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The best gambling movies of all time
Filmmakers have tackled a variety of subjects to entertain their audiences, and the casino industry is no exception. A lot of casino-based movies have swayed viewers over the past few decades and opened their eyes to the exciting world of high-stakes gambling. It has even managed to create stories considered as the greatest films of all time!
More often than not, casino movies feature an artistic yet accurate representation of the gambling industry. These stories offer a preview of casino life with interesting dramas and dilemmas of high-stakes gambling. With artistic liberties taken by filmmakers to tell compelling stories, you can find inspiration in these films to fuel your drive to win your next game.
Get to know more about the top casino movies over the last decade that perfectly encapsulates the life of a high-roller casino player here at Bitcasino!
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Fueled with energy and drama in every turn, the third instalment of the famous Ocean’s trilogy, Ocean's Thirteen is directed by savant Steven Soderbergh. The movie revolves around a seemingly impossible heist of an impenetrable high-stakes casino at the heart of the famous Las Vegas strip. With each scene of energetic scheming is a lavish representation of what it’s like to play at these famous Las Vegas casinos.
Although the movie is about Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and Rusty Ryan’s (Brad Pitt) heist to bring the casino down, you can still feel the rush and excitement of the gamblers playing on the casino floor.
Ocean’s Thirteen is high up this list because of its artistic yet realistic depiction of a gambler’s day at the casino. You’ll see a variety of games including blackjack, roulette and slot games in every corner of the joint. This film is a standalone casino classic you definitely don’t want to miss!
Photo taken from The Irish Times
It seems only fitting that James Bond’s first screen outing includes a cool casino scene! Not only does 007 manage to lay down a winning hand in a high-stakes game of baccarat, but he also manages to receive a secret mission and attracts a beautiful woman at the same time! Most casino fans will be keen to see that James Bond won this card game with a simple king of clubs and a nine of hearts.
But it’s the way that this 1962 movie gives us a glimpse of old-school gaming that’s most enjoyable. With the casino players decked out in their finest tuxedos and the glamorous women dressed in dazzling jewellery and fur coats, it provides a snapshot of how people used to gamble before online casinos came to town. Dr No was the movie that introduced us to Sean Connery as 007. Not only is Connery the ultimate James Bond for many people but this scene also gives him a chance to deliver his classic line, “Bond. James Bond”.
Photo taken from Indiewire
Most filmmakers create a narrative about gamblers who just can’t seem to get it together. Although Win It All follows this same path, director Joe Swanberg created this masterpiece with a comedic twist.
Win It All tells the story of Eddie Garrett (Jake Johnson) and his mundane life as a recovering gambling addict and parking attendant at Wrigley Field. As he picks up what’s left of his life, he spirals into a rabbit hole of bad decisions in underground poker games. This narrative makes a good comedy film that tackles the inner workings of a poker game.
Photos taken from IMDB
Starring Steve McQueen, this is one of the oldest films on the list. However, that doesn’t diminish the quality of it. The Cincinnati Kid is a masterpiece of cinema. It takes the audience directly into the heart of a professional poker player during the great depression. Steve McQueen manages to masterfully play his role as The Kid, and everything about the film is effortless.
The poker variation that is played in The Cincinnati Kid is a five-card stud. This is one of the earliest forms of poker and was at one time the most popular version. Although it has diminished in popularity somewhat over the years, this film shows just how popular it was at one time and how much tension the game could create. The Cincinnati Kid helped to cement poker as one of the most popular games in the world.
Photo taken from IMDB
Are you ready for a thrilling adventure to the world of high-stakes gambling and crime of the New York Mafia? A24 production, along with the well-known directing duo the Safdie brothers, created an energetic and unnerving dark comedy with Uncut Gems. The story follows jewellery store owner Josh Ratner (Adam Sandler) in his rise and fall as a high-roller player.
This epic film will make you twist and turn with every scene as Josh digs himself deeper into the life of gambling and crime. Uncertainty unfolds as the stakes get higher until everything ends with a loud bang!
Although playing at casinos won’t make you a Mafia kingpin, the story can ignite the desire in you to win it all in your next game.
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Enjoy a cross country tour with Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) and Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) as they go from one casino to the next. Written and directed by film auteurs Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Mississippi Grind is all about high-stakes gambling on poker and craps tables.
In this movie, each game is depicted in an utterly mundane fashion, reflecting the realities of gambling through the eyes of Curtis and Gerry. The two develop an incredible bond as they experience the highs and lows of gambling. These ups and downs can serve as a reminder of when you should give it your all or wait to fight another day on the casino table.
Photo take from IMDB
Pierce Brosnan has also revealed that he can also provide one of the best James Bond gambling scenes with his outing in 1995’s GoldenEye. While this iconic scene bears similarities to many other 007 casino adventures, it was the way that it was loaded with racy innuendo that marks it out from the rest.
Thanks to the fairly unsubtle name of his glamorous opponent, Xenia Onatopp, it gave Pierce Brosnan the opportunity to try out some hilarious Bond one-liners that have swiftly gone down in 007 folklore. So, although it has all the smart tuxedos, raised eyebrows, and glittering chandeliers that you’d expect from a Bond casino scene, it shows how 007 always manages to surprise us with a well-delivered one-liner!
Photo taken from Variety
The 2014 adaptation of a classic regarded as one of the best casino movies of all time should also be on your list! Indie director Rupert Wyatt made sure to capture all the drama of Jim Bennette’s (Mark Wahlberg) life as a struggling literature professor that moonlights as a high-stakes casino player in The Gambler.
Jim is a tortured artist that seeks excitement and validation in underground gambling. Although a prodigy in his own right, Jim cannot resist the urge to staking it all, leading him to lose everything with just one wrong move at the blackjack table.
The Gambler serves as a warning not to let hubris get in the way of earning big at the blackjack table. You can maximise your profits if you exercise control and execute the right strategies, unlike Jim. Give blackjack a try and you might win double what you staked when the night began!
Photo take from GQ
Casino Royale is one of the most popular gambling movies of all time. After all, it is basically one long casino gaming scene with James Bond! So, what are the key ingredients that make this one of the most iconic 007 gambling scenes?
Well, there is Eva Green on Bond’s arm as the glamorous lady, and there’s no shortage of villainous foes lurking in the background to ramp up the tension. But while Daniel Craig is on top form as the unflappable British spy, it’s surely the Danish actor, Mads Mikkelsen, who really steals the show. It’s hard to imagine any other actor who could play the villainous Le Chiffre with such skill, particularly when the tear of blood rolls down from his weird eye! That’s not to say that James Bond is completely outdone in this gambling classic.
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Rain Man has a lot more to it than just gambling, but Rain Man will always be known for the card counting storyline that occurs during the film. This played such a big part in the film that it not only became the most famous scene from the film, but it also managed to perpetuate a huge myth about American casinos.
Rain Man made a whole generation of people think that counting cards are illegal. While most casinos discourage the practice, it’s not an illegal act. In fact, card counting is a great strategy that can help you increase your odds of winning.
Rain Man also endeavoured to make counting cards look significantly easier than it actually is, and you might need to practice card counting a bit more than Raymond. However, none of this detracts from Rain Man being an excellent film, with great depth and a compelling story.
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When it comes to movies centred on casinos and gambling, there are few films as iconic as Rounders – a 1998 drama starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton. The film is set in the mysterious underground world of high-stakes poker. It follows the story of two friends who turn to high-stakes poker to pay off a large debt that is becoming due. The title of the film – Rounders – refers to an individual who travels around the city from one high-stakes game to another.
The film’s protagonist, Mike McDermott, is a young, talented poker player who gets caught up with a Russian crime boss called Teddy KGB. The mysterious Russian mobster gets the better of Mike in a poker game and obliterates his bankroll, winning it all in a dramatic scene. With this loss hanging over him, Mike vows to stop playing poker for good. However, as you might expect, this doesn’t last long. Not too long afterwards, he gets enticed back into the world of high-stakes poker by a childhood friend with some serious debts to pay.
The final scene of this now-classic film pits Mike against Teddy once again, and what unfolds is an intense – and now iconic – game of poker. One of the reasons why this film, and this character, in particular, have endured so well in the annals of cinema history is that the film was released just as online poker became popularised for the first time. For this reason, it’s well worth a watch!
Photo taken from IMDB
Award-winning screenwriter turned amateur film director Aaron Sorkin created a biographical masterpiece that tells the story of Poker Princess Molly Bloom’s life in the movie Molly’s Game. It’s based on a memoir written by Bloom herself before she got arrested by the US authorities for money laundering and illegal gambling schemes.
Molly’s Game is all about high-stakes poker with A-list celebrities playing for millions of dollars a night. Each scene goes back and forth between Molly (Jessica Chastain) and her recounting of building a poker empire from scratch and earning the title ‘Poker Princess’ in just a few years.
Watching this film will ignite your passion and fuel your drive to win at a high-stakes poker table. Moreover, its compelling storytelling of real-life events solidifies its position as one of the best casino movies of the decade.
Photo taken from ImDB
Very simply, The Sting is number one in our list of the best gambling movies because it’s a spectacularly fun caper movie, with gambling right at the heart of it. There are two absolutely perfect performances from Paul Newman and Robert Redford playing grifters and con men seeking revenge on Robert Shaw’s perfectly over-the-top villain with a weakness for gambling.
But what makes The Sting so darned great is that it’s a wonderfully playful movie that takes right into the heart of Newman and Redford’s set-up. Set in the 1930s, this is a great looking film, with super-realistic gambling and consequences. The plot takes us through high-stakes poker games and a brilliantly designed con in a fake horse-racing sportsbook. Add in an irresistible soundtrack of ragtime tunes from Scott Joplin and this is simply the best gambling movie.
Photo taken from Plugged In
Based around the MIT blackjack team, 21 adds some exaggerated drama to the true story, but despite the untruths contained in the film, it still presents a snapshot of the hard work and dedication that goes into learning how to count cards.
If blackjack is your game of choice, 21 will definitely grab your attention and perhaps even ignite a fire within you to learn how to count cards. The strategy isn’t so hard, it just takes plenty of practice and patience, so why not grow your skills now and take on a banker like Ben Campbell right here at Bitcasino!
If you feel like you already have all the blackjack skills you need, then one of the titles in our great range of Blackjack games available is where you can start testing your skills.
Photo taken from Britannica
Although it’s not based in a casino, The Hustler has its roots set in the early gambling scene in America. Taking on the story of a pool hustler, it shows how high-stakes pool games worked in the 1960s. It is acted to an incredibly high level, with Paul Newman delivering an Oscar-worthy performance that unfortunately was never rewarded by the Academy.
The Hustler also spawned a sequel called, The Color of Money starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise. This time, Newman’s performance was rewarded with an Oscar, although most people feel this was payback for his performance in The Hustler. It was a difficult choice between the two films as to which one to put on the list. In the end, the original won out, but the sequel is also an excellent film.
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The 1983 movie, Octopussy, gave Roger Moore the chance to deliver his best James Bond gambling scene. This one saw 007 stepping into a gambling session in Rajasthan, India, where the villain, Kamal Khan, was using dirty tricks to constantly win over Bond’s friend, the Major Dexter-Smythe.
As usual, it involved plenty of suavely tuxedoed gentlemen huddled around a gaming table. But this scene featured backgammon, rather than a traditional casino game. Not that the stakes were any lower, however, as 007 managed to up the already massive 500,000 rupee bet by including a priceless Fabergé egg as part of the winnings.
But it was the way that James Bond defeats Kamal Khan by using the villain’s loaded dice that reveals how 007 is always one step ahead of his competitors. And it showed that the much-missed Roger Moore will always be one of the best James Bonds for delivering a shrewd and typically British way of beating the villainous opponents!
Photo taken from British Period Dramas
There aren’t many Bond movies that are more iconic than Diamonds Are Forever. Not only is Connery in the 007 roles but, with co-stars like Lana Wood, and the awesome Shirley Bassey title song, it’s clearly up there with the best of Bond. And thankfully this movie’s casino scene didn’t let us down.
This time, the action focuses on James Bond playing craps at the Whyte House casino in Las Vegas. Once again, 007 shows that he’s not afraid to indulge in some high-stakes gambling as he shocks the dealer by raising the bet to $10,000. And James Bond proves he’s the classic gentleman too by giving $5,000 of his $50,000 winnings to the amusingly named Plenty O’Toole character. While the Las Vegas surroundings might not be quite as glamorous as some of the other casino scenes on this list, it’s still a reliably suave outing for James Bond who shows his unshakeable cool at the gaming tables.
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The best gambling movies of all time