Gambling and casinos were always a perfect setting for movies – glamorous and full of entertainment. Screenplay writers exploit the chic of high-end casinos and play with the subculture, style and lives of people that visit gambling establishments.
Why are casino games story material?
Imagine people from different backgrounds behind the poker table. Their life stories can be widely opposite, yet they compete at the table with high stakes. The game is turning more interesting every minute at the poker table, and it is similar with other variants on the huge list of casino games. So it’s no wonder prominent filmmakers used casinos as inspiration or settings for their work.
Some movies are about casinos, like Martin Scorsese’s box office hit Casino, and in others, the casino plays a vital role, like James Bond movie Casino Royale.
Here are the top five Casino-related movies.
The movie reached cult status just a couple of years after release. However, Rounders had modest success without much buzz around a great team of actors when it came out. Matt Damon, Edward Norton and John Malkovich had leading roles. The story follows two friends moving through high-stakes poker matches to settle their debt in the underworld.
The movie was made in 1998, and it became increasingly popular after the big poker boom of the early 2000s.
Although it’s often not on the A list of casino-related movies, 21 gives a different look at casino gaming. The film pictures the lives of a group of talented mathematicians who became experts in card counting and earned huge sums on blackjack. Jim Sturgess leads the group of aspiring gamblers, and Kevin Spacey is in the role of team leader behind the scenes.
The movie that follows smart gambling is based on actual events, but the math behind card counting and strategy is replaced quickly by criminal elements in the film.
High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story
Stu Ungar is among the most famous poker players of all time. This indie movie describes actual events about the incredible player who won three World Series of Poker Main tournaments. But unfortunately, he subsequently lost his entire poker winnings, and you can see his life during the winning and losing period.
The movie is almost a documentary with elements of drama and gives incredible insight into the world of high-stakes poker.
A remake of the legendary movie came in 2001. Again, Steven Soderbergh gathered a star-studded team featuring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and many other top-tier Hollywood stars. The film follows a group of robbers targeting three
top Las Vegas casinos: the MGM Grand, the Mirage, and Bellagio. In this fictional story, the same bad guy runs all three casinos.
Ryan Reynolds has the leading role in the sweet and sour story of two gamblers taking the road trip to New Orleans. Reynolds acts as Curtis, an aspiring gambler, and his sidekick Gerry pushes him to go to Louisiana. Unfortunately, Gerry has substantial debt, and in this tale of male friendship, you can see the pros and cons of the casino lifestyle.
Mississippi Grind is an underrated homage to cult 1974 classic California Split, another laid-back movie of two friend gamblers embarking on a trip.