We’ve all watched a lot of different casino movies and never really took note of the work that goes into it. A casino – be it land-based or a casino online – is a vivacious and diverse space, hosting all kinds of different folks that are into various games.
We’ve all seen the Oceans series, and a whole bunch of other movies set in a casino, but do they really portray the multi-layered culture that goes into a casino?
We’ve compiled a list of the top ten casino movies that are actually about the casino, its dynamics, and its multifaceted culture.
The 1973 production won 7 Academy Awards, including best picture, music, and writing. It stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford as two men stuck dealing with having to pay a criminal. They decide to put together a team of con-men to make bank in the casinos.
When things go sideways, the two protagonists are forced to improvise under a lot of pressure.
The movie is incredible, from its production to the soundtrack as well as the cast and the setting. George Roy Hill directed a masterpiece that was way ahead of its time and gave his audience one of the first casino- centered motion pictures.
The 2006 production gets very tense. Our favorite man, with a license to kill, agent 007 for the first time, is forced to play against Le Chiffre, the world’s most prominent terrorist banker. Bond is asked to fly to Montenegro and with the help of some of his team-members, play a tense poker game against Le Chiffre.
Bond is of course armed with a stunning young woman alongside his very well-trained team. The stakes are high, Bond has just become 00 agent, and for the first time, he learns not to trust anyone.
The Montenegro-based casino looks as authentic and real as a casino can look on a screen, and since the stakes are this high, the movie will keep you at the edge of your seat throughout the entire time.
As in a real casino, there isn’t a dull moment in the motion picture.
The 1991 production is known to be one of the most emotionally-driven casino movies made in modern times.
Bugsy, the man who claimed to have made Las Vegas what it is, is a crazy psychotic mobster from New York.
He goes from New York to Los Angeles for a new business venture. In L.A. he meets and falls in love with Virginia, a Hollywood actress. Being as impulsive as he is, he buys an actor’s house for more money than it’s worth, buys a car from the street, and decide to open a casino hotel in Nevada, where gambling is legal.
He leaves his wife and daughter back in New York, is skimmed by both Virginia and his closest friends, and gets stuck in a vicious cycle because of his casino dreams.
The 1998 production goes way deeper than competitive gambling. It’s about Jack Manfred, who learned to be a croupier in a casino in South Africa.
He moves to London, gets the same job, and is just as good at it. He’s an aspiring writer and distancing himself as he works at and observes the casino, his protagonist starts taking over.
Slowly but surely, he starts letting his alter ego, his protagonist, take over and break casino rules. He also starts bending his very own principles and pushing many boundaries.
The 1998 production features a down and out gambler who lost everything in Vegas and is offered an opportunity to learn from someone who’s navigated the Vegas waters a handful of times.
They go to Vegas, and everything goes well until one of them falls for a hooker with a lousy pimp while the other starts receiving threats about a murder he’d committed in the past.
Things quickly spiral out of control, making for an exciting and thrilling motion picture.
This 2003 motion picture is about a bank manager with access to ludicrous amounts of money and suffering from a personal gambling addiction.
It’s a true story about a very reputable bank manager who managed to embezzle tens of millions of dollars from a Canadian bank to feed his insatiable gambling addiction.
Stuck in a cycle of winning and playing his wins till he’s lost them until he loses all touch with and control of his life and gets sent to jail.
Another true story about a young aspiring medical student who is semi-coerced by his math professor to join an unbeatable gambling team. He joins in order to pay for medical school.
He slowly moves his way up in the team and creates a lot of competitive problems. Furthermore, he’s totally enchanted by the glamorous Las Vega lifestyle.
The student becomes more and more confident, and though he’d promised himself to stop once he’s won his tuition, has trouble stopping when he’s told to. He puts himself in a sticky situation with his team, totally fell behind with his college and personal projects, and completely lost himself in the City of Lights.
This one isn’t as much about gambling as about robbing casino safes. Ocean is released from prison and puts together a team to rob Bellagio’s, the Mirage’s, and MGM Grand’s vaults of 150 million dollars.
The plan is already put together, and so is his team. These casinos’ owner has been seeing Ocean’s ex-wife, Tess. Ocean is determined to serve his revenge in the coldest dish possible.
The Cooler, a 2003 production based in Las Vegas, is about a small underground casino hotel trying to compete with the big names. The owner gets into an argument with one of his escort workers about whether it’s more important to chase the financial dream or to maintain their original identity.
The callgirl refers to the new Las Vegas as a Disneyland, while the patron insists on letting her go and losing his hotel’s identity to the new bling.
The Good Thief
This 2002 is about a middle-aged thief, gambler, and drug addict. He tries to gamble his luck in a casino while juggling friends who betray him and he battles with drug addiction.
The Influence of Casino Movies
Movies and motion pictures are some of the most significant cultural influences in our world. Before movies about casinos made it to the silver screens, poker and gambling were only for the very rich. It is safe to say that it was the movie industry that encouraged a lot of regular Joes to enter the casino world.
These movies not only showed the glamorous casino world but also made casino lingo and slang more commonly understood.