Gambling is all about that big, grand life—but so are movies about it. Can you imagine what a beautiful and pompous viewing experience you can have if both are combined?
This combination has been thought of before as well. Gambling has formed a major part of some films. If you are both the right kind of cinephile and the ardent casino lover—you would not want to miss out on these!
Here are 8 casino films that you have seen in the movies.
1. Casino (1995)
We can’t proceed unless we mention the greatest classic of the lot. The casino is a film that has every other game in it—poker, roulette, slots—and everything in between.
However, what makes this film a pure masterpiece isn’t the games or the intensity behind it. In fact, there aren’t really any adrenaline-packed moments within the games per se.
What makes this an “Oscar-worthy” film is the layers of humanity placed in the premises and veil of the casino itself.
The film spins a beautiful yet gruesome tale of power, greed, lust, and other vile elements that are capable of crumbling society. Scorsese has made this masterpiece worth watching—irrespective of whether you are a casino lover or not.
2. The Sting (1973)
If poker is your thing, The Sting is a must-watch. Riddled with twists and turns all around the film, it will keep you on your toes for its entirety.
Oh, and if that wasn’t dividend enough (pun intended), there are tons of other off-track betting operations as part of the film too.
Unlike most other casino-based films, The Sting is relatively fast-paced. One blink and you will miss out on the important elements of it. The performances are pretty enticing too!
3. Mississippi Grind (2015)
Ryan Reynolds is usually associated with being funny. Mississippi Grind is far from that reality. Quite possibly one of his best performances on screen, the film is about a lot more than just poker.
The tale begins when Ben Mendelsohn accepts Ryan as his newfound friend. Deep down, he considers him to be some sort of a lucky charm.
The film is riddled with ideas of addiction, depression, gambling, and mostly the darker side of life. Reeking of alcohol and tobacco, Mississippi Grind does not hold back when it comes to portraying raw emotions.
4. Runner Runner (2013)
Who said that films were only about land-based casinos? While they are considered classics, there is one film on our list which might be different from the rest.
Think about this—how many films have you watched where you witnessed an online casino? Online roulette, poker, slots—unheard of, right?
Runner Runner is here to prove otherwise. Justin Timberlake provides not only a great performance but also hindsight into the terrors of invalid online casinos.
The film starts with him playing online poker to make ends meet with regard to his tuition fees. This proceeds to him realizing the dark side of unlicensed casinos.
He realizes that he is being scammed, after which he decides to face the people behind the creation of the website itself. As expected, this confrontation does not go well. We don’t want to spoil this for you—watch it right away!
5. Croupier (1998)
Clive Owen plays Jack here, an aspiring novelist. In dire need of money, Jack visits the casino for a job. He rises up to that of a croupier, following which he gets to know about the intricacies of the gambling world.
Croupier is one of the darker films we have come across. It takes on the sweating, anxiety-ridden, nail-biting, depressive episodes that can come if moderation of gambling isn’t dealt with.
While the plot isn’t really phenomenal, the acting makes up for it. Overall, this is a must-see for most casino audiences.
6. Hard Eight (1996)
This is a film about a man in solitude. This is a film that explores the sheer vastness of emotions that a man who is pushed into the darker side of Las Vegas faces.
The film encircles around the protagonist who is quiet and only interacts when spoken to, or when asked for help.
It is not a particularly grand film. Unlike the average Scorsese on Tarantino films, Hard Eight does not really show the grandiose that we associate with Sin City, instead, this is pretty moving a film.
The film seems to comprehend the true nature of Vegas, and how we do not notice the depth of emotions that men who aren’t boisterous carry.
7. Uncut Gems (2019)
This might appear to be lighter on the surface, but it surely cuts deep. Uncut Gems is about Howard and how his gambling addiction is getting the best of his already downtrodden life.
Don’t get us wrong—Uncut Gems is full of ups and downs; enough to keep you on your toes with that adrenaline rush.
Speaking of rush—seeing the psyche behind Howard’s inherent will to end his life (functionally speaking) is something that is bound to make you go crazy.
The way Howard goes back and forth into this undying and unending sense of addiction is something that will make you feel like you’re the one losing inhibitions. Feels a lot like you’re gambling, right?
8. Rounders (1998)
Matt Damon in his youth had a very streamlined appearance on screen. Be it in Good Will Hunting or Rounders, his performances seemed brilliant but similar in both.
Don’t get us wrong—he plays the part of a poker player pretty well. The problem with Rounders is perhaps that it can be perceived as too dragged.
If you are an ardent Damon fan, you’ll probably find it super engrossing. For others, it is a pretty alright-ish watch.
There are obviously a lot of other films that had pretty intense casino games. Casino Royale, for instance, had one of the most chilling moments we have seen on screen. That being said, being cinephiles, we’d much rather include films that had their core around the casino. What are you waiting for? Watch these if you haven’t already!