You know what they say in the 21st Century, don’t you? Oh yes, you can make a movie about quite literally anything these days. If you don’t believe us just consider films like Ted, for example, which feature Mark Wahlberg and a giant talking teddy bear. And that’s not even the weirdest film premise we have seen over the last few decades either, may we remind you of Seth Rogen’s outrageously strange Sausage Party film? Hollywood movies are, by and large, a lot weirder and surreal these days, however there is still a load of box office smash hits coming out that subscribe to the more classic film genres we have come to expect. Of all of these, one of the most famous and well enjoyed has got to be that of casino films, as these are almost always packed full of action and suspense.
It makes sense, does it not? Even normal casino gambling in reality can be a high-octane ride through a variety of emotions, so just imagine how intense and exciting it can be with a few more fantastical elements added into the mix. It is something that Hollywood has proved to be incredibly good at churning out over the years, with a torrent of massively successful casino movies such as Ocean’s 11, The Hangover or Casino Royale. Films like these well and truly captured the public’s imagination, and the overall casino industry probably has a lot to thank these movies for too, as it has certainly driven the popularity of brick and mortar casinos. This is especially relevant today, where the online VIP casino surge is threatening to put many land-based casinos out of business. It seems as though we need films that glorify brick and mortar casinos now more than ever! Read ahead for some of the best Hollywood casino movies.
With a truly all-star cast Ocean’s 11 was always going to be a box office smash hit, however we’re not sure anyone anticipated quite the level of success that the movie got. George Clooney plays the film’s central character Danny Ocean, who assembles a hit squad of professionals to pull off an insanely huge heist that covers not one but three different casinos.
With a supporting cast full of people like Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts Ocean’s 11 definitely had the cast to make the plot work, subsequently becoming a cult classic film in little to no time at all. Whilst the majority of the film revolves around the casino heist, there are also many different scenes that show just how extravagant and grand Las Vegas casinos can be in the 21st Century.
James Bond films often have casino scenes in them, but it is rare that pretty much the whole extent to the action takes place in one. This is one of the reasons why Casino Royale was so well received upon its release in 2006. Daniel Craig gave an incredibly good first performance as the 007 agent James Bond, in a film which shows him flex his poker muscles extensively.
In fact, pretty much the whole of Casino Royale revolves around one incredibly high stakes poker match, so this really is one of the best casino films to watch for budding gamblers.
As much as Las Vegas is a gambling mecca for many people, it is also somewhere that has become famous for hen-dos and stag parties owing to the wealth of different entertainment options available in the famous desert city. The Hangover explores this side of Las Vegas, with a hilarious plot involving three friends’ search for their missing mate, who also happens to be the groom.
After a night of pure hedonism they awake with absolutely no recollection of what happened whatsoever, and so follows the desperate search for their friend. The Hangover is also famous for popularising the art of blackjack card counting, with Zach Galafianakis’ character performing the trick in one popular scene.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
This wild film has achieved a massive cult status due to its surreal and incredibly bizarre plot that doesn’t seem to have much meaning to it at all. It is based on Hunter S. Thompson’s collection of psychedelic short stories, and sees Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro take up the roles of Raoul Duke and Dr Gonzo respectively.
What follows is an exploration into the dark underbelly of Las Vegas city life, with the pair ingesting a copious amount of narcotics and running into mobsters and corrupt casino bosses. It is a cult classic for a reason!
It doesn’t take a genius to work out what this casino film revolves around – the game of blackjack of course! It follows a group of incredibly intelligent mathematics students who hatch a plan to use card counting and other mathematical tactics to win huge amounts on the blackjack tables of Las Vegas casinos.
It ended up being a bona fide box office smash hit upon its release in 2008, with many critics arguing that it did the original novel Bringing Down The House by Ben Mezrich a huge amount of justice.
Whilst the vast majority of casino gambling films focus on the massive positive of a hefty win, there aren’t quite as many that explore the potentially devastating consequences of a severe gambling addiction. The Gambler starring Mark Wahlberg is one of these films, concerning a teacher who is stuck in a repetitive and self-destructive gambling cycle.
He ends up owing people a serious amount of money, something that results in several angry and dangerous people threatening to murder him. At the end of the film Jim (Mark Wahlberg’s character) places an extraordinarily huge bet on one spin of a roulette wheel, but we won’t ruin the finale, you’ll have to watch it for yourself.
Gambling in casinos can be a great and valiant way to earn the funds for something like a family hospital bill or funeral, and this is exactly what Hard Eight revolves around. An elderly gambler called Sydney meets a man called John and helps him win enough cash to pay for his mother’s