The Most Popular Casino Movies from the ’70s to the Modern Day
In the popular culture of the last five decades, casinos and gambling were painted in many different ways. Just type “casino movies” in your Google search bar and the Internet will present you with a wide range of articles that struggle to pin down the top 5, 10 or 20 casino movies ever made. Those lists contain famous motion pictures like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Ocean’s film series, Casino, 21, The Hangover, Casino Royal, Revolver and The Gambler. Maybe you watched some of them. Maybe not. In any case, we, the good netizens of GeekTown, we’re here to offer you some information about six of them, the ones that we thought were the best portrayals of the gambling industry.
The Gambler (1974)
This one is a cautionary tale about the dangers of compulsive gambling and why you should always be a responsible gamer when you’re spending time on your favourite online casinos. To be more precise, it tells the story of Axel Freed, an educated man, a literature professor who loses all his money on gambling and starts borrowing from his girlfriend and mother. When his loved ones can no longer feed his vice, he turns to all sorts of shady figures, which does not end well for him. In spite of all this, he cannot stop gambling. Definitely check this one, even if it may look a bit too old-fashioned for contemporary tastes. Its lesson, though, remains highly relevant even today: never forget to be gamble aware!
Are you a fan of Martin Scorsese and his gangster-themed movies? Did you love Joe Pesci’s stellar yet violent performance in Goodfellas? Well, then Casino, Scorse’s 1995 Oscar-nominated movie may be the perfect match for you. Actually, Goodfellas and Casino are so similar in tone and structure, that you may call the latter “Goodfellas, but with gambling”. Benefiting from some brilliant pieces of acting from stars like Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci, Casino tells a classic tale of greed, money, corruption and murder. Here, gambling is no UKGC regulated safe space. Quite the contrary. Again: if you liked watching Joe Pesci losing his mind in Goodfellas, his character from Casino operates at an even higher level of insanity. We highly recommend you to check this one out if you’re a gambling-oriented movie buff.
Ocean’s film series (2001 – 2018)
Long before the current trend of remakes, reboots and soft reboots, the award-winning director Steven Soderbergh decided to put his very own spin on the 60’s heist classic Ocean’s 11. That’s how, in 2001, Ocean’s Eleven came into being. With an impressive ensemble cast that includes names like Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and the late Bernie Mac, the movie tells a simple yet highly compelling story: Danny Ocean, the main protagonist, and eleven accomplices try to rob three Las Vegas casinos at the same time. The acting is top-notch, the humour hits all the right notes and the tension is carefully dosed by Soderberg to deliver one of the most thrilling movie experiences of the last decade. Definitely check this one out! Its sequels, Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen don’t hit the same level of brilliance, but if you fell in love with its witty characters the first time, you should also give them a try.
Casino Royale (2006)
This one is already considered a jewel of British cinema. Even if you’re not into James Bond films, Daniel Craig’s portrayal of the fabled MI6 agent made history when the movie came out, back in 2006. Packed with top-notch action, great supporting performances from Eva Green & Mads Mikkelsen and breathtaking set-pieces, the movie tells a tale of private bankers and terrorists who gather in Montenegro where they play a high stakes game of poker. Gambling never looked so dangerous before, so make sure you put this one on your Christmas wishlist!
The Hangover (2008)
There was a time when the “The Hangover” franchise really meant something. That was before the disappointing sequels. But the first Hangover, the one that takes place in Las Vegas, remains one the best and influential comedies of the last decade or so. This one is not so much about gambling, but about friendship and all the crazy things that may ensue when you’re travelling with your mates for a bachelor party in Las Vegas. The movie features household names like Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms, but keep an eye out for that famous Mike Tyson cameo, we bet you’ll laugh your rear off when you see him.
Back in 2008, when Kevin Spacey still had a career and was not accused of sexual assault by multiple people, he played the role of an MIT professor who recruited six of his most brilliant students for card counting in Blackjack. That got them millions in winnings in Las Vegas, but don’t let their success fool you, gambling is not as easy on UKGC regulated casinos, even if you’re an MIT educated genius, says Kingcasinobonus.co.uk! Check this one out if you’re into card games and want to see a great actor long before his downfall.
Watch these movies and get thrown into an emotional roller coaster ride that explores all sides of gambling: the good, the bad and the ugly. Some of them might show you the thrilling part of it, others might remind you why you always have to be aware of the perils of excessive and unresponsible gaming. Either way, we bet that almost all English-speaking movie buffs out there will enjoy these casino-themed motion pictures.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.