Casino movies are some of the most dramatic, beautiful, and beloved type of films produced by Hollywood today. Audiences seem to show up at the box office and give filmmakers a hefty return on their investment, making casino-centric films a smart investment.
Depending what other genres you like, there is a casino movie that works for your preferences. Take a look at four of the best casino movies of all time.
This 2001 remake of the 1960s film made famous by Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack was directed by Steven Soderbergh. The hold-on-to-the-edge-of-your-seat flick tells the story of newly paroled thief, Danny Ocean (George Clooney), and his drive to pull the biggest heist in casino history. Together with 11 of his closest stealthy, talented confidants he orchestrates his next big thing: robbing three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously. The flick is a roller coaster of excitement.
This 2006 action packed film breathes life into Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name. Just as he was receiving his license to kill, Special Agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) receives his first assignment in Madagascar as 007. He is to bring down Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a weapons dealer and terrorist sponsor, in a high-stakes poker game. Critics gave the film high praise and it received film of the year by viewers of “Film 2006.”
This 1988 dramedy directed by Barry Levinson is a sibling love story with Las Vegas as one of its characters. When exotic car dealer Charlie Babbitt’s (Tom Cruise) estranged father passes away, he bequeaths his $3 million fortune to the mental institution where his other son, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), lives. Greed motivates Charlie to go in search of Raymond, who is autistic and ends up being a gifted gambler. The brothers embark on a cross county trip where, to Charlie’s surprise, he starts bonding with his long lost brother. After Charlie’s car inventory was seized by his creditors for defaulting, he schemes up a way to raise some capital: have Raymond count cards and win at the blackjack table. The film took top honors at the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman, and Best Screenplay Writing.
This 1998 Gen-X film was directed by John Dahl and gives great insight into the world of gambling. It tells the story of gifted yet reformed poker player, Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), who left the world of gambling and started anew in law school. Or so he thought. When his buddy Lester “Worm” Murphy (Edward Norton) is released from prison, Mike finds himself back in the world of poker on a quest to help Worm out of a substantial debt. Even though he’s not doing the type of good deeds a charitable poker organization does, Mike’s heart and loyalty to Worm compel him to return to gambling, putting his relationship with his girlfriend, Jo, at risk. Though the film did not receive any major awards, it is credited with bringing back the popularity of Texas Hold’em and even inspiring some of today’s most successful poker players to get in the game.
What casino-based movies are on your short list of favorites?