The movie was adapted by Sidney Carroll and Robert Rossen from the novel by Walter Tevis. It was directed by Rossen.
It won Academy Awards for Best Art Directions-Set Decoration, Black-and-White and Best Cinematography, Black-and-White and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Paul Newman), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (George C. Scott, who refused the nomination), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jackie Gleason), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Piper Laurie), Best Director (Robert Rossen), Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.
Newman played the same role of "Fast" Eddie Felson as an older and wiser man in the 1986 film The Color of Money, directed by Martin Scorsese.
The original film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.