There is something almost surreal about a high-end luxury casino. They are full of men in suits, women in pretty gowns and of course money, loads of money. So, it is little wonder that the casino is often the basis or part of the great Hollywood blockbuster. Over the last few years, and indeed, in the previous 12 months with the global pandemic and lockdown, online casinos have gained in popularity. Which has reminded players that once they have had their fun, there are also a wealth of films to be watched that feature the gaming tables of Las Vegas and the world. Here is a quick rundown of the best 25 movies about gambling as we see it.
1. Ocean’s Eleven
Perhaps the most famous modern-day casino film featuring Hollywood hunks Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Of course, this is a remake of the Rat Pack version, and it works as it was a monster hit oozing class, calm card sharks and plenty of glitz and glamour.
Unsurprisingly this Robert De Niro hit is set in Vegas where he meets Joe Pesci. This is a classic Martin Scorsese hit with action aplenty and some added beauty in the form of Sharon Stone.
Tom Cruise and Paul Newman star in this film about a pool shark which has to make some serious decisions about his future. Newcomer Vincent did great things for Cruise’s ratings, but we have seen better from Martin Scorsese; still, it is a good romp and worth the sofa time.
4. California Split
5. Uncut Gems
Back in the modern-day, we have a thriller from Josh and Benny Safdie which features all-time favourite Adam Sandler as a rather useless but addicted gambler who is coming adrift.
6. The Gambler
Another oldie but goodie in James Toback’s 1974 film is based loosely on his addiction to gambling. James Cann stars and this film was remade in 2014 with Mark Wahlberg in the lead role, always a good sign when a movie is deemed good enough to remake.
7. Hard Eight
Although he only has one scene, Philip Seymour Hoffman steals the show, but there is plenty to watch in the rest of the story. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, this is the place for double-barrelled surnames.
8.The Cincinnati Kid
A Steve McQueen classic with plenty of poker and hustling alike, this 1965 film was considered a bit of a steal as it ripped off The Hustler, but it is an excellent watch with plenty going on.
Not the most famous, but this is undoubtedly one gambling movie worth a second look. It was directed by Barbet Schroeder and starred Jacques Dutronc.
10. Mississippi Grind
If you like the Marvel franchise, you may recognize the filmmaker names, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden. They are behind the Mississippi Grind which centers around a New Orleans’s poker game and stars Ryan Reynolds.
Clive Owen’s explosive performance as leading light Jack, a wannabe writer who has no money, thinks gambling could be the answer.
12. Owning Mahowny
Another film that is far away from casino life’s glamour is the cringe-worthy realistic look at the addiction and depression it can cause. This is based on the true story of a bank manager from Canada, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman.
A fresh-faced Matt Damon stars in rounders as a professional poker player in this exciting film about gambling and addiction.
14. The Sting
15. Atlantic City
Aptly named for a gambling film this 1980 movie features Burt Lancaster and casino waitress played by a very young-looking Susan Sarandon.
16. Eight Men Out
This film looks at the 1919 scandal with a factual historical background that focused on the Chicago White Sox and sports gambling.
17. The Hustler
The hustler is the prequel to the color of money, and Paul Newman once more stars as a pool hustler with some interesting storylines.
Another movie set in Las Vegas, title character Bugsy Siegel is played by Warren Beatty and is a gambler gangster who has decided to take matters into his own hands.
19. Molly’s Game
More often than not, films about gambling tend to focus on men, but this is based on the true story of a former female skier who suffers a tragic accident at the peak of her game. Unable to ski she turns to the seedy underworld of poker.
20. The Cooler
William H Macy and Alec Baldwin star in this movie of casino control by sabotaging high winning games posing as a player.
Mel Gibson turns con man and card shark in this 1994 movie.
Based on the real-life MIT card shark team who won thousands of counting cards.
23. Let it Ride
A comedy file with Richard Dreyfuss and an auspicious day at the races.
24. Vegas Vacation
Not so well known but worth a watch if you have a spare couple of hours.
25. Lucky You
World Series of Poker and plenty of action with Eric Bana and Robert Duvall.