My Cinema

16 September 2020

Best Casino Films Ever Made

By // Cinema

There is never a dull movie whose theme revolves around gambling. Some of the most captivating movies in history have thrilling scenes in casinos or feature a game of cards. Over the past sixty years, there have been hundreds of gambling films released, most of them shooting straight to box office success.

If you are spoilt of choice on what to watch, perhaps it is time to revisit some of these classics. Our world has changed of late, and as everything goes online, casino scenes in movies are gradually becoming less realistic as they should be.

It would be interesting to see if one day there was a film regarding online casinos, where you can play games such as online pokies, as the gambling market starts to shift more online based. Here are five of the best casino films ever made that you should consider watching – because they are that good.

1. The Sting

The 1973 hit classic was a classic gambling film set in September 1936. It tells the complicated tale of two grifters: one a pro (Paul Newman) and the other a rookie (Robert Redford) attempting to con a mob boss (Robert Shaw).

Based on a true story, the movie follows the duo as they explore their love for gambling and their confidence games. The plot of The Sting is filled with twists and turns that were new to grifting films at the time the film was released.

However, it was the protagonists’ encounters with their marks, and the danger they were constantly in that wins the film the most acclaim. If you like suspense-filled thrillers with nail-biting encounters, you must watch The Sting.

2. Casino

The 1995 film Casino, directed by Martin Scorsese, is one of the greatest gambling films. It is based on Nicholas Pileggi’s nonfiction novel Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas. The film stars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone.

Casino is the story of Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein (De Niro) tasked with overseeing the operations of the mafia-owned Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. His is an exciting tale of an enforcer who gradually evolves as he grows to become the casino owner.

As his behavior becomes increasingly erratic, he becomes more of a danger to himself and his partner. Add to the mix the charms of the seductive Sharon Stone, and you have a full-blown harrowing tale of a psychotic mob boss.

3. Casino Royale

You only need to know that Casino Royale is a James Bond film to appreciate the intricacies of the film’s plot. The star, Daniel Craig, having just earned his license to kill, goes after a notorious terrorist financier Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) and his lot.

The film is action-packed, full of drama, and best characterized as an adventurous thriller. As the star of the film chases down and takes out the bad guys, it treats the viewer to showdowns of high-stakes poker games in luxurious casinos.

Watching this film, you get the chance to witness jaw-dropping fights and behind-the-scenes action in Montenegro and the Grand Canals of Venice.

4. 21

Do heist films with their convoluted storylines keep you on the edge of your seat? If so, the 2008 film 21, directed by Robert Luketic, is a must-watch.

Aptly named after the BlackJack game, 21 is based on a true story. The modern classing gambling movie is a story of a mathematics professor (Kevin Spacey). It tells how he trains a group of his students to count cards in casinos on the Vegas strip.

The film is a thrilling and flowing story of trickery and heart-breaking betrayal that is hard to believe actually happened. It is a fantastic film to watch for blackjack lovers and anyone seeking to understand how card counting works.

5. The Gambler

The Gambler is another story that revolves around a misguided genius. In this 1974 film, James Caan plays a gambling-addicted professor, Axel Freed, spiraling into self-destruction.

When he hits rock-bottom and has borrowed money from his girlfriend and mother, he grows a conscience. Too bad and too late for him, the bad guys are already hunting him down to get their money back.

The film builds up to a brilliant climax, though. The gambler has to gamble his way out of the problems he gambled himself into. If you are a gambling purist, you will identify with the story of Alex Freed and the real-life risks of gambling.

Final Thoughts

There are many more gambling and casino films that could pass as among the best. These five rank highly amongst them. When you feel like reliving the age of the brick-and-mortar casino, grab one of these films and let it take you back, way back, in time.


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