Casino (1995) – Uncompromising must see classic

There are many movies which present casino games from a different perspective and angle. However, the 1995 classic “Casino” is one of the few that capture the complete scene. This film shows all pros and cons of the industry and perfectly blends them while exposing their contrasts. It won’t be long before the viewer notices how politics, corruption, vain, rouge and vice dominate the scene. The environment is presented as a system where there are only two roles-predator and prey. As the plot uncovers, you figure that there’s no chance to predict the characters’ roles or the ending of the movie. 

Based on a true story 

The story is based on actual events. Martin Scorsese once again proves that he understands the bad boys and mafia better than any Hollywood producer. In Goodfellas, he pictured the ups and downs of gangsters’ life, those who fly high up to the sky but hit every rung on the back down. With Mean Streets, he followed the lives of small-time gangsters in Little Italy. The third part in this unofficial trilogy is Casino.

The scenario for this film was born when the news reporter and screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi read a report from the Las Vegas Sun newspaper. It was about an argument between Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal and his wife Geri McGee, a former topless dancer. This gave him an idea to focus on a book about the story of mob infringement in Las Vegas during the 70s. 

The fictional Tangiers resort reflected the story about the Stardust Resort and Casino, which has been bought by Argent Corporation. It was believed that this corporation is controlled by various crime families from the Midwest. Over the next few years, this corporation withdrew over $15 million using rigged scales. This action, later uncovered by the FBI, was the greatest publicly exposed operation by authorities, and several organised crime figures were arrested.

Team De Niro-Scorsese 

Robert De Niro plays Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a professional gambler chosen by the mob to run the biggest casino in town. He is a businessman who wishes to lead a business as legitimate as possible. However, when a childhood friend, the notorious Nicky Santoro turns up with a very different agenda, it’s only a matter of time before cracks in their empire start to show. Santoro’s temper is not in line with the rules of the mafia and he eventually caused enough trouble to be hunted by his own people.

Ginger McKenna portrayed by Sharon Stone is Sam Rothstein’s wife. She is a hustler who knows her way around the Las Vegas glamour, and has a strategy on draining money out of small, unsuspecting players.

The relationship between the characters is very complex and difficult to label. You definitely know that Robert De Niro is the main protagonist, but none of the two lead actors can be considered a supporting role. The story is written in a way that both Ginger and Nicky are crucial to the plot and twist.

The plot is a perfect example of how a perfect money-making business could be ruined by greed and disloyalty. In this case, this movie makes perfect drama material. The casino operations in the film provide a context that greatly contributes to the dramatic effect. Therefore, in the next sentences we’ll focus more on the way that the casino industry is portrayed in this film.

A film about the casino culture 

The script describes events from the pre-digital period. Although there was video surveillance and complex technology behind slot machines, the main tasks and work were done by dealers and croupiers. However, today the experience behind playing casino games has transferred mainly in the online community. Slot games have become more diverse, with many options and themes to choose from – from cartoonish to luxurious and glittery, like this Starburst slot game.  The casino floor is described as a playground where every employee knows their responsibility. They were confidential and efficient enough to protect the interests and reputation of the casino. 

Final thoughts 

If you haven’t seen “Casino” yet, we recommend you to find a bit of spare time and watch it. The film itself represents a great story event, leaving aside the gambling-related moments.If you are a casino player or know the “wise guy” culture, the movie doesn’t have to be explained. If you aren’t, you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled upon a secret meeting place of the mafia, without anyone knowing you were there.

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