He misses. Eddie squirms out of his seat, eager to play, eager to go on
winning. Bert sighs.
Two ball, side pocket.
The shot goes in. Fats opens a fresh bottle of whisky.
17 INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
The game goes on. The hands of the clock on the wall spin around toward
eight in the morning. Ames is empty now, except for the players and the
employees. Only the voice of Sausage is heard, signaling the end of a
18 INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
As Fats bends over to shoot, Henry draws the Venetian blinds.
Will you cut that sunshine out?
Bert holds a hand to his temple, unnerved by Fats' discomposure.
19 INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
There is a break in the action. Fats and Eddie eye each other coldly,
Fats with his glass in his hand, Eddie with his bottle. Eddie takes a
swig and returns to the game.
20 INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
Bert reaches forward to hand Charlie more money. Bert replaces the
billfold in his coat pocket.
21 INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
Eddie, weary now, his hands resting on the table, looks up at the cool,
impassive face of Bert Gordon.
The name's Gordon. Bert Gordon.
Mister. You been sittin' in that spot for
hours. Would you mind moving? It bothers me.
Bert rises, moves his chair about six inches, and sits down again.
Eddie goes over to the water cooler for a drink while Fats doles out
his losings on the table.
How much we got?
Eleven thousand four hundred, cash. Here in my
Preacher, go on down and get me some breakfast,
will ya? Egg sandwich and a cup of coffee. You
want something, Charlie?
Now wait a minute. You're coming with me. You're
gonna eat breakfast at the hotel. Pool game
No, it isn't, Charlie.
The pool game is over when Fats says it's over.
You wanted ten thousand? You got ten thousand.
Ah, get with it, will ya, Charlie?
Get with what?
You can't see it, can you, Charlie? I mean,
you've never been able to see it. I came after
him. And I'm gonna get him. I'm goin' with him
all the way. The pool game is not over until
Minnesota Fats says it's over. Is it over,
He stands before Fats and Bert Gordon, waiting for an answer. Fats and
Bert exchange glances but nothing is said.
I'm gonna beat him, mister. I beat him all
night and I'm gonna beat him all day.
Still no reply, no sign of giving in. Eddie starts to go back to his
chair, suddenly turns, a weary, clowning smile on his face.
I'm the best you ever seen, Fats. I'm the best
there is. Now even if you beat me, I'm still
Eddie walks over to the water cooler.
(quietly, to Fats)
Stay with this kid. He's a loser.
(turns to Charlie, off Bert)
What did he say?
Charlie doesn't know and shakes his head.
22 INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE - NIGHT
Eddie's face buried in his lap as Charlie massages his back. Behind
him, in the washroom, is Fats, washing his face and hands.
Twenty-five hours, Eddie. Twenty-five hours you
been playin' straight.
Give me a drink, will ya?
You don't need a drink.
Will you shut up ... Just give me a drink.
Charlie gets Eddie a bottle. Bert and Henry watch Eddie coldly.
Eighteen thousand, Eddie. We're ahead eighteen
A drunken, exhausted Eddie nods, looks up at Bert, grins maliciously,
and takes a drink. Charlie starts to put away Eddie's cue stick.
I thought you said this game was over when
Minnesota Fats said it was.
Now, it's over now.
Fats emerges from the washroom, dries his hands, looks at Eddie and
then at Bert who nods. Henry helps Fats into the jacket with the
carnation still in the lapel. Eddie grins at this. So does Bert. Fats
opens his palms for the sprinkling of the talcum powder. Fats rubs his
hands together, then takes out his cigarette case.
Fast Eddie, let's play some pool.
Bert smiles in appreciation.
Let's go, Eddie.
Eddie grabs the leather case out of Charlie's hands. Eddie rises and
confronts Fats almost scornfully.
You look beautiful, Fats. Just like a baby ...
all pink, and powdered up.
Eddie looks down at his own dirty, disheveled shirt. He and a smiling
Bert exchange glances. Eddie moves to put on his jacket. Charlie
What are you trying to do, Eddie? You beat him.
You beat him bad. You wanna kill yourself?
What are ya, chicken, Charlie?
Well, maybe that's it. I'm chicken.
Go on home. Just leave me the money.
Go to hell.
Charlie, boy, you better give me that money.
C'mon now, give it to me. It's mine.
Okay, here ...
(slaps money into Eddie's hand)
Be a damn fool.
Eddie puts a bottle into the pocket of his jacket and returns to the
table to screw together his cue stick. The sight of Fats makes him
You know, you really look beautiful, Fats.
Everyone stares at Eddie as he scratches his head, alone with his
private joke. Eddie abruptly tosses his cue case away.
A worried Charlie picks up the case and stands by mutely, watching
Eddie disintegrate. Eddie leans over to shoot, then turns away,
laughing loudly to himself. Fats watches him, soberly, patiently.
23 INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
A high angle. Fats is shooting. No one is really watching any more.
Eddie is asleep on a stool against a wall. Even Bert is dozing.
Nine ball ... fifteen.
The shots go in.
That's one twenty-five.
Eddie. Wake up, Eddie ...
(Eddie awakens slowly)
We lose again.
Eddie bangs his head against the wall. He knocks over a bottle as he
tries to get up off the stool. The noise startles him. Charlie watches
sadly. Eddie gropes through his pockets and comes up with a few
Is this all we got left?
If that's all you got, that's all we got left.
Fats rises and tosses his cue on the table.
Willie, give me the stake money.
Willie gives him the stake money. Fats confronts Eddie.
Fats, I got about two hundred dollars here.
Game's over, Eddie.
Fats, look, I got about two hundred dollars
here. You can't run out on me.
You watch me.
Fats steps by Eddie and heads for the coat rack, slapping the stake
money into Bert's hand as he goes by. Bert returns the money to his
billfold, wordlessly. The blinds are drawn and the light strikes Eddie
in the eyes, but still he stumbles after Fats, holding his money out
before him, pleading.
Fats, c'mon. C'mon. Hey, Fats?
He bangs against the corner of the table and falls onto the floor. Fats
hears him go down and pauses, turning to see Charlie rush to Eddie's
side. After a moment, Fats continues on toward the door. Charlie slaps
Eddie ... Eddie... Eddie ... Eddie...
Bert, Sausage, Willie, Preach step around the body on their way out.
24 INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT
Eddie is lying on his bed staring at the ceiling, the crashing of pool
balls sounding in his head. He looks over at Charlie, asleep in the
next bed. He rolls out of bed and goes to the window. We see a neon
sign flashing across the street. It reads AMES BILLIARDS. Then Eddie
returns to his bed, leaves the keys to the Packard and some money on
the night table next to Charlie. He picks up his valise, his hanging
bag, and his leather cue case.
I'm sorry, Charlie.
Eddie goes toward the door.
25 INT. BUS STATION - EARLY MORNING
As Eddie enters, carrying his bags, a few early morning travelers --
some soldiers and a man in a Stetson hat -- pass him by. He has been up
all night. He rubs his grimy face, then heads for the door marked
26 INT. WASHROOM - EARLY MORNING
It is a typical bus station washroom at that time of the morning. The
residue of a full day's traveling is in evidence: crumpled paper
towels, cigarette butts, etc. Part of the residue is a drunk who sits
on the shoeshine seat, fast asleep. Eddie looks at him, shaking his
head. A wizened old attendant sits nearby. A sign on the wall reads IS
THIS YOUR LUCKY DAY? Eddie laughs to himself, puts his hanging bag and
cue case on a chair, then turns to face his image in the mirror.
(to the attendant)
Give me a towel, will ya?
The attendant, whose every move seems to require a tremendous effort,
shuffles over and grabs a towel as Eddie removes his jacket.
27 INT. BUS STATION - EARLY MORNING
Near the row of coin lockers in the waiting room is a small lunch
counter and several tables. At one table, facing the lockers, is a
young woman, Sarah: a book is open before her, and a cup of coffee, and
an ashtray filled with cigarette butts. She looks up for an instant as
Eddie appears. He now has on a clean shirt and is clean and freshly
shaven. He locks his bags in a locker. Her eyes return to the printed
page. Moving toward the counter, Eddie notices Sarah. He goes to the
lunch counter, still looking at her. He sniffs some wrapped sandwiches.
Can I get you something?
Eddie wanders over to a table next to Sarah's and sits down. She
Long wait for a bus?
She returns to her reading. Eddie keeps looking at her. Her hair is
brown, cut short, practically straight. Her lips are pale and thin, and
the bone structure of her face, although delicate, is much in evidence.
There is a suggestion of tired wakefulness, of self-sufficiency, about
her. And a frank, open regard which has nothing in it to imply
flirtation -- or the lack of it.
How long you been waiting?
How long have you been waiting?
Sarah goes back to reading. The waitress arrives to take Eddie's order.
(to the waitress)
Just a cup of black coffee, please ...
(the waitress starts to go)
Hey, ma'am! Wait a minute!
Would you, uh, like another cup?
Eddie holds up two fingers to the waitress, who departs.
What time does the bus leave?
That wouldn't give us much time, would it?
Well, you're right. I guess it wouldn't.
The coffee comes.
(making a toast)
Hello and goodbye ...
Eddie leans back against the wall and shuts his eyes.
(after a long pause)
Have a nice trip.
Thanks. I will.
He slips off to sleep. The waitress brings a check.
Give it to me.
She looks at Eddie anxiously as she digs in her purse for the coins.
She pays, collects her purse and book, and rises to leave. Eddie
28 INT. BUS STATION LUNCH COUNTER - MORNING
The public address system bleats over the noise of the crowded
luncheonette. The waitress leans over and slaps Eddie on the shoulder.
He wakes up with a cramped neck.
How much do I owe you?
It was paid for ... by the lady.
29 INT. BAR AND GRILL - NOON
The bar is nearly empty when Eddie comes in.
(to the bartender)
Give me some bourbon. J. T. S. Brown.
You want a chaser?
As he looks around the bar he sees Sarah, alone at a back booth,
sipping a highball. She seems amused by their encounter. So does he. He
takes his drink and joins her at the booth.
Have a nice trip?
Can I sit down?
Why not? We already know each other's secrets.
(after he sits)
Thanks for the, uh, for the breakfast.
Two ships that pass in the night should always
buy each other breakfast.
Can I buy you another drink?
(calls to the bartender)
Hey, another one for me and another one for
You look different ... More relaxed.
It's the lights. And the scotch.
How come you didn't catch your bus?
I wasn't waiting for a bus.
Then why go to the bus station?
Same reason you went: at that hour of the
morning you haven't much choice. Besides, I
only live three blocks from there. Where do you
I know where you live: in a locker, in a bus
station. What's it like living in a locker?
You always drink like this, so early in the
Do you always ask so many questions?
No, not always.
Sometimes I wake up and I can't sleep, not
without a drink. The bars don't open until
eight. Mack over there has faith in me. When
I'm broke, he trusts me. Don't you trust me,
When I'm not broke, I usually have a bottle in
my room, in which case I sleep very well indeed.
You talk kind of funny, but I like it.
I used to be an actress.
Yeah? What do you do now?
I'm a college girl. Two days a week, Tuesdays
and Thursdays, I go to college.
You don't look like a college girl.
I'm the emancipated type. Real emancipated.
No, I didn't mean that -- whatever that means.
I mean, you just don't look young enough.
So why go to college?
I've got nothing else to do on Tuesdays and
What do you do on the other days?
(to the bartender)
No. No more. I'm getting sleepy.
(puts a scarf around her head)
Thank you very much, Mr... ?
Eddie. The name is Eddie.
(studies his face)
The name should be Eddie. What should my name
I don't know. Whatever you like it to be.
I like it to be what it is. It's Sarah. That's
a biblical name. You want to know its meaning?
I could always get us a bottle.
(a little alarmed)
Fifth of scotch?
What do you want me to do, just step out in the
alley? Is that it?
No. I'll take you home.
There is a long pause as she tries to read his face.
Eddie finishes his drink, rises, crosses to the bar, pays the bill, and
returns to the booth. As they go out, Sarah stumbles, and he catches
her by the arm.
It's all right.
I'm not drunk ...
Eddie pauses a moment to register this as she limps off, then follows.
30 EXT. CITY STREET - MIDDAY
Eddie goes into the liquor store. Sarah waits outside, stiff and uneasy.
Then he comes out with the scotch and they walk off down the street
together. They walk slowly, with their eyes pointed straight ahead. He
tries to ignore her halting gait. They pass under the awning of the
neighborhood's elegant Parisien restaurant.
31 INT. HALLWAY OF APARTMENT HOUSE - MIDDAY
As she searches through her purse for her keys, he reaches out and puts
his hand on her shoulder. She closes her eyes, then draws back against
the door, fearful, like a threatened animal.
He takes her head in his hands and kisses her. She responds but, as he
holds her tighter, she starts to struggle.
Please ... please ... please.
She pushes him away and shakes her head.
You're too hungry.
They stand there for a long moment: she looks away; he looks down at
the floor. Then Eddie takes the bag of scotch and places it underneath
Take it. It's yours.
He leaves her there in the hall and walks off.
32 INT. FLOPHOUSE - AFTERNOON
A door opens. A hotel manager shows Eddie into a dingy, barely
You can have this one for a buck and a half a
night, or seven bucks by the week.
By the night.
He reaches in his pocket and pulls out some bills.
33 INT. BUS DEPOT - NIGHT
Eddie removes his bags from the locker. The sight of the lunch counter
reminds him of Sarah. But the lunchroom is empty; only the janitor is
there, mopping up. Eddie picks up his bags and goes out.
34 EXT. LIQUOR STORE - NIGHT
Eddie, on his way back to the hotel, stops at the same liquor store for
35 INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT
He enters his room, puts down his bags and the liquor, and sits on his
rusted brass bed. From his pocket he pulls out the few crumpled bills
he has left. He looks at the money, shakes his head disgustedly, and
closes his eyes.
36 INT. BAR WITH POOL TABLE - NIGHT
It is a friendly, neighborhood bar for business people and cocktail
drinkers. Eddie walks casually by the pool table and over to the bar.
Bottle of beer.
He turns on his stool to watch the game.
Hey, uh, mister? Hey, okay if I grab a cue?
Hey, you're Eddie Felson, aren't you?
Now, look, fella, I saw you playing at Ames the
Hey, I'll tell you what -- I'll play you
jack-up pool -- just keep one hand in my
(returning to his game)
Oh man, you're way out of our league.
Eddie goes back to his bottle of beer.
37 INT. ANOTHER BAR - NIGHT
Some bills drop on a ragged, beat-up pool table. Two men, dressed in
work clothes, stand around looking disgruntled.
What are you stuck for?
Three. That's enough for me.
(picks up the cash)
Thanks ... Can I, uh, buy you fellas a drink?
They go to the bar.
You know, you shoot good. But you also shoot
(nodding his head)
Yeah. I shoot lucky.
38 INT. BUS DEPOT - EARLY MORNING
Eddie sits at a table, smoking, waiting. The paper bag with the whisky
is on the table. Sarah, dressed in a dark suit, limps toward him. He
mashes out his cigarette in the ashtray. When he looks up, he sees
Sarah standing nearby. She seems cold and suspicious as she limps
toward the table. She pauses and looks at him. They stare at one
another for a long moment. He gets up, puts his arm around her shoulder,
and walks away with her. As they walk, she hesitantly puts an arm
around his waist.
39 INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - MORNING
A hand reaches up to open the wooden shutters. As they open, we see
Eddie, in his underclothes, on the bed. Sarah, in a robe, walks up
and joins him in bed as they both peer out the window.
Why did you do that?
I wanted to see what kind of a day it is.
A day like any other. People come, people go.
Give me a drag.
She hands him her cigarette. He starts to put on his wristwatch.
What time is it?
Eleven o'clock ... I'll be back later.
He kisses her on the cheek.
Oh, you need a shave. You mustn't go looking
like that. There's a razor and shaving cream in
the bathroom. Compliments of the house.
What did you say that for, Sarah?
How did you know my name was Sarah?
You told me.
I lied. When I'm drunk I lie.
Okay. So what's your name today?
Eddie, look. I've got troubles, and I think
maybe you've got troubles. Maybe it'd be better
if we just leave each other alone.
He kisses her again, this time on the lips.
I got my things over at the hotel. I'll bring
them over later ...
(shifts position, pulls her close)
(in his arms)
I'm not sure ... I don't know.
Well, what do you want to know? And why?
He reaches out and closes the shutters.
40 EXT. CITY STREET - DAY
Sarah emerges from a neighborhood grocery store loaded down with a
Cheese Doodles carton full of food. A woman runs out of the store to
give her a parcel she left behind.
She carries the carton across the street to her apartment house,
quietly saying hello to a couple of neighbors along the way.
41 INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - DAY
Sarah's apartment is a typical city studio apartment: one cluttered
room for sleeping and eating, and a small kitchenette. As Sarah knocks,
Eddie is perched on the window sill. He goes to open the door. Sarah
Where you been all day?
At school. It's Thursday.
Oh, I forgot.
He pulls her schoolbooks out of the carton and takes her purse.
You were asleep when I left. I didn't want to
wake you. Did you go out?
Yeah, I went out for a couple of hours.
She unloads liquor and canned goods from the carton, then goes to join
Eddie by the window. Sarah takes a cigarette lighter out of her purse
and hands it to Eddie.
(off the lighter)
He takes it.
You know, I've been living here for almost three
years. Now in three days it seems as if I know
everybody. When I pass people on the street
I want to stop and say, "Listen, I got a
(strokes her hand)
Eddie, where do you go when you go out?
Museums ... art galleries ... concerts.
She smiles, then she gets up and returns to the kitchenette.
Well, I believe you when you say you go to
You want to go with me?
What, are you kidding? See that book?
(holds up a book)
I've been trying to get through that book ever
since I first got here. I haven't finished the
(off her bookcase)
Did you read all them books?
You got it all in your head?
When I'm sober. They get a little mixed up
when I'm drunk. Most of the time they're mixed
Oh, stop talking about yourself like you're a
lush or something. I don't like it.
Maybe you ought to go to a clinic, get some
I'm getting treatments right here.
He comes up behind her and puts his arms around her.
Take your choice. I've got enough so we won't
have to go out of the house till Tuesday.
What did all this stuff cost you?
When you've got money, you'll pay.
No, c'mon, I wanna know. I wanna keep score.
The bills are right here. You didn't say what
(off the canned goods)
Don't you ever cook anything?
Eggs. How do you like them?
She cuts her hand opening a can.
Oh, cut my finger.
I've got something in my bag.
Oh, it's not bad.
As he rummages through the closet for his bag he pulls out his leather
Eddie, what's in that case?
Haven't you opened it?
No, why should I? It's yours.
It's a machine gun. This guy told me when I
came to the big city I'd have to have a machine
gun, so I bought one.
(bandages her finger)
Where do you get the money? To pay for all
this? I mean the liquor, and the groceries, and
From a rich old man who used to be my lover.
They kiss. Someone knocks on the door. Sarah goes to open it. We stay
on Eddie, who examines the lighter in his hand.
He enters the room, awkwardly, toying with the rim of his hat.
Hello, Charlie ...
C'mon in ...
That's my girl.
Hello, Eddie's girl ...
I looked all over for you.
Oh yeah? How'd you find me?
I asked around.
There is a long silence.
Do you want me to go?
No, stick around.
Can I get you something? Drink? Coffee?
Oh, I don't want to be no bother to nobody.
Oh, don't play it small, Charlie. It don't look
good on you.
How do you want me to play it? I'm broke.
So am I ... Sit down.
Would you get us a couple of drinks?
She starts to make the drinks. Charlie sits.
You walked out on me like that. No goodbye,
no nothing. Like a thief in the dark. We were
partners. We were more than partners.
He was like a ... like--
Yeah, yeah, like a son.
(to Sarah who brings drinks)
I've known this boy since he was sixteen. The
first time I saw him, back in Oakland, I said,
"This is a talented boy. This is a smart boy."
Talk to me, Charlie.
I want you to come back on the road with me.
Aah! I've got no stomach for that any more.
I've had that kind of life.
What kind of life have you got here? Scufflin'
around the small rooms, picking up eight, ten
bucks a day?
I'll connect. I'll get you your money back.
Are you figuring on going back to Ames to play
Minnesota Fats again? Is that what's on your
Never been out of it. I'm gonna beat that fat
man ... with that curly hair, and those diamond
rings, and that carnation.
This boy's crazy. They wiped the floor with
him. They beat his brains out and he wants to
What for? To take another beating?
I told you you'd get your money back.
He thinks I care about the money.
I care about you. Do you care about me, Eddie?
We're together a long time, night and day. So
how do you say goodbye?
You gimme the car and a hundred bucks. You
think I care about the dough, the car? I care
This boy is the greatest pool hustler you ever
saw. A real high-class con man. He can charm
anybody into anything. Did he ever tell you
how well we were doing on the road? We had
everything: we ate good, we slept late, we had
money to burn. Whisky, dames ...
(apologetic, to Sarah)
Excuse me ...
(to Eddie, off Sarah)
I'll tell you what -- take her along.
Eddie leans up against the wall, listening. Sarah watches them both,
I'll tell you what else: you don't want to
start right away, we won't start right away.
We'll get in the car and drive down to Miami,
get all this crud out of your system, have a
few laughs, lie in the sun for a couple of
Suddenly Eddie becomes tense.
Don't worry about it. I'll raise the money.
Oh yeah? Where?
What's the difference where? I'll raise it.
Is it all right if I have another drink?
Sarah turns to fix the drink. Eddie signals her to stay where she is.
He moves forward, confronting Charlie.
Did you hold out on me, Charlie? ... How much?
Charlie doesn't answer, so Eddie snatches hold of his jacket and shoves
him back into a chair.
My twenty-five per cent. Approximately fifteen
Oh, you crumb. With that fifteen hundred I
coulda beat him. That's all I needed, Charlie.
C'mon, c'mon, just give me the money.
What for? To play Fats again?
Yeah, to play Fats again.
You wanna come back on the road with me, okay,
the money's yours. But if you wanna give it to
Minnesota Fats ... nothing doing. What do you
You still don't see it, do you, Charlie? You
are nothing but a small-time Charlie. You'd
love to keep me hustling for you, huh? Wouldn't
ya? I mean, a couple more years with me, scuffling
around them little towns and those back alleys.
You might make yourself enough to get a little
poolroom back in Oakland. Six tables and a
handbook on the side. Is that when you say
goodbye to me, Charlie?
Is that what you think?
Yeah, that's what I think.
All right. That's what I want. Poolroom with
a little handbook on the side. Getting old.
Lay down and die by yourself. Don't take
me with you.
Eddie walks off. A pause.
Just like that?
Yeah. Just like that.
A tear rolls down Sarah's cheek as she hears this. She stands near the
door, with her back to both of them. Charlie gets up and moves toward
Thanks for the drink, Eddie's girl.
Sarah, her cheek wet, says nothing. Charlie puts on his hat and leaves.
Eddie empties his glass and slaps it on the shelf next to Sarah.
Give me another drink.
She pours it out, saying nothing.
Boy! Everybody, everybody wants a piece of me!
Sarah hands Eddie his drink without looking him in the eye.
Aren't you gonna have one?
She pours herself a very stiff drink as Eddie moves about restlessly.
What did he have to come back here for anyway?
Sarah drinks her drink.
She keeps drinking.
Still drinking, she turns to him. They embrace and kiss one another
without putting down their glasses.
42 INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
The room is a mess and Sarah is drunk. She sits on her knees on the
floor, pecking at the keys of her typewriter with one finger. Her
bottle and her glass are beside her. A bare-chested Eddie is in the
kitchen behind her, tossing empty cans and bottles from the sink into a
garbage bag. He carelessly wipes the sink, then throws down the dishrag
and goes to the closet, pulling out his leather case.
You going out?
Yeah. For a little while.
Reaching for the bottle, Sarah abruptly lurches forward over her
typewriter, and knocks the bottle over.
(atop the typewriter)
Eddie quickly moves to help her.
He helps her up.
She doesn't answer. Eddie stares at Sarah as she sways limply on her
knees, unmindful of her open robe. Eddie picks up the bottle and sets
it before her. Taking her ashtray, Eddie rises, runs his hand through
her hair for a moment, and then carries off the ashtray and empties it
in the garbage bag.
43 INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - TIME LAPSE
Sarah, still hopelessly drunk, is sprawled out on her bed, futilely
attempting to dial a telephone. Eddie, in a clean shirt and pants,
watches her. He sets the bottle down near the typewriter and notices
the sheet of paper stuck in the typewriter's carriage. He bends down to
What are you writing?
(looks up from the phone)
Oh, it's a story. A story I'm making up.
She falls back on the bed. Eddie pulls the paper out of the carriage
and reads it.
Give it to me.
What's this supposed to mean?
Give it back to me.
What's this supposed to mean: "We have a
contract of depravity. All we have to do is
pull the blinds down."
She doesn't answer. He thinks for a moment, then angrily crumples the
paper in his hands and throws it at her.
Write yourself another story.
Eddie walks off.
(with a sardonic laugh)
Well, what else have we got? We never talk
about anything. We stay here in this room, and
we drink, and we make love.
(sits up in bed)
We're strangers. What happens when the liquor
and the money run out, Eddie?
Eddie gives her a look, then lowers his eyes.
You told Charlie to lay down and die. Will you
say that to me too?
(rises and stumbles over to him)
What happens, Eddie?
You'll find yourself another rich old lover.
That's right! And I'm sure you'll help me.
Eddie turns and slaps her on the cheek.
You waiting for me to cry?
(stares at him coldly)
You bum ... You poolroom bum.
He reaches for his jacket.
44 INT. JOHNNY'S BAR - NIGHT
As Eddie pushes through the glass doors to the front room of Johnny's
bar. He looks around at the unused pool tables, then goes to the bar.
Give me a bottle of beer.
A man in a business suit comes out of the back room and joins him at
How did you make out?
I made a couple of bucks.
Is it open?
The man looks to the bartender for his answer.
(to the bartender)
It's open ...
(to the man)
What'll you have?
Gimme a beer.
Eddie takes his beer to the back room.
45 INT. JOHNNY'S BACK ROOM - NIGHT
The poker game is in progress. Four men are playing. One of them is
Bert Gordon. His glass of milk is beside him on the table. He takes
note of Eddie's presence with a quick dart of his eyes.
He takes a seat next to Bert.
What's the limit?
Half and a dollar.
Gimme ten bucks.
He takes the chips, then throws out another bill.
Make it twenty.
As the cards are dealt Eddie steals a glance at the man he has come to
46 INT. JOHNNY'S FRONT ROOM - TIME LAPSE
The game is over. Bert is already in the front room. He sits at a table
with a drink, and watches Eddie pass him by on the way to the bar.
Bourbon. J. T. S. Brown.
(to the bartender)
Eddie looks at Bert.
(pleasantly, to Eddie)
Thought you only drank milk.
Only when I work.
I like it. It's good for you. Besides, you
start drinking whisky gambling and it gives you
an excuse for losing. That's something you
don't need -- an excuse for losing. How did
you make out in the poker game?
I lost twenty bucks.
Poker's not your game.
You being cute?
I don't think there's a pool player alive
shoots better pool than I saw you shoot the
other night at Ames. You got talent.
So I got talent. So what beat me?
Yeah. Sure, sure.
You're damned right I'm sure. Everybody's got
talent. I got talent. You think you can play
big-money straight pool, or poker, for forty
straight hours on nothing but talent? You think
they call Minnesota Fats the best in the
country just 'cause he's got talent? Nah.
Minnesota Fats's got more character in one finger
than you got in your whole skinny body.
I got drunk.
He drank as much whisky as you did.
Maybe he knows how to drink.
You bet he knows how.
(sips his drink)
You think that's a talent too, huh? Knowin' how
to drink whisky? You think Minnesota Fats was
born knowin' how to drink?
Okay, okay ... What do I do now, lie down on
the floor and, uh, bow from the ankles? What
do I do, go home?
That's your problem.
So I stay. Stay until I hustle up enough to play
Fats again. Maybe by that time I'll develop
myself some character.
Amused, Bert gets up and joins Eddie at the bar.
Maybe by that time you'll die of old age. How
much do you think you'll, uh, need?
No, three thousand at least. He'll start you
off at five hundred a game -- he'll beat the
pants off you. That's the way he plays when he
comes up against a man who knows the way the
game is. He'll beat you flat four or five
games -- maybe more, depending on how, uh ...
steady your nerves are. But he might -- he just
might be a little scared of you, and that could
change things. But I wouldn't count on it.
How do you know? Huh? When nobody knows that
See that big car parked out by the fireplug on
the way in? Well, that's mine. I like that car.
But I get a new one every year because I make
it my business to know what guys like you and
Minnesota Fats are gonna do. I made enough off
of you the other night to pay for it twice over.
In that case, you owe me another drink.
Bert laughs and signals the bartender for another round.
Eddie, is it all right if I get personal?
Whaddya been so far?
Eddie, you're a born loser.
What's that supposed to mean?
First time in ten years I ever saw Minnesota
Fats hooked, really hooked. But you let him
I told you. I got drunk.
Sure, you got drunk. That's the best excuse in
the world for losing. No trouble losing when
you got a good excuse. And winning! That can be
heavy on your back too. Like a monkey. You
drop that load too when you got an excuse. All
you gotta do is learn to feel sorry for
yourself. It's one of the best indoor sports:
feeling sorry for yourself -- a sport enjoyed
by all, especially the born losers.
(slaps down his glass and rises)
Thanks for the drink.
Wait a minute. Maybe I can help you.
To do what?
Get the three thousand. Play Minnesota Fats
Ten reasons. Maybe fifteen. And also there's
something in it for me.
Oh yeah, I figured that. How much?
Seventy-five per cent.
That's a -- that's a pretty big slice. Who do
you think you are, General Motors?
How much you think you're worth these days?
I'm puttin' up the money, I'm puttin' up the
time. For that I get seventy-five per cent
return on my money -- if you win.
You think I can lose?
I never saw you do anything else.
You saw me beat Minnesota Fats for eighteen
Look, you wanna hustle pool, don't you? This
game isn't like football. Nobody pays you for
yardage. When you hustle you keep score real
simple. The end of the game you count up your
money. That's how you find out who's best.
That's the only way.
Why back me then? Why not back yourself? Go
find yourself a big fat poker game and get rich
You know all the angles.
I'm already rich. But I like action. That's
one thing I think you're good for is action.
Besides, like I say ... you got talent.
Yeah, you already told me that. You cut that
slice down to bite-size and maybe we can talk.
No, we don't talk. I don't make bad bets.
Seventy-five, twenty-five. That's it.
He starts to go.
What are you gonna do about the money?
There are places. I'll scuffle around.
Word's out on you, Eddie. You walk in the
wrong kind of place and they'll eat you alive.
Now, when did you adopt me?
(with a friendly grin)
I don't know when it was.
47 EXT. WATERFRONT - NIGHT
Sound of ship's horn. Eddie walks past the piers and warehouses toward
a small waterfront bar called Arthur's Pool Hall.
48 INT. ARTHUR'S POOL HALL - NIGHT
The atmosphere at Arthur's is stifling, oppressive. A few lonely
drinkers, dock workers, sit stooped over their beer bottles at the bar.
In the back is a pool table. As Eddie enters, we see two burly men, cue
sticks in hand, watching as a pale, skinny young man lines up his shot.
(to young man)
They exchange glances, sizing each other up. Then the young man puts in
(throwing money on the table)
You lucky punk. I quit ya.
You want in, friend?
How much you playin' for?
A dollar on the five, two on the nine.
Yeah, I'll play you a couple. Just for kicks.
Eddie goes over to the rack and takes a cue.
49 INT. ARTHUR'S POOL HALL - TIME LAPSE
One of the other players is putting away his cue.
That's it for me.
Well, I guess that does it for me too.
(brashly, to Eddie)
You quittin' too?
You're a pretty good player.
How much are you ahead?
Couple of bucks.
I guess it's just you and me, huh?
Yeah, I guess it is, boy. Just you and me.
You wanna raise the bet? Two on the five, five
on the nine?
You know what, kid? I think maybe you're a
The young man makes his break shot, slamming the nine into the pocket.
He looks up at Eddie, grinning snidely. The other two men, the losers,
stand around, mutely following the play.
You sure you don't want to quit, friend?
Let's cut out the small stuff, huh? Hundred
dollar freeze-out. Ten games, ten bucks a
game, winner take all. And then we'll see who
Okay, friend. You're on.
(pulls out a coin)
Eddie tosses the coin on the table.
Eddie collects his coin while the young man racks up the balls.
Preparing to break, Eddie chalks his cue.
You better not miss, friend.
I don't rattle, kid. But just for that I'm
gonna beat you flat.
He rams the cue ball into the pack. The nine drops in. Everyone is
stunned, particularly the young man.
50 INT. THE GAME AT ARTHUR'S - TIME LAPSE
Eddie has lost control of himself. He is shooting as he did at Ames,
rapping in his shots with perfect control. He is completely oblivious
to the glowering faces of the group of men who have gathered around the
table to watch.
Eddie makes a tough shot. The men exchange uneasy glances.
More tough shots: tricky combinations, etc.
51 INT. THE GAME AT ARTHUR'S - TIME LAPSE
Eddie finishes up with yet another combination shot.
That's ten. You punk, you two-bit punk. C'mon,
pay up. A hundred bucks.
The young man digs nervously into his jacket for the money. All eyes
are on Eddie. The young man sets down his cue.
You quittin', friend?
Yeah, I'm quittin'.
Sensing what is about to happen, the young man pays up. He drops the
cash on the table and leaves quickly. Then one of the other men steps
forward, a thick-fleshed, obscene-looking man named Turk. His mouth
twists into a mock smile. As Eddie looks about him at the circle of
silent men, each one glaring at him, his fury gives way to fear.
Why, you're a pool shark, boy. A real pool
Well, so's he.
But you're better than he was. Much better.
(points to bills on the table)
There's your money, boy.
Eddie wipes his mouth with his sleeve and nervously backs away.
There's your money, boy.
Eddie tries to back off but there is nowhere to go, so he makes a
casual movement toward the table.
Suddenly, the men grab Eddie and pin his arms. One man grabs him around
(sardonically, to the men)
Wait a minute! Let's give this boy his money.
We always pay what we lose, boy.
Turk takes the bills from the table and stuffs them into Eddie's breast
We got no use for pool sharks around here.
They drag Eddie into the men's room and shove him up against the
ground-glass partition. We see his cheek pressed against the glass, and
the foggy silhouettes of the others behind him. Eddie, his mouth open,
screams horribly. There is a pause. He screams again. They let go of
his arms and he slumps to the floor. The bartender turns and goes back
to the bar in the front room. The ship's horn is heard again.
52 INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
Sarah sits alone in the darkened room, dressed in her robe and slip,
lost in a drunken half-sleep. There is a knock at the door.
Who is it?
Me. It's Eddie.
She goes to the door and opens it. Her eyes are puffy, her face is
covered with perspiration. She opens the door, then looks up to see him
leaning against the wall, his arms tucked into his chest, with one hand
covering the other.
I got beat up. They ...
They broke my thumbs.
Sarah is stunned and moves to him.
She takes him in her arms. He starts to cry.
Oh, they broke my thumbs. Broke my thumbs.
She holds him.
53 INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
Sarah watches as Eddie, both hands now encased in plaster casts, tries
to sleep. He tries to move his arms, as if trying to defend himself.
Sarah rises, joins him, and strokes his head.
It's all right. I'm here.
54 INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - MORNING
They are seated at the breakfast table. Sarah pours him some coffee and
he tries to bring the cup to his lips, but he cannot manage it.
Disgusted, he drops the cup on the floor and gets up from the table.
Sarah bends down and patiently wipes up the spilled coffee.
55 INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
The apartment is now clean and neat. And Sarah is sober. She is at her
table, typing, while Eddie stands at the window, trying to reach over
his shoulder to scratch his back. He comes over to the table and, with
his mouth, picks a cigarette out of the pack. He looks quickly at her,
without asking directly for the match. She lights it and, as she does,
he glances at the sheet in the typewriter.
You can read it, if you want to.
You want to go out for a while? To a movie?
You wanna drink?
(suddenly opening the door)
What's it so hot in here for?
He starts to unbutton his shirt and Sarah immediately gets up to help.
But he holds her off.
She watches him struggle with the button for a while then spread his
arms in a gesture of helplessness. As she unbuttons his shirt for him,
he takes her face in his hands and kisses her.
56 EXT. SARAH'S APARTMENT HOUSE - MORNING
Sarah and Eddie emerges from the doorway. It is a warm, beautiful day,
and Sarah has a basket with her. Eddie seems happy to be out with her,
almost as if he has forgotten the casts on his hands.
57 EXT. RIVERSIDE PARK - DAY
They stop at a spot that overlooks the river and spread out a blanket.
58 EXT. PARK - DAY
Eddie leans back on the grass and looks at Sarah. They both seem easy
and relaxed in the sunshine together.
Sarah, do you think I'm a loser?
Yeah. I met this guy -- Gordon, Bert Gordon. He
said I was. Born loser.
Would he know?
He knows. A lot.
Why did he tell you?
I don't know. I'm not sure. He said there are
people who want to lose, who are always looking
for an excuse to lose.
What does he do, this Bert Gordon?
He's a gambler.
Is he a winner?
Well, he owns things.
Is that what makes a winner?
Well, what else does?
Does it bother you? What he said?
(after a pause)
Yeah. It bothers me a lot.
'Cause, you see, twice, Sarah -- once at Ames
with Minnesota Fats and then again at
... in that cheap, crummy poolroom ... Now,
why'd I do it, Sarah? Why'd I do it? I coulda
beat that guy, I coulda beat him cold. He
never woulda known. But I just had to show 'em,
I just had to show those creeps and those punks
what the game is like when it's great, when
it's really great. You know, like anything can
be great -- anything can be great ... I don't
care, bricklaying can be great. If a guy
knows. If he knows what he's doing and why, and
if he can make it come off. I mean, when I'm
goin' -- when I'm really goin' -- I feel
... like a jockey must feel. He's sittin'
on his horse, he's got all that speed and that
power underneath him, he's comin' into the
stretch, the pressure's on him -- and he
knows -- just feels -- when to let it go, and
how much. 'Cause he's got everything workin'
for him -- timing, touch. It's a great feeling,
boy, it's a real great feeling when you're
right, and you know you're right. It's like all
of a sudden I got oil in my arm. Pool cue's
part of me. You know, it's a -- pool cue's got
nerves in it. It's a piece of wood -- it's got
nerves in it. You feel the roll of those balls.
You don't have to look. You just know. Ya make
shots that nobody's ever made before. And you
play that game the way nobody's ever played it
You're not a loser, Eddie. You're a winner.
Some men never get to feel that way about
anything. I love you, Eddie.
Eddie lowers his eyes and leans back.
You know, someday, Sarah, you're gonna settle
down. You're gonna marry a college professor,
and you're gonna write a great book. Maybe
about me, huh? Fast Eddie Felson, hustler.
(after a pause)
I love you.
You need the words?
Yes, I need them very much. And if you ever say
them I'll never let you take them back.
Eddie just stares at her.
59 INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - DAY
Eddie is about to knock on the door to Sarah's apartment. He stops for
a moment to look at his hands. The casts are off. He knocks on the door
with his wrist, as he would if he still had them on. When she opens the
door he holds them up boyishly before her face.
Yes, I'm glad.
She kisses his hands.
60 INT. JOHNNY'S PLACE - DAY
Eddie flexes his fingers, then tries out a shot on one of Johnny's pool
tables. He uses the simpler, open hand bridge to support his cue. Bert
Gordon enters, and watches him play.
Hi. How's business?
Ahh, slow ... Why the open hand bridge?
Something wrong with your hand?
(continues to shoot)
Yeah. Had a little accident. A place called
Oh. You seem to do all right that way.
I'd say my game is about twenty per cent off.
What happened? Somebody step on your hands?
Yeah. Big creep. Broke my thumbs.
Man named Turk Baker?
You know everybody, don't you?
Everybody who can hurt me, everybody who can
help me. It pays.
Maybe you oughta give me lessons.
Where do I sign?
The first match I got in mind for you is in
You name the place, boss. I'll be there.
What happened to you anyway?
Like I told ya. My thumbs.
No, I don't mean the thumbs. You already told
me about the thumbs.
I been thinking.
Thinking about what?
Maybe I'm not such a high-class piece of
property right now. And a twenty-five per cent
slice of something big is better than a hundred
per cent slice of nothin'.
(to the bartender)
Hey, get us a couple of drinks here, will ya?
J. T. S. Brown.
Bert smiles at Eddie.
61 INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT
It is a quiet, elegant restaurant, one with soft piano music and
subdued lighting. Eddie and Sarah had walked past it the first day they
met. Eddie and Sarah enter. She has on new dress and Eddie, looking a
little ill at ease, has on a suit and tie.
Good evening, sir.
(digs into pocket and
hands him a bill)
Give use a nice, quiet table.
Yes, sir. Right this way.
The headwaiter seats them at a table. Eddie and Sarah exchange smiles.
A waiter approaches.
Would you like a drink before dinner, sir?
(to the waiter)
Very old, very dry.
(to the waiter)
(the waiter leaves)
Sherry? ... Nice joint. You look very pretty.
I feel pretty.
Suddenly she breaks into laughter.
Well, what's so funny?
Your tie. I never saw you wear one before.
(touches the knot self-consciously)
First time for everything.
The waiter returns with the bottle of sherry and holds it out to Eddie
for his approval. There is a long pause as Eddie looks from the bottle
to the waiter. Finally, Eddie realizes he must respond.
Oh. Yeah. That's great.
The waiter pours out the sherry as Eddie and Sarah stare at each other
over their glasses. Then Eddie looks away. Sarah proposes a toast.
To you, Eddie.
They touch glasses.
62 INT. RESTAURANT - TIME LAPSE
The waiter brings the check.
Thank you, sir.
Eddie nods and drinks down the last of his brandy as the waiter leaves.
Sarah sees that Eddie seems somber, preoccupied.
What is it, Eddie?
(looks at the check)
Want another drink?
What do you want to tell me?
Well, I, uh, I'll be leaving town for a little
For how long?
Oh, I don't know.
A week? A year?
More like a week. Look, I'll be back.
Sure. Let's go home.
She picks up her purse and gloves and leaves.
63 EXT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT
It is raining heavily. Sarah emerges from the building and leans
wearily against the awning. Eddie, having hurriedly paid the bill,
follows after her. He catches up with Sarah, taking her by the
arm, and stepping out into the street to hail a cab.
She angrily breaks away from him and walks out into the rain.
No, I want to walk.
(running after her)
Come here. Come on, now.
Eddie grabs Sarah and starts to pull her back under the awning.
64 INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
The door opens and the two of them enter, thoroughly drenched.
You better get some dry things on.
She walks to a chair, limping noticeably.
Don't you want to know where I'm going?
(collapses into a chair)
Yes, I want to know what for. But I don't want
I'm going to Kentucky. To Louisville. With a
friend. Try to make some money. I need it, the
money. I'll be leaving early in the morning.
Oh, grow up.
Why should I?
Sarah, I'm going to Kentucky to play pool, with
a guy by the name of Findley. Now, I need the
action and I need the money. I told you I'd be
If you were going to come back you wouldn't
have taken me out tonight. You wouldn't have
bought this dress. You're hustling me, Eddie.
You've never stopped hustling me.
Now, I never hustled you. Even when I thought I
was. You know it.
What do you want me to do? Just sit here and
wait? Faithful little Sarah. Pull the shades
down and sit. When you feel like coming back,
you'll come back. And you'll love me. And then
you'll go away again. Is that your idea of
I got no idea of love. And neither have you. I
mean, neither one of us would know what it was
if we saw it coming down the street.
I'd know it, Eddie. I'd know. For God's sakes,
what are you trying to do to me? I love you.
Well, what's your idea of love? Chains?
I made you up, didn't I, Eddie? You weren't
real. I made you up, like everything else.
There was no car crash, Eddie. When I was five,
I had polio. I was never an actress. The rich
old man is my father. He walked out on us when
I was seven. He sends me a check every month.
That's how he buys his way out of my life. The
men I've known ... after they left, I'd say
they weren't real, I made them up. But you,
Eddie. I wanted you to be real.
He reaches across and pulls her to him, burying his face in her head.
I'm so scared, Eddie ... I'm scared.
65 EXT. STREET - MORNING
Bert Gordon leans on the hood of a cab. His face drops when he sees
Eddie and Sarah walking toward him. Eddie cares two suitcases and his
leather cue case. He sets the suitcases on the curb and the cab driver
moves to take them. Courteously, Bert opens the door of the taxi for
Eddie and Sarah.
Sarah Packard ... Bert Gordon.
Miss Packard. How do you do?
Sarah eyes Bert distrustfully and starts to get in the cab.
66 INT. TRAIN COMPARTMENT - DAY
Eddie, Sarah, and Bert squeeze through the door of the train
(to a redcap, off luggage)
That brown one's mine. It goes in drawing room
A, huh? Thanks.
The redcap exits, carrying the luggage.
(to redcap, off compartment door)
I got it, I got it.
Eddie shuts the door. Bert and Sarah sit across from each other.
You sure you going to be comfortable enough
there, Miss ... ah ... ?
Packard. Sarah Packard.
It always takes me a little while to get a name
fixed in my mind. Are you sure you don't want
No, I'm fine.
You, uh, you ever been to Louisville during
Derby week, Miss, ah, Packard?
I've never been to Louisville.
Lots of action. Lots of money.
(to Eddie, seated beside him)
Lots of class. You'll see some of the
best-dressed and most beautiful women in the
world at the races. Knock your eye out.
67 INT. TRAIN DINING ROOM - MORNING
The Kentucky-bound train rolls down the track. Bert and Eddie finish
their breakfast coffee in the dining room. Sarah is in the washroom.
James Findley is a very rich man. Grandfather
left him twenty per cent of a tobacco company.
What? And he -- he hustles pool?
He's a gentleman. Gentleman gambler. He gets
his kicks playing with hustlers. He's got an
old Southern mansion with a pool table in the
basement, drinks eight-year-old bourbon, smokes
How good is he?
I don't know. Never saw him play. They say
he's one of the best.
Sarah makes her way down the aisle and joins them at the table.
Soon as I finish my coffee.
She stands there, lips pursed, absorbing the insult.
You must have a lot of confidence in me.
I don't. But I got confidence in Findley.
What's that supposed to mean?
Means I got confidence that he's a loser. All
the way a loser. You happen to be about only
one-half loser -- the other half, winner.
(off his coffee)
Bert gets up and reaches in his pocket for his billfold.
Here, I got it.
No, no. When you play for me, I pick up all the
Eddie and Sarah just stare at him.
68 INT. TRAIN CLUB CAR - NIGHT
They are at a table, sipping drinks. Bert shuffles a deck of cards as
he talks. Eddie, like a schoolboy, listens intently. Sarah sits apart,
watching them both.
Fats knew the game was in the clutch, knew
he had to do something to stop ya. He played
I played that game, Bert. In my head I played
it a thousand times.
Play it again. Learn something.
(laughs, to Sarah)
Fats went in the john, see? Washed his face,
cleaned his fingernails, made his mind a blank,
combed his hair, came back all ready to go.
You were through. You saw him, you saw how he
looked. Clean, all set to start all over again.
Hold tight and push hard. You know what you
were doing? You were waitin' to get beat.
Flattened out on your butt, swimmin' around in
glory. And whisky. Probably deciding how you
What makes you know so much? How do you know
what Eddie was thinking?
I know. Been there myself. We've all been there,
haven't we, Miss Packard?
Eddie glances at Sarah who stares mutely at Bert.
(takes a cigarette)
Got a match, Eddie?
Eddie reaches across to light Bert's cigarette with the lighter Sarah
gave him. Bert's own lighter is on the table, before him. Sarah sees
it, picks it up, and sparks it into flame.
Doesn't your lighter work, Mr. Gordon?
Oh, I forgot all about it.
(to Eddie, who still holds the flame)
How's the hands?
Good. I'd hate to think I was putting my
money on a cripple.
Hey, whaddya say something like that for?
It's all right, Eddie. I'm sure Mr. Gordon
meant no offense. It was a figure of speech.
That's right, Miss Packard.
And a fact is a fact.
She's a smart girl, Eddie.
Bert goes back to shuffling his deck of cards.
69 INT. LOUISVILLE HOTEL LOBBY - NIGHT
The lobby is thronged with gamblers and their women, sportsmen,
tourists, all there for the Derby. A jazz combo can be heard over the
din of their voices. Eddie, looking excited, leads Sarah through the
crowd. Behind them is Bert, his face now shaded by dark glasses,
following a bellhop to the main desk.
Right this way, Mr. Gordon.
He forces his way through some people to get to the desk.
Here you are, Mr. Gordon.
Look, I-I wired ahead for two suites adjoining.
I don't recall.
Well, I do. I want two suites.
Well, I'm sorry, Mr. Gordon. We're filled up.
This is Derby week.
Bert displays a neatly folded wad of money in his hand.
Look, son, you've got it all wrong. You must
have gotten my wire. Look through your
(artfully accepts cash bribe)
I'll see what I can do ... You were right, Mr.
Gordon. I mislaid your wire. Uh, two adjoining
Eddie laughs and moves toward the open door leading to the billiard
rooms. His face glows as he watches the flow of men moving in and out
of the crowded room, and hears the sound of clicking pool balls. He
tucks his cue case under his arm and turns to Bert and Sarah who join
You know, that's real sweet music in there.
You can almost smell the action and the money.
You know, I can feel it right down in the
bottom of my shoes.
Come on, let's go...
Before they can head to their rooms, a small, neatly groomed man
(shaking his hand warmly)
Hey, Billy, how are ya?
Fast Eddie. I didn't know you were here.
Everybody's here. It's like a hustler's
convention. The Whetstone Kid, Johnny Jumbo.
C'mon in. The guys'll be glad to see you.
What room are you in?
I'll be up later.
Sarah turns toward the elevators, with Bert behind her, jiggling his
70 INT. HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT
The bellboy unlocks the door and Sarah enters. The doors to the other
suite are open. As she catches sight of Bert arranging things with the
bellboy she closes one door. The bellboy leaves as she moves to close
Oh, wait a minute, Miss Packard.
We're neighbors now. You can call me Sarah.
He comes to the door, holding it open.
I want to talk to you.
Do we need words?
Yeah, I think we do. We could try to cut each
other up. But that would be bad for everybody.
Bad for me, bad for you. And worst of all, be
bad for Eddie.
You know what's good for him?
For whom and for what?
For what makes the world go round. For money,
and for glory.
You didn't answer my first question. For whom?
All right. Today for me, tomorrow for himself.
No, there's no tomorrow. Not with you. You own
all the tomorrows because you buy them today,
and you buy cheap.
Well, nobody has to sell.
He turns away.
(turns back to her, savagely)
Listen, Miss Ladybird, you're here on a
rain check and I know it. You're hanging on by
your nails. You let that glory whistle blow
loud and clear for Eddie and you're a wreck on
a railroad track. You're a horse that finished
last. So don't make trouble, Miss Ladybird.
Live and let live. While you can.
There is a long pause as he glares at her.
I'll make it up to you.
You tell me.
He goes back into his room. She closes the door and leans against it.
71 EXT. RACETRACK - DAY
Screams are heard as the horses jerk out of the starting gate to begin
72 INT. RACETRACK BAR - DAY
Eddie cashes in a winning ticket
(to the cashier)
Eddie moves through the ornate racetrack bar to join Sarah at a table.
Sarah has been drinking.
He went off someplace.
Well, that old lovin' horse paid twenty-two
(counts his money)
Let's see ... two hundred I won from the jockey
last night. And today at the track ... I got
five hundred and forty bucks.
(folds it up)
Here, you hold it.
Just for luck.
As she puts the money in her purse, Bert sits down.
Hey, Findley's here.
Over there by the bar.
We see Findley, studying his program and holding a drink in his hand.
He is tall and refined, with a pale, debauched, yet oddly youthful face
that some men of forty or more sometimes have. A cork-tipped cigarette
dangles from his fingers.
Aren't you gonna go over and talk to him?
Nah. Sit tight. He'll be over here.
Findley spots Bert, takes a long drag on his cigarette, and saunters
Are you ready for another?
Bert points to Eddie.
No, no more for me.
(joins them, speaks in a soft
Southern drawl, to Bert)
Well, hello. Haven't seen you in a long time.
Well, hello. Haven't been here for a long time.
Ah, Miss Packard, Eddie Felson ... James ...
Bert snaps his fingers, pretending to forget Findley's name.
Glad to meet you.
And I you.
(shakes Eddie's hand)
I think I've heard about you, Mr. Felson. You
play pocket billiards, don't you?
Now and then. Why, do you?
A little, although I'm afraid I generally lose.
So does Eddie.
Well, I win sometimes.
I'll bet you do, Mr. Felson. I'll just bet you
Bert, I believe Mr. Felson's making a
Well, Mr. Felson, maybe you could come out to
my place some evening. We could play a few
games of billiards.
You're very direct, Mr. Felson.
That's right. When?
Would you like to come out tonight?
I'm having some people over for drinks right
after the races. Why don't you all come over?
Then about nine, ten o'clock we can play.
We'll be there.
He nods to them all, and leaves.
If you don't mind I think I'll stay at the
Well, what's the matter?
(her voice slurred)
I'm a little tired.
C'mon, there'll be a lot of laughs. Findley's
parties are famous. He invites everybody from
top to bottom, from high society to every tout,
hustler, and tramp in town. That's another way
he has of gettin' his kicks. It excites him to
be around what he calls the criminal type. Some
men are like that.
Some women too.
Sarah gives Bert a look.
73 INT. FINDLEY'S PARTY - NIGHT
The camera tilts upward from a Dixieland combo blaring out a bouncy
tune to find Sarah, descending the stairs, looking on at the party
below. Holding the rail with one hand, and a champagne glass in the
other, she maneuvers her way down the steps. She stops a waitress on
the way upstairs and exchanges her glass for a new one. We follow her
unsteady, doll-like descent. She moves slowly, dreamily past the combo;
past Eddie, who is cornered by a chic blonde in a low-cut dress;
past Findley, alone with his drink, observing his guests; past the
bleary-eyed couples on the dance floor, until she comes to the bar.
Bert is there too, his head bobbing to the Dixie beat, his eyes running
over her body so plainly covered by a cotton print dress. Spinning away
from him, she takes her glass and goes to a corner of the room. Bert
walks casually to her side. He leans over and whispers something in her
ear. Her face hardens. Angrily she turns and throws her champagne in
his face and smashes her glass on the floor. Then she starts to cry and
starts to fall, but Bert holds her up by the shoulders. The music
stops. The dance couples strain to get a look at what has happened.
Eddie shoves through the gawking crowd.
What's the matter? What happened?
It's all right. She had a little too much to
drink, that's all. Forget it.
Go upstairs and sleep it off.
Eddie tries to take her in his arms, but she beats on his chest,
sobbing, unable to make words.
Hey, c'mon. Cut it out! Do what he says. Come
Eddie drags her limp, trembling body across the dance floor to the
stairs. Bert watches them go, wiping the champagne off his coat lapels.
The music starts up again.
74 INT. AN UPSTAIRS COAT ROOM - TIME LAPSE
A Negro maid sits patiently in the room, watching over Sarah and the
coats that Sarah is lying on. A woman enters and, disgusted, pushes
Sarah off her fur coat. Eddie appears in the doorway. The woman takes
her coat and leaves. Eddie looks at Sarah for a moment, then turns and
75 INT. BILLIARD ROOM AT FINDLEY'S - NIGHT
Findley, drink and cork-tipped cigarette in hand, escorts Bert and
Eddie down the stairs to his game room. It is a beautifully appointed
salon, wood-paneled, filled with plush divans and decorated with terra-
cotta Roman statuary. In the center of the room is the billiard table,
now covered by a cloth. Findley goes to the bar.
You gentlemen care for a drink?
(steps briskly into the room)
No, none for me. Come on, let's play.
By all means.
Eddie eagerly pulls back the cloth that covers the table. But it's not
a pool table -- it's a billiard table.
I thought we came here to play pool.
I don't play pool, Mr. Felson. I play billiards.
My house, my game. You don't have to play if
you don't want to.
Well, we won't.
C'mon, Bert. Let me play him.
Oh, we'll start small ... a hundred dollars a
You ever played billiards before?
You hustlin' me?
I'm sure Mr. Felson knows what he's doing.
Certainly you can afford a hundred dollars to
Deal the cards.
Eddie finishes uncovering the table. Bert takes a seat. Findley has a
mischievous look on his face as he brings out a cloth bag and pours out
the three billiard balls on the table.
76 INT. BILLIARD GAME - TIME LAPSE
Eddie shoots. His red ball ricochets off the shoulder and returns to
kiss the third ball.
Beautiful shot, Felson. Beautiful. You've
played billiards before, Mr. Felson. Ah, you
gentlemen sure you don't care for a drink?
Oh no, nothing for me.
Findley steps up to the bar, leaving Bert and Eddie alone.
How do we stand?
When do I raise the bet?
I don't know.
Bert, if that's his best game, I can beat him.
Level with me, Eddie. You ever play billiards
What's the difference? You got a pool cue,
balls on the table. All you gotta do is get the
feel of it.
(returns with a fresh drink)
Like to raise the stakes, Mr. Felson?
Oh, about five hundred.
Do you really think you can beat him?
Of course he thinks he can beat me, Bert. He
wouldn't be playing me if he didn't. Right,
I didn't ask him can he beat you. I already
know he can beat you. I asked him will he? With
Eddie, that's two different things.
I can beat him.
All right. Five hundred.
Findley points to a statue on a table behind the couch. It is a figure
of Pan, with horns sticking up through his curly head, and the legs of
a goat extending down below his waist.
Have you noticed, Bert? This fellow here bears
a striking resemblance to you. It seems as
though you might have modeled for the artist.
77 INT. BILLIARD GAME - TIME LAPSE
Findley completes a shot, then lays his cue gently on the table and
goes to the bar.
Mark that one up too, Bert.
Eddie, his coat off, rubs his hand nervously.
I'll beat him the next game.
(toying with his billfold)
How're the hands?
Well, rack up your cue. We're leavin'.
That seems a shame. The night is young.
The night is two thousand dollars old.
Hey, Bert. Wait a minute!
I said we're leavin'.
Bert turns his back on Eddie and joins Findley at the bar. Eddie stands
helplessly for a moment. Findley pours a drink as Eddie approaches.
I can beat him, Bert. Now he suckered me 'cause
he knows how to hustle. I didn't think he did.
But I can outplay him. I can beat him.
I don't believe you, Eddie. I think you're
still a loser.
All right, then. I'll play him with my own
He reaches in his pocket, then remembers that he gave his money to
I'll be right back.
He bounds up the stairs.
78 INT. UPSTAIRS COAT ROOM - NIGHT
He bursts into the room, goes past Sarah, stretched out on the bed, and
takes the money out of her purse. She is facing away from him but her
eyes are open. She listens to him as he shuts the door loudly on his
79 INT. THE BILLIARD ROOM - NIGHT
Eddie leaps down the stairs, two at a time.
Okay, c'mon. Let's play.
Bert eyes Eddie with controlled rage as the two get ready to play again.
80 INT. BILLIARD ROOM - TIME LAPSE
A game has just ended as Sarah quietly descends the stairs. She stands
at the rail, listening.
There it is. I'm broke.
Ah, that's unfortunate, Mr. Felson.
For who, Mr. Findley? ... Bert, he only beat me
by one point. Now, you can't get off me now.
The bank is closed.
Bert sits with his shoes up on the couch.
Please don't get off me now.
I know when to quit. You don't. Win or lose,
you don't know when to quit.
(down on one knee)
What do you want me to do, huh? What do you
want me to do? Just say it and you got it but
PLEASE don't get off me now.
(from the stairs)
Don't beg him, Eddie.
Eddie turns and sees her.
Go on back to the hotel.
Please, Eddie, don't beg him.
Would you go on back to the hotel? Take a cab,
go on back to the hotel.
Doesn't all of this come through to you, Eddie?
Doesn't any of this mean anything to you? That
man, this place, the people. They wear masks,
Eddie. And underneath the masks they're
perverted, twisted, crippled.
His eyes are shut tight; his balled-up fists rub against his temples.
(moving to him)
Don't wear a mask, Eddie. You don't have to.
(points to Bert)
That's Turk, Eddie, the man who broke your
thumbs. Only he's not going to break your
thumbs. He'll break your heart, your guts. And
for the same reason -- 'cause he hates you,
'cause of what you are. 'Cause of what you have
and he hasn't.
Would you get off my back, Sarah? Once and for
all, will you get out, will you GET OFF MY
There is a long pause.
Go ahead and play him, Eddie. Play him for a
thousand dollars a game.
A stunned Eddie moves to the billiard table. Defeated, Sarah turns and
goes up the stairs. The men return to the table to continue their game.
Bert, deeply satisfied, puts on his coat and sits to watch the action.
81 INT. FINDLEY'S DEN - TIME LAPSE
A shaken Findley flops into a leather swivel chair. A bucket of iced
champagne sits on the desk, ready to be emptied. Findley puffs on his
cigarette as he looks at the impatient face of Bert, slouching in the
chair across from him. Eddie leans against a wall nearby. He is quiet,
Will you take a check, Bert?
How much do I owe you?
Findley reaches nervously for the bottle, gulps at his drink. Then he
unlocks his desk drawer and takes out the money. Eddie looks on as
Findley gives the money to Bert.
Been an interestin' evening.
Yeah, sure has.
(to a valet)
Charles, will you call a cab for these
I'd show you to the door, but I ...
Oh yeah, yeah. You're tired.
Yeah. You must come again.
Eddie moves to leave. Findley and Bert watch him go.
82 INT. FINDLEY'S FOYER - NIGHT
Eddie waits for Bert to come down the stairs.
There's your share. Three thousand.
The cab's waiting.
Oh, yeah. Here. Thanks ... C'mon, Eddie, let's
I wanna walk.
It's a long walk.
I got time, Bert.
You want me to tell her for you?
Tell her what?
You gotta be hard, Eddie.
Eddie abruptly turns and walks out of the house. Bert watches him for
a moment then follows.
83 INT. BERT'S HOTEL SUITE - LATE NIGHT
Bert enters his suite, removes his overcoat, then looks at the door
that divides his room from Sarah's. He seems hesitant, unsure of
himself. He pours himself a drink and downs it in one gulp, walks to
the door, listens, and opens it himself without knocking. Sarah is
there, seated primly on the bed. There is a drink in her hand, and a
suitcase beside her on the bed. Bert enters her suite and confronts
When are you leaving?
Sarah's voice is subdued, controlled.
In a little while. That's what you want, isn't
It's what Eddie wants. He, uh, told me to give
you some money.
He stands over her, pulling a wad of bills from his pocket.
Put it on the bed. That's the way it's done,
(tossing it there)
That's the way it's done.
And the way you're looking at me, is that the
way you look at a man you've just beaten? As if
you'd just taken his money, and now all you
want is ... his pride?
All I want's the money.
Sure, sure, just the money, and the
aristocratic pleasure of seeing him fall apart.
You're a Roman, Bert. You have to win them all.
He picks her up and tries to kiss her but she is cold and limp in his
arms, so he lets go and she drops back on the bed. Then he turns and
walks back into his room. She waits for a moment. Then she takes a
cigarette out of a pack, gets up, and goes into his room.
(at the door)
You got a drink?
84 INT. BERT'S HOTEL SUITE - TIME LAPSE
In the bathroom mirror we see Bert asleep on his bed. The sheets are
rumpled and tossed about. Then we see Sarah, in her slip, enter the
bathroom and shut the door. She takes out her lipstick and scrawls
across the image of herself in the glass "Perverted, twisted,
crippled." She underlines the word "crippled."
85 INT. HOTEL LOBBY - EARLY MORNING
Eddie is just getting back. He walks through the lobby, ignoring the
uniformed policeman standing nearby, and stops at the desk.
Give me my key, please. Room fifty-seven.
The concierge stares dumbly.
Well, c'mon, give me my key.
The concierge hands it to him. Eddie walks quickly toward the elevators.
86 INT. HOTEL SUITE - TIME LAPSE
He enters, sees the money on Sarah's bed, puts down his cue case, and
turns to see a crowd in the adjoining room. Bert, laying in bed, talks
to a plainclothesman who stands over him, taking notes. A photographer
with a flash camera stands by the bathroom.
Now, let's go over this again. You say you
were in the other room...
No, she closed the door. I told you she closed
the door. I was in the other room. She closed
the door, went in there, maybe, I don't know,
ten minutes, five minutes...
Bert stops when he sees Eddie through the open door. A uniformed
policeman bars Eddie's entrance.
(to the policeman)
Hey. Let him come in, huh?
Eddie comes in. He looks at the detectives around Bert's bed.
The photographer's bulb flashes as he takes a picture of the bathroom.
Eddie pushes by the photographer, then stops as he sees Sarah's body
laid out on the tiled floor. He drops to his knees beside her.
Eddie reaches out to touch her, then pulls back his hand. Bert appears
at the bathroom door behind him.
Eddie? She come in here, Eddie. She asked me
for a drink. I give her one. We had a few more.
Eyes closed, he writhes as he listens to Bert.
Eddie, she came in here.
Suddenly he uncoils and lunges at Bert, grasping him by the throat and
pushing him back. A policeman untangles them, but Eddie breaks free. We
hear Bert scream as he squirms along the floor trying to avoid Eddie's
87 INT. AMES POOL HALL - LATE AFTERNOON
Minnesota Fats sits in his chair, engrossed in the afternoon paper. Big
John is at a pool table, trying out a few shots. Bert, in dark glasses,
stands near the cashier's cage, chucking dice into a leather shaker.
The noise of the dice echoes in the slow, late afternoon gloom of Ames.
When Bert sees Eddie push open the glass doors, he draws himself up
fearfully like a turtle, and motions with his eyes to his men for
protection. Eddie, his cue case tucked under his arm, walks straight
toward him. He stops, stares at him for a moment, then turns and walks
over to Minnesota Fats.
I came to play pool, Fats.
(after a glance at Bert)
That's good, Eddie. For how much?
You name it.
Thousand dollars a game.
Let's make it three thousand dollars a game,
Fats. C'mon, three thousand dollars. That's my
bankroll, my life's savings.
What's the matter, Fats? All you gotta do is
beat me the first game and I'm on my way back
Fats rises, ready to play. Eddie starts to screw his cue together.
Get on me, Bert. I can't lose.
He turns to join Fats at the table. The balls are already racked and
Willie collects their stake money and prepares to toss the coin.
Preacher, Big John draw up their chairs around the table. Bert also
takes a seat, but far away, near the coat rack.
Willie taps Fats on the lapel. It's his break. Sausage sends the cue
ball down the table and the game begins at once. Fats makes a good
break, leaving the cue ball teetering over the far corner pocket. He
looks up at Eddie, and steps back. Eddie looks at the lineup of the
balls. Then he sets down his cue and walks over to the washroom. He
glances at Bert as he sprinkles the powder on his hands.
How shall I play that one, Bert? Play it safe?
That's the way you always told me to play it,
safe, play the percentage. Well, here we
go ... fast and loose.
He turns and snatches up his cue.
One ball, corner pocket.
(chalks his cue, lines up his shot)
Yeah, percentage players die broke too, don't
He rams a bank shot into the pack. The one ball rolls in, while others
scatter about the table. The crowd applauds. Eddie moves swiftly to his
next shot. As he plays, he talks to Bert.
How can I lose? Twelve ball.
(shot goes in)
I mean, how can I lose? Because you were right,
Bert. I mean, it's not enough that you just
have talent. You gotta have character too. Four
(shot goes in, a pause)
Yeah and I sure got character now. I picked it
up in a hotel room in Louisville.
Bert and Fats exchange glances.
(from his seat)
Shoot pool, Fast Eddie.
I'm shootin' pool, Fats. When I miss you can
Eddie returns to his game and Fats waits for his turn, puffing steadily
on his cigarette. Bert shifts uneasily in his chair and we hear the
pool balls knock together, then slowly roll down the track through the
belly of the table.
(shot goes in)
... Fourteen ball.
(shot goes in)
... Four ball.
The shot goes in. Eddie looks significantly at Fats who lowers his eyes
and puffs on his cigarette.
88 INT. THE GAME - TIME LAPSE
The balls are racked. Eddie sinks shots right and left -- some tricky,
some not. Bert and Fats exchange uneasy looks. Eddie circles the table
like a hawk. Then, Fats is up; his jacket is off, his tie is pulled
loose. He makes a shot, chalks his cue.
It's a hard shot and he misses. Eddie moves to take his shot, ignoring
Bert looks on. But Eddie is shooting pool now, making all his shots
quickly and accurately. A depressed Fats watches him shoot.
89 INT. THE GAME - TIME LAPSE
The clock over the door reads six o'clock. Fats is still in his seat.
He has a drink in his hand.
I quit, Eddie. I can't beat you. Willie, give
him the stakes.
(rises, to Bert)
You got yourself a pool player.
(softly, as he counts his money)
Preacher, gimme my coat, will ya?
Where do you think you're going?
Eddie slips into the jacket, helped by Preacher.
YOU OWE ME MONEY!
And just how do you figure that, Bert? What do
you figure I owe you?
In Louisville it was seventy-five per cent.
Well, here it's half.
What if I don't pay ya, Bert?
You don't pay me? You gonna get your thumbs
(stands up and paces)
And your fingers. And if I want them to, your
right arm in three or four places.
Better pay him, Eddie.
Eddie unscrews his cue, thinking it over. Bert's bodyguards stand
around, waiting for the word.
So you figure you're still my manager, huh?
I'm a businessman, kid.
Well, you got a lot of games lined up for me?
Yeah, we're gonna make a lotta money together,
from now on.
Fifty per cent?
No, it don't have to be fifty. It can be
thirty ... twenty-five.
We really stuck the knife in her, didn't we,
Boy, we really gave it to her good.
If it didn't happen in Louisville, it'd
happened someplace else. If it didn't happen
now, it'd happen six months from now. That's
the kinda dame she was.
And we twisted it, didn't we, Bert? Course,
maybe that doesn't stick in your throat cause
you spit it out just like you spit out
everything else. But it sticks in mine. I loved
her, Bert. I traded her in on a pool game. But
that wouldn't mean anything to you. Because who
did you ever care about? Just win, win, you
said, win, that's the important thing. You don't
know what winnin' is, Bert. You're a loser.
'Cause you're dead inside, and you can't live
unless you make everything else dead around ya.
Fats listens, his head bowed.
Too high, Bert. Price is too high. Because
if I take it, she never lived, she never died.
And we both know that's not true, Bert, don't
we, huh? She lived, she died. Boy, you better
... You tell your boys they better kill me,
Bert. They better go all the way with me.
Because if they just bust me up, I'll put all
those pieces back together again, and so help
me, so help me God, Bert ... I'm gonna come
back here and I'm gonna kill you.
Bert's men start to move forward but he stops them with a gesture of
his hand. He tries to smile. A friendly smile.
All right ... All right.
Eddie puts away his cue.
Only, uh, don't ever walk into a big-time pool
Eddie just stares at Bert, then looks over at the downcast face of
Fat man ...
Fats looks up at Eddie.
... you shoot a great game of pool.
(saluting him with
his glass of whisky)
So do you, Fast Eddie.
Eddie takes his cue case and heads for the door. He stops for a moment,
looks around at the rows of empty tables, and goes out. Then Ames
returns to normal. Fats puts on his coat; Henry sweeps up. And Bert
takes his seat again on his throne overlooking Ames, sipping his glass