For decades, casino movies have been listed among the best films of all time. From cult-favourites to modern, star-studded flicks, there are plenty of movies to match your fascination with gambling and casinos. We’ve listed nine casino movies everyone should see at least once. Have you seen them all?
A list of must-see casino movies wouldn’t be complete without Casino. Martin Scorsese directed this 1995 film that stars Robert De Niro as Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a former gangster who has been living a relatively normal life working as a manager for a Las Vegas casino. But when his old friend Nicky Santoro (played by Joe Pesci) pays him a visit to ask him for help, Ace is thrust back into a life of breaking the rules.
You will be engrossed in this story about a former criminal who badly wanted to stay on the right path, only to find himself once again trying to outrun the FBI, angry mafia bosses, and members of the U.S. government.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has been a cult-favourite casino movie for over two decades. Based on a real story, the film stars Johnny Depp as journalist Hunter Thompson. Thompson is a sportswriter who is constantly under the influence of drugs. He and his lawyer go on a road trip from LA to Las Vegas to cover a sports event in Sin City.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas shows the darker side of gambling and risk-taking. The movie highlights the various ordeals of their trip, including run-ins with drug dealers, gamblers, hitchhikers, and police officers. It’s a must-see for film and casino enthusiasts.
Casino Royale stands out not only as a must-see casino movie but as one of the best James Bond movies to date. The 2006 remake of the 1973 film by the same title stars Daniel Craig as agent 007.
What makes Casino Royale a must-see casino movie is its portrayal of high-stakes gambling and all the excitement that class, risk, and wealth provide. In Casino Royale, we follow James Bond as he goes on a mission to stop Le Chiffre, the banker of several global criminal organizations, from winning a high-stakes game of Texas Hold’Em. If Bond is able to stop him, it would mean those organizations would be left without the money they need to operate.
The Hangover is easily the best casino movie to illustrate the phrase “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
In this 2009 American comedy, three friends travel to Las Vegas for their friend’s bachelor party. When they wake up the next morning, they realize the groom-to-be is missing and they have no recollection of what happened the night before. The three men go on an adventure through the Vegas strip to figure out what happened and find their friend in time for his wedding.
The Hangover is a laugh-out-loud story about what can happen if you have a little too much fun in a Las Vegas casino.
Ocean’s Eleven is an American casino movie that premiered in 2001. Its legendary cast includes Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Matt Damon. The film is about Danny Ocean, a professional thief who brings together a group of con-artists to rob three world-famous Las Vegas casinos – the Bellagio, the Mirage, and the MGM Grand. It’s a $150 million heist that will destroy his rival, casino owner Terry Benedict.
Ocean’s Eleven is a casino movie you have to see at least once, but will enjoy viewing many times.
The Gambler is a film about an English literature teacher Axel Freed who is addicted to high-stakes gambling. The film premiered in 1974 starring James Caan, then was remade in 2014 with Mark Wahlberg starring as Axel Freed. Regardless of which film you watch, the enthralling story is one you don’t want to miss.
The film follows Freed as he steels money from his own mother before taking off to Las Vegas with his wife to win back all the money he owes. It’s a gripping tale of the excitement of high-stakes and how far some people will go to make their dreams come true.
In 1998’s Rain Man, Tom Cruise plays Charlie Babbit, a stuck-up businessman who meets with his estranged older brother Raymond, played by Dustin Hoffman, after their father passes away. Raymond is a genius with autism. Charlie takes his brother to Las Vegas with hopes that Raymond can use his smarts to count cards at the Blackjack table and eventually win big.
Counting cards isn’t illegal but it is frowned upon and can get you kicked out of a casino. You’ll have to find out for yourself which path fate took Charlie and Raymond down.
Have you ever wondered what the thrills of gambling look like from a dealer’s point of view? Croupier is a film from 1998 that shows the other side of gambling in a huge casino.
Jack Manfred, played by Clive Owen, is a struggling writer who gets a job as a croupier for a large casino. As he gains on-the-job experience, Manfred learns more about the world of gambling and the excitement of games of chance. It’s a unique casino movie you have to see at least once.
In Mississippi Grind, Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn), a talented Texas Hold’Em player, meets Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) at a Poker game. They instantly become best friends and decide to travel down the Mississippi River and try to win in all the major cities along the way until they ultimately win a high-stakes poker game at a New Orleans casino.
Mississippi Grind will have you on the edge of your seat as you follow Gerry and Curtis on their adventure to win big. It’s an accurate portrayal of a gambler’s reward-seeking mentality and makes for one of the best casino movies of all time.