If you love movies and you love playing casino games, then you will definitely love these top casino and gambling movies with some of the best actors and directors around. These movies feature all the things gamblers and players frequenting land-based or online casinos are familiar with. The list below has some of the top rated and best reviewed movies.
This movie was released in 2008, directed by Robert Luketic and features leading actors Kevin Spacey, Jim Strugess, Kate Bosworth and Lawrence Fishburne. 21 is based on a true story where the main character, an MIT student, Ben Campbell wants to become a doctor at Harvard but he needs $300 thousand to fund his tuition fees. He joins a few of his fellow MIT students along with their maths professor to use their card-counting skills during their weekend trips to Vegas to make hundreds of thousands of dollars at the blackjack table. However, things go badly once the casinos figure out the students’ neat card counting scam.
Ocean’s 11 (2001)
This movie was remade from the 1960 version this time with a big Hollywood ensemble cast including names like George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Andy Garcia. The 2001 movie was directed by Steven Soderbergh. Due to the box office success of Ocean’s 11, another 2 movies were made and recently an all-female cast Ocean’s 8 was released in 2018 with another great ensemble cast. Danny Ocean (George Clooney) has just been released from prison and plans to pull of one of the biggest heists in history. He targets not one, not two but three of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas. Danny gathers a team of professional con artists to work together and help him pull this off and rob 150 million dollars in a single night.
Casino Royale (2006)
Casino Royale is the 23rd installation of the 007 movie franchise adapted from the popular novels by English author Ian Fleming. Casino Royale was directed by Martin Campbell and it is the first James Bond movie which stars Daniel Craig as the infamous British secret service agent with a license to kill. James Bond learns that a banker of terrorist organisations plans to raise money through poker games, so who better to topple the plan than Mr Bond himself? This high stakes Texas Hold’Em Poker game held in Montenegro has James Bond with his Martini, shaken not stirred, at a seat on the table along with Le Chiffre who needs to win his money back. This remake from the 1967 version is one of the highest rated Bond movies and stars Eva Green as the Bond girl and Mads Mikkelson as the villain, Le Chiffre.
Rain Man (1988)
This is a comedy-drama road movie directed by Barry Levinson and stars Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. In the 61st Academy Awards, this movie won four Oscars being Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Actor in a Leading Role. This story is about a selfish young businessman, Charlie Babbit. When he learns of his estranged father’s death, he travels to Cinncinati to find out he only receives his late father’s convertible car from the will. The rest of the estate valued at $3 millions goes to a mental institution where he meets his elder brother Raymond Babbit who is an autistic savant. Charlie has the idea to take his brother to Las Vegas where his brother could use his talent to make big wins at the blackjack tables.
The Sting (1973)
The Sting is an American caper film, directed by George Roy Hill and is set in 1936 in Chicago. At the 46th Academy Awards, it won 7 Oscars out of ten nominations. Following the murder of a mutual friend, two professional grifters team up: aspiring conman Johnny Hooker, played by Robert Redford and old pro Henry Gondorff played by Paul Newman. They take their revenge on the mob boss, Doyle Lonnegan played by Robert Shaw. The duo plan an elaborate scheme to con their mark’s money without him realising he had been cheated until it was too late. However, when things don’t go to plan, we eagerly watch the duo skilfully improvise to beat the cheater at the poker game.
This movie was directed by Martin Scorsese and it brilliantly shows the dual sided facets of Las Vegas: the glitz and glamour as a contrast to the shady and cruel dealings. The protagonist, Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein played by Robert De Niro, is a low-level mobster who successfully becomes the operator at the Tangiers Casino. Over the years with the resurfacing of his old friend, Nicky Sontoro, played by Joe Pesci who now works as a mob enforcer disrupts the status quo. Along with this, Ace is forced to deal with the problems caused by his ex-hustler wife, Ginger played by Sharon Stone and her ex the con artist Lester Diamond in this story of greed and power.
Molly’s Game (2017)
This biographical crime movie, based on a true story follows Molloy Bloom, played by Jessica Chastain, who is a young, beautiful Olympic-class skier who, for a decade, ran an exclusive high-stakes poker game until she was arrested by several FBI agents. The players at her poker table included Hollywood celebrities, sports stars, and business giants and as she later discovered, the Russian mob. The only ally she has is the criminal defence lawyer she hires, Charlie Jaffey, played by Idris Elba who sees there is more to Molly than what is on the tabloids. Molly’s Game was written and directed by Aaron Sorkin and it was nominated for various awards like at the Golden Globes, BAFTA’s and Academy Awards.
These are certainly the top movies that tackle the themes of casinos and gambling, all of which have a great cast, seasoned directors and great storylines. A few of the movies get into the cheating aspect such as counting cards, others focus on conning players while some experience the darker side of the gambling world. The characters’ journeys force viewers to ride through a rollercoasters of emotions.
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