There is something about the world of casinos and gambling that attracts screenwriters and storytellers. Some of the best movies of all time have either been set in casinos or have casino games as an essential element of the action.
In this article we take a look at the nine best casino movies that we have seen.
1. The Casino (1995)
Possibly the definitive casino movie, this Martin Scorcese classic stars Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci, chewing up the scenery as the mobsters fall out over money and power.
2. Bugsy (1991)
If you want to learn a bit of casino history, then Barry Levinson’s movie Bugsy tells the story of how Bugsy Siegel started Las Vegas. It stars husband-and-wife Warren Beatty and Annette Bening alongside Harvey Keitel and Ben Kingsley.
3. The Sting (1973)
George Roy Hill’s movie takes us back to 1930s Chicago when gangsters ruled and when gambling made the world go round. Paul Newman and Robert Redford shine in this classic.
4. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Not really a casino movie, but more of an exploration of some of the people that you find in the gambling Mecca that is Las Vegas. Directed by Mike Figgis and starring Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue, this movie tells the story of a Hollywood screenwriter who comes to Las Vegas to throw everything away. However he is redeemed through an unlikely friendship with a prostitute.
5. The Cooler (2003)
Directed by Wayne Kramer and starring William H. Macy, this is the story of a gambling jinx – a guy hired by a Las Vegas casino because he brings bad luck to gamblers and ends their winning streak. A unique gift that is lost when the cooler falls in love.
6. Hard Eight (1996)
This is a Paul Thomas Anderson movie that didn’t make a big impact, despite a strong cast that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson, and John C. Reilly. The story follows a man who has lost all of his money, winds up outside a diner in the desert and meets a man who changes everything.
7. The Hangover (2009)
A great comedy about just how wrong things can go on a bachelor party. Directed by Todd Phillips and starring Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper, this is an excellent reminder that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
8. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
An update of the classic Rat Pack movie, Steven Soderbergh directs an all-star cast that includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and Matt Damon. With an audacious plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously, this is the ultimate heist movie. Unsurprisingly the sequels – Ocean’s Twelve (2004) and Ocean’s 13 (2007) – were a little less successful.
9. Casino Royale (2006)
No one does glamorous casino games like secret agent James Bond, and Daniel Craig brought a new level of danger to the James Bond formula in Casino Royale. With a cast that included Judi Dench and Eva Green, this movie demonstrated that there continues to be life left in the James Bond franchise.
Do you agree with our list? Have we missed any casino classics that you have loved? Did our list make you want to break out the tuxedo and order a dry martini? We hope so!