We all love a good casino movie, telling the story of the impulsive gambler who dreams of winning big. These movies speak to the dreamer in all of us, believing we too could be the plucky underdog who beats the odds. This is what makes them such a good topic for film writers, the risk, the reward, the fast-paced edge of your seat action and the glitz and glamour of winning big. Movie buffs cannot get enough. Casino movies have done increasingly well in Germany which isn’t surprising due to the rise of online gambling there in recent years. Casino Baden-Baden is one of the most famous casinos in the world, and definitely provide a real-life James Bond experience.
We walk away from a casino movie at the cinema with the inner gambler in all of us dreaming of the plush casino lifestyles on the Las Vegas strip. We want a taste of what we have witnessed onscreen; the rolling of the dice, the ups and downs of the poker table and the glitzy lights of the turning reels. Previously, however, the Las Vegas lifestyle would have been a pipe dream but not anymore. The explosion of online casino has brought Vegas to our fingertips. With so much option now, casino movie fans can literally finish their favourite casino themed movie and turn on their mobile and create their own gambling stories.
Before you run off and have your own high stakes adventure, why not relive some casino movie classics.
1 – Casino (1995)
There might be some argument about some of the movies on the list, however, Casino has to be the ultimate casino movie of all time. Directed by Martin Scorsese it was based on a book by Nicholas Pileggi and explores the darker side of Las Vegas, with violence hiding behind the glitz of the casino floor. Robert De Niro turned out one of his greatest performances in Casino as an actor as “Ace” Rothenstien, the low-level mobster. The other two characters who’s lives and times were recounted for our entertainment were Nicky Santoro the leading character played by Joe Pesci, and Ginger McKenna the gorgeous call girl with her sexy outfits played by the irresistible Sharon Stone.
2 – Casino Royale (2006)
A good James Bond is always a classic, but Casino Royale was the perfect combination of our favourite secret agent and a casino movie. In this movie, Bond played by Daniel Craig, discovers a plot by a terrorist organisation to raise funds in a series of poker games. The secret agent is left with no choice but to intercept the plan and insert himself into the high stakes game of Casino Royale. In 2006, this was Daniel Craig’s first role as Bond, and film critics then and now still praise the actor for his performance in what is sure to go down as one of the all-time great Bond films.
3 – The Gambler (2014)
Mark Wahlberg stars in this remake of the 70’s classic of the same name. Wahlberg plays Jim Bennet, a professor, who is struggling with his own gambling addiction and ends of in debt to bad guys in a gambling ring after losing a few illegal games of Blackjack. The movie tells the story of how Jim Bennet tries to find ways to raise the funds to pay the gangsters back. This is an enjoyable watch and Wahlberg performances is outstanding.
4 – 21 (2008)
21 was directed by Robert Luketic and includes big names such as Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth. The film tells the story of a group MIT students who have been taught how to count cards. These students then win millions at the hands of a number of casinos, however, it all goes south when the casino catches on to the scam.
5 – Hard Eight (1996)
Hard Eight was the debut film of Paul Thomas Anderson in 1996, and it is a tale of professional gambling in 1960’s. John Hall plays Sydney, a role specifically written for him, a professional gambler who meets a down on his luck character John, played by John Riley. Sydney decides to offer some help to John and teaches him some tricks of the trade, which improves his luck. In steps Clementine, a cocktail waitress played by Gwyneth Paltrow, who is about to rebalance the scales.
6 – Rounders (1998)
Rounders stars Matt Damon as a reformed gambler, Mike McDermott. who has no option but to return to the tables to help his friend, played by Edward Norton. This movie, which was directed by John Dahl, gives a realistic depiction of underworld poker games.
7 – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which performed badly at the box office, is now a cult classic. This is in large part down to the performance of Johnny Depp as Raulo Duke. The plot of the film is a mind-blowing misadventure of two friends travelling from LA to Vegas who end up experimenting with drugs.
8 – The Cooler (2003)
A cooler is someone who are notoriously bad luck, and they are used to jinx players who are winning too much at the casino. In this movie, The Shangri La Casino employ the unlucky Bernie, to stop a player who is taking them for big bucks. Things begin to change for our cooler, however, when he meets cocktail waitress Natalie.
9 – Killing Me Softly (2012)
Gambling and crime are the name of the game in Killing Me Softly. The plot of the movie tells the story of Jackie Coogan, played by Brad Pitt, a crook hired by the Mafia to hunt down fellow crooks who robbed their card game.
10 – Croupier (1998)
Croupier is a movie which looks at the darker side of casino life and explores the lives of people tangled up in it. Directed by Mike Hodges, is this movie Jack Mandfred, portrayed by Clive Owen, is an aspiring writer who becomes as a croupier at a big casino. As he gets mixed up in the world of casinos he finds inspiration for his latest book.