Throughout cinema history, the role of the casino has been an important one. Setting the scene for power struggles, deception, intrigue and of course, winning big. Here are some of the top 5 casino movies of all time.
The epic crime drama Casino is the leader of the pack when it comes to the top ranked casino movies. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film teams Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone as we follow De Niro’s character Ace through his career running the Mafia fronted Tangiers Casino in the ever-evolving gambling industry of Las Vegas. The film has been a fan favourite since 1995 when it also won critical acclaim on release, seeing Stone secure the Golden Globe for best actress for her role as Ginger McKenna along with an Academy Award nomination. Inspired by real people, the Casino story continues to mesmerize and thrill.
Nothing brings to mind a casino setting more than a James Bond movie and Casino Royale is top of the list when it comes to 007 casino show-downs. This 2006 film sees the famous MI6 agent come face-to-face with terrorist financier and money launder Le Chiffre, played by the mercurial Mads Mikklesen, who Bond must bankrupt in a high-stakes poker game. Poker expert Thomas Sandbrook was on hand for filming and the scene is shot with meticulous accuracy and detail, so if you are looking for some No Limit Texas Hold’Em tips, this is the movie to watch. With all the excitement of a real-life poker game, Casino Royale really brings to the big screen the adrenalin rush of gambling in a lavish casino setting. The scene is the epitome of casino chic and Bond girl, Vesper Lynd, brings more than just money to the table, providing a rarely seen meaningful female love interest for Bond, which continues the Casino Royale story arc into Quantum of Solace.
Unlike the previous two films on the list, The Hangover doesn’t quite bring to mind the same level of casino sophistication and high rollers. Instead, the film focuses on a group of regular joes and what happens when a night of bachelor party casino fun goes awry. Outrageous, slap-stick and unapologetically crude, The Hangover is a great casino movie for those after the more hilarious side of Sin City. Featuring unexpected cameos, a missing groom, a bizarre baby subplot and even a tiger, this comedy became a star vehicle for the then relatively unknown Zach Galifianakis as well as one of the highest grossing film of its release year, 2009. The first of three films of the same name, The Hangover is the perfect gross-out comedy and has a plot that will keep you guessing.
The original heist franchise began all the way back in 1960 before being revived in 2001 by director Steven Soderbergh. The 1960’s film cast the Rat Pack, synonymous with casinos and Las Vegas, in this high-speed caper about a group of friends trying to steal millions from an unsuspecting casino boss. George Clooney and Brad Pitt star in the remake and their natural onscreen chemistry helps to create a film that is both light hearted and technically sound, satisfying critics and fans alike. Since then, Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven followed up with two sequels, creating the Ocean’s Trilogy, and even brought an all-female ensemble cast together for the 2018 release, Ocean’s 8.
Following on from their success in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting sees Paul Newman and Robert Redford bring their incomparable partnership to the screen once more as a pair of grifters looking to outsmart the Mob. Inspired by real-life con artists, Fred and Charley Gondorff, The Sting is as exciting today as its 1973 release. The title pays homage to that pivotal moment when a con cashes in and takes money from his unsuspecting target or mark. Although the plot may be a little complex for some, all the twists and turns give rise to plenty of jaw-dropping gambling moments with stakes staying high until the very last frame of the film.
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As you can see, the movie- and the gambling-branch kind of synergize with each other. Hollywood knows to use the exciting and kind of mysterious atmosphere of Casinos for their movies, just as casino businesses target fans of movies with slot games which are much more interesting than the usual classic casino slots we all know, because of implementing movies.