Gambling has always been popular. The demand for casino games and cinema grew simultaneously in the 1960s. That being said, there are countless examples of directors and writers using a casino as a high-intensity backdrop to their action or drama flick. Here’s a list of some of the best films and most iconic casino scenes in Hollywood, courtesy of Dominic Andreasson. At casinospel, you can also find a list of the best online casinos; Hollywood hasn’t caught up with that trend yet!
Casino Royale (2006)
Casino Royale (2006) might be the most famous casino movie in the history of cinema. It’s also part of the prestigious and adored James Bond lineage of films. The movie follows special agent 007, played by Daniel Craig, and Le Chiffre, played by Mads Mikkelson, as they duke it out in a high-stakes poker game.
The most iconic scene in the film comes during an expensive hand. The total reaches over $100 million and pits 007 and Le Chiffre head to head. They stare each other down as Le Chiffre unveils his excellent hand, only to be beaten by Bond’s straight flush.
Casino (1995) is a classic gangster flick with a star-studded lineup including Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone. Likewise, it’s chock full of iconic scenes. As you may expect, when gangsters run a casino, things aren’t going to run smoothly.
One great scene details Ace (played by Robert De Niro) catching two players cheating. The voiceover goes through how the two are hustling the dealer and shows how brilliant Ace’s character is. It contains some great blackjack scenes throughout.
Rain Man (1988) & The Hangover (2009)
Rain Man (1988) and The Hangover (2009) are placed together in this list because one is referencing the other. First came Rain Man, the story of two brothers on a cross country road trip. Raymond, Dustin Hoffman’s character, is autistic; one scene in the film finds them at the casino.
Raymond uses his savant-like math skills to count cards and win big at blackjack. This scene starts with Ray’s younger brother, played by Tom Cruise, saying the iconic line, “Let’s play some cards.” It takes the form of a montage and is some of the best gambling on video.
In The Hangover, the main characters Phil, Alan, and Stu are down on their luck and in the hole when it comes to money. To try and remedy this problem, Alan (played by Zach Galifianakis) references Rain Man and reads a blackjack strategies book. They go to the casino in an attempt to count cards. With hilarious editing, the gang manages to win all the money they need before being kicked out in a cheeky homage to the classic 80s film.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
A list of the most iconic casino and gambling films isn’t complete without mentioning Ocean’s Eleven (2001). This movie follows Danny Ocean (played by George Clooney) as he attempts to pull off the most extensive casino heist in history. This star-studded film also stars Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts. It features iconic scenes, including one where Brad Pitt’s character outlines how to call someone’s bluff in poker.
Black Panther (2018)
The most recent addition to this list, Black Panther (2018), gets an honourable mention for one of the most extraordinary casino-based fight scenes in film history. This movie follows T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, as he tries to find himself and unite his people. It’s within the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is based on the comic book character Black Panther. Early in the film, T’Challa and his friends head to an underground casino to stake out the sale of stolen goods. This ends in a super fight where quippy one-liners abound.
As gambling technology and the film industry continue to grow, we expect the relationship between the two to stay as intertwined as ever. Who knows, maybe the next great heist flick will be about online casinos or winning big at live dealer tables. The possibilities are endless.