Gambling enthusiasts love to play casino games for both the excitement and the opportunity to win real money.
But aside from actually enjoying themselves online or during a night out on the town, they also love all the crazy and wonderful movies made about their favourite pastime.
Below, we look at why casino movies are so popular, and we also share our top picks for must-see movies about casino gambling.
Here’s Why They’re So Popular
Movies about casino gambling are popular for many reasons:
- It’s hard to resist all the glamour, bling, and excitement. The sheer adrenaline of the high-stakes environment makes gambling a super attractive subject for filmmakers and audiences alike.
- There’s always drama and suspense. Gambling can certainly be exceptionally dramatic and casinos tense with bustle and activity. This creates an unbeatable environment for telling a story.
- Gambling is about human interests. Many gambling movies focus primarily on the “human” side of the story – including what it is that motivates people to fall in love with gaming.
- There’s something fascinating about the unknown. For many, even today, there’s something mysterious and unknown about the world of casinos. Movies and documentaries provide a rare and fascinating insight.
#1 – Rounders
Rounders is as classic a film about gambling as movies get. It invites the viewer into an underground world of high-stakes Poker.
Released in 1998, the movie stars Edward Norton and Matt Damon.
Damon portrays the role of a law student fresh out of college, but also a young Poker player who has just lost everything to a Russian mobster. In his plight to make good on his debt, he decides to team up with an old friend (Norton) and take on some of the best players in the world of Poker in a high-stakes tournament.
#2 – Casino
Released in 1995, Casino is a film by Martin Scorsese. It explores the dirty underbelly of 1970 Las Vegas, and stars Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone.
De Niro portrays the role of Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a man tasked with the challenging and dangerous task of running the infamous Tangiers casino for the mob. Not only must De Niro navigate his way through life-threatening situations, but he must also deal with a tumultuous and volatile ex-wife.
#3 – The Sting
This 1973 gem is a cult-classic about a group of conmen looking to pull off the ultimate betting scam.
The movie is well-known for its clever plot twists, and stars Robert Redford and Paul Newman.
#4 – 21
21 is one of the most popular gambling movies of all time and is based on a true story involving a group of MIT students who put their mathematical skills to good as well as dubious use.
By counting Blackjack cards, the group took Las Vegas casinos for millions of dollars.
#5 – The Cincinnati Kid
Released in 1965, The Cincinnati Kid tells the story of a young Poker player looking to make a name for himself in the exciting world of high-stakes gambling.
The movie stars the legendary Steve McQueen.
#6 – Ocean’s Eleven
Released in 2001, this movie features a star-studded cast, including Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and George Clooney. The film follows a group of criminals who formulate a master plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos.
Ocean’s Eleven is filled with wit, a fantastic soundtrack, and one of the most entertaining storylines ever written. It’s also a great reminder that playing at a site like Lucky Creek online casino comes with far less risk – you’re not about to get caught up in a heist anytime soon!
#7 – The Gambler
The Gambler invites the viewer in on the life of the seemingly upstanding citizen Axel Freed.
An English professor in New York City, Freed is secretly trapped in a cycle of gambling addiction, and it’s a way of life that soon threatens to bankrupt him.
Following a major basketball bet gone bad, Freed borrows bail-out money to the tune of $44,000, only to gamble every penny away at the casino. Eventually, his loan sharks begin closing in around him.
The Gambler is the perfect portrayal of what can go wrong when society fails to adhere to the rules of responsible gambling.
Released in 2013, The Gambler remains a hit today.
#8 – Croupier
Released in 1998, Croupier stars Clive Owen as a young and aspiring writer named Jack Manfred.
When his writing career fails to take off, Manfred decides to try and make ends meet by working as a croupier.
Manfred, however, soon finds his job taking over his life in unexpected ways. Things eventually escalate completely out of control after Manfred agrees to help rob the casino where he works on Christmas Eve.
#9 – Maverick
Maverick is based on the namesake television series created by Roy Huggins. In this classic Western comedy production, Bret Maverick, a high-stakes Poker player, wants to prove to the world that he is the best in the business.
He ends up on all sorts of misadventures in the process, including a run-in with a large band of angry real Indians.
Maverick was released in 1954 and became a massive commercial and critical success of the day.
#10 – Hard Eight
Hard Eight follows the daily life of a man named John, who happens to be a gambler who just lost all his money in Las Vegas. He then meets Sydney, a much more experienced gambler than he, who agrees to teach him how to become better at his trade.
But the pair soon get caught up in much more than they bargained for.
#11 – The Cooler
The 2003 crime drama The Cooler tells the story of a man so down on luck that he gets hired by a casino to stop other people from winning. But things go bottoms up once Bernie becomes happily involved in a romantic relationship, causing his luck to improve and his cooling skills to disappear.
The Cooler is full of unexpected developments and undercurrents, and ultimately tells a tale of social justice. The storyline is poignant and emotionally charged, which makes the movie one of the ultimate must-see films on our list.