The 10 Best Gambling Movies of All Time
The Human race is charmed with the adrenaline rush that comes with gambling games, and it is precisely this thrill we get from it that makes us love gaming. And sure enough, gambling has been incorporated in various spheres of our daily lives, with the entertainment industry taking advantage of the associated thrill to produce some highly successful blockbusters. To date, there have been hundreds of blockbuster movies made about gambling, and countless more where gambling plays some sort of role in the film’s unfolding story. After all, there is no easier way to create drama than to have a person’s fortune come down to a single roll of the dice or flip of the cards. If you enjoy the excitement of gambling and you’ve been wondering about the best gambling movies you can watch for that edge-of-the-seat exhilaration, we’ve got your back. Today’s article has a definitive list of the ten best gambling movies ever made. The silver screen hits on this list all have stories about gambling in one way or another, whether it is building up a strategy to score big in Vegas like Ocean’s 11 or capturing even the tiniest detail of running big money businesses such as in the highly hailed Casino flick. The best casino movies of all time are:
- Ocean’s Eleven
- Casino Royale
- The Colour of Money
- The Sting
- The Hustler
- The Cincinnati Kid
- The Gambler
All these movies convey the thrill of playing for real money, usually with a fantabulous happy ending. However, often, real-life stories are far more shocking than anything the Hollywood directors can dream up. Get your hands on any of this recommended preview films, play their odds now and upvote for your favourite picture or vote down the one you think is rather bluffing. Below is a closer look at each of ten of the most renowned gambling movies ever:
It is ranked as the top on our list of the best movies about gambling, and if you’ve ever watched it, you’ll agree without question. In case the flick is new to you, it’s one of the greatest blockbuster hits from the 90’s, under the direction of Martin Scorsese. The title is built on Nicholas Pileggi’s non-fiction novel, Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas. The Casino stars are Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone and Robert De Niro. De Niro assumes the role of Sam Rothstein (a.k.a. Ace), an American Jew pit-boss who was appointed by the Chicago Mafia to take charge the daily operations at the Tangiers Casino in Sin City. The role of Ginger McKenna is deftly taken on by Sharon Stone who is the conniving, and haughty wife, extracted from the original novel’s Geri McGee. Joe Pesci, on the other hand, assumes Nicky Santoro’s role, a spinoff of a factual enforcer of the mob known as Anthony Spilotro: the guy who offered Ace all the protection he could require. Santoro is given a Las Vegas assignment to see to it that the cash from the Tangiers is laundered as needed and gangsters in the city toe the line.
It is the eve of the New Year in Sin City, the devil’s wheels spin, coins jingle, cards are flipped by the minute, slot machines click and clang, the show goes on and out of the blues, the lights go out! It’s time for Danny Ocean and his ten partners in crime to rip the house off. Danny Ocean’s character is played by Frank Sinatra and his off-screen rat pack buddies Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin, Pete Lawford and Joey Bishop. They play army pals that come with an elaborate and sinister scheme to knock out power to the Vegas Strip and break into 5 of the biggest vaults in the house. Ocean’s Eleven is a 1960 production packed with pomp, glory, perspiration suspense, wavering shots of comedy and a twisted ending. The rules: no one gets hurt, only steal from deserving targets, and most importantly, play the games as if you have nothing to lose. After watching Ocean’s Eleven, we are sure it will definitely be one of your top casino films. And since the Hollywood execs know that, an equally enthralling remake was done in 2011, and three more sequels followed suit, each garnering massive critical acclaim.
Casino Royale is a spick and span spy flick from the 60’s based on Ian Fleming's novel with the same title. David Niven stars as Sir James Bond, whose code name is 007. He is dragged out of retirement to undertake a mission investigating deaths and vanishings of global spies. During the mission, James Bond encounters Le Chiffre, a secretive concierge banker to global terrorist and poker player. James is involved in a number of high stakes poker games set by Le Chiffre, along with a beautiful Treasury agent and M16 man. Casino Royale is dotted with unanticipated plot twists, which make it even more catchy and memorable. And moreover, it is among the most memorable James Bond films produced up to now. For spy films, in general, it’s still hard to beat this motion picture either way!
The Colour of Money
The colour of Money is a 1986 American drama film based on The Colour of Money by Walter Tevis. The colour of Money continues the story that started in The Hustler. It features Paul Newman, Mary Elisabeth and Tom Cruise as the stars of the flick to bring you fast-paced action in a mind-blowing 2-hour session. In this sequel, The Colour of Money brings back Newman as “Fast Freddie” mentoring and competing with a new go-getter pool hustler, Tom Cruise as “Vincent”. It is clearly an underrated gambling film that should be given much more credit than it received. Even though The Colour of Money events may be fictional, the excitement of gambling, interesting characters, and the treachery involved in hustling are perfectly captured. Do you have two hours to spare for this awesome blockbuster?
The Sting from 1973 is another of the best casino movies involving an interesting plot by two prof con artists, Robert Redford and Paul Newman to swindle Rebert Shaw, the mafia boss. The plot was inspired by real-life cons perpetrated by Fred and Charley Gondorff. A simple summary of The Sting is when a con artist finishes the “Play” and takes the mark’s money. If the con is successful, the mark does not realise he has been cheated, at least not until the con men are long gone. And after the deed is done, you’ll be as surprised as the victims themselves, getting you more in touch with the plot and the characters of the flick!
Another heavy-hitting American drama from the 60’s based on The Hustler novel by Walter Tevis. It stars Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason and George Scott. It tells an interesting story of a small-time pool hustler, Newman as “Fast Eddie”, who has the desire to enter in the big leagues of pro hustling and high-roller gambling. His dreams get shattered while trying to best out the legendary pool player, Gleason as Minnesota Fats. His luck further runs out when he gets involved with unscrupulous manager Bett Gordon played by George. Are you eager to know more? It will only take you 2 hours and 15 minutes to quench your thirst!
21 is a 2008 American heist drama based on Bringing down the House by Ben Mesich. The film is inspired by the true story of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) blackjack team. Some popular movie stars on set include; Jim Sturgess, Lawrence Fishburne and Kevin Spacey. Ben Campbell as Jim Sturgess becomes part of a student’s fraternity under the leadership of an unconventional professor, played by Kevin Spacey as Mickey Rosa. They take advantage of their sharp mathematical prowess to hit the Vega Strip real hard. Ben sooner realises that the risks are higher than he ever imagined when he crosses path with casino enforcer Cole William played by Lawrence Fishburne. 21 is simply an incredible story of how a group of college graduates managed to beat some of the best casinos at their own game. You think you are good at math? Wait until you watch how they do it here.
The Cincinnati Kid
This top-rated American drama premiered in 1965 is founded on The Cincinnati Kid, a 1963 novel written by Richard Jessup. It revolves around Eric Stoner also popularly known as The Kid, a young poker player with depression issues. He strives to establish his reputation as the best in stud poker. This venture leads him to go head to head with Lancey Howard, also referred to as The Man; a much older gambler highly hailed as the best. All this result into a super electrifying final poker duel between the two to find out who’s the guru of gurus in the game. However, they face various distractions. One of them is Eric’s girlfriend, Christian, who wants to spend more time with him. Melba is the other roadblock, and she a cheating wife of Stoner’s friend who raises the odds of the big game against Stoner. Finally, there is the affluent William Jefferson Slade; he attempts to extort practically every other player here, other than the two main participants.
The Gambler is a 1974 production starring James Caan. This epic flick is about the mind of a gambling addict, Alex Freed. He is a successful college professor with an impulsive gambling addiction that turns his life into a roller-coaster of debt and uncertainty. He wins big, but unfortunately, he does not know how to count cards on blackjack, and he loses all of his money. He starts borrowing from his family and loan sharks who have ulterior motives. Things start to fall apart so quick for Alex Freed as he realises that he cannot stop gambling. The Gambler is one of the best gambling films because it portrays such a realistic image for a real gambler with a gambling problem. You better watch this so that you can understand how bad things can get if you don’t have fun responsibly!
Rounders is a 1998 gambling film starring Matt Damon as Mike McDermott. It is based on a fictional story of high-stakes, underground poker games held in New York City. Mike McDermott is a law student very passionate about poker who dreams of playing at the World Series of Poker. He throws in the towel after a cold hard loss to a Russian heavy going by the name “KGB”, whose role is portrayed by John Malkovich. However, he gets dragged back into poker when his pal Worm (Edward Norton) needs his help to pay off debts. Would you go to such lengths to help out your friend in need?
For sure, some of the most successful blockbusters of all time are about gambling. From Las Vegas to Atlantic City, there is an adrenaline rush of taking the mammoth sized risks that lead to equally sized wins or losses, a colourful shower of banknotes, coinage and gaming chips. So, pick one and brace yourself for an exhilarating performance of the characters, and don’t forget some popcorn while at it, the kind of suspense involved in these silver screen hits is surely going to give you the munchies!