Which are the best movies about gambling?
There have been numerous Hollywood movies about gambling and casinos over the years. From old-time classics like The Hustler to modern-day blockbusters like Casino. Here we look into some of the most influential gambling movies that transformed the way players view casinos.
Let’s start with a recent film called Croupier released in 1998 and featuring Clive Owen as Jack Manfred. The story details the life of a would-be writer forced back to chip-handling when his literary career flounders. Jack sees the effects of gambling on players and croupiers alike. It isn’t before Jack’s playing is dominated by deceit, adultery and murder. The film is more of a public service announcement than an examination of human motivations. Croupier is a safe movie bet that pays off every time!
Maverick is an adaptation of the popular TV series of the same name. They both feature James Garner, and Mel Gibson plays a con man and humorous gunslinger called Bret Maverick. The Western also stars Jodie Foster, who plays the suspiciously friendly Annabelle Bransford. Maverick also features Alfred Molina in the role of Angel. Maverick was written by Roy Hugging, who was the original writer of the television series and who wrote the screenplay for the movie. Maverick takes viewers through an exciting poker game with a variety of cons, stagecoach chases and gunfights.
The Cincinnati Kid
The Cincinnati Kid is a cinematic masterpiece released in 1965 and directed by Norman Jewison. It perfectly captures the intense excitement of seeing the pot stack up after a flop and devising the ultimate game strategy and play while at the same time keeping an eye open for tells. The film features the King of Cool, Steve McQueen who hits the nail on the head as poker prodigy Eric ‘The Kid’ Stoner. He is at his best during the iconic, last hand scene of the film.
James Bond’s stunning return to top-form is typified by one of the best entries in the franchise. It is one of the finest action films made and central to the theme is the utterly incredible high-stakes poker tournament. Daniel Craig’s James Bond fights to bankrupt a terrorist banker called Le Chiffre, played by MadsMikkelsen. It’s hard to believe how authentic that incredible 40 minutes of cinematic magic with a poker edge-of-your-seat poker game with “winner takes all”!
The Hustler was released in 1961 and directed by Robert Rosen. It is packed with gambling archetypes like Paul Newman as Fast’ Eddie Felsen and real-life pool champion Minnesota Fats. George C. Scott’s crooked agent is perfect, and Piper Laurie plays the love interest to Fast Eddie, who soon discovers there is no room for distractions in a grinder’s life. The film depicts the loneliness of a gambler’s life, the heartbreak, boredom, and alcoholism. A far less glamorous depiction of gambling, but Paul Newman looks so cool when he dances around the pool table. The Hustler is a compelling story about the difference between the price you have to pay and its real value.
Based on Dostoyevsky’s novel, The Gambler was released in 1974 and starred James Caan as a literature professor who shares a screenwriter obsession with gambling. Toback’s semi-autobiographical script and the talented actor James Caan bring complete sense of the hero and his fractured logic. The Gambler is at the top of the pile of gambling movies.
Martín Scorsese’s Casino is a legendary gangster movie unleashed in 1995 starring Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone and is possibly the most famous gambling movie of all, and deserves the first spot. It is a real-life story, and unlike other films that focus more on players beating the odds, Casino deals with a player who sets the odds! That is the talented bookmaker Sam Ace Rothstein, portrayed by Robert DeNiro. He is recruited by the mob to oversee operations at a Vegas casino. The arrangement runs smoothly for a while until Rothstein’s marriage to Sharon Stone’s Ginger. The careless and vicious Mafia underboss Santoro, played by Joe Pesci, leads to a dramatic downfall.
The Sting is set during the 1930s in Chicago and tells a story of con men who create a complicated plan in retaliation to a crime boss for revenge. Iconic actors Paul Newman and Robert Redford are the two con men who target a criminal boss who is addicted to gambling. From the outset of a fraud, Redford’s persona throws up many twists and turns and the long con gets even more complicated for both the protagonists as it reaches its peak.
The last casino
The Last Casino is a 2004 Canadian film about card counting. Mathematics Professor, Doug Barnes (Charles Martin Smith) plays blackjack at casinos using a tactic known as card counting to move the odds in his favour. A casino security manager captures Barnes’ face and blacklists him from the casino. Since Barnes’ owes his usurer a lot of money, he recruits three students to help him with his quest. And speaking of Canada, if you happen to hail from that continent, we invite you to check out the site which reviews the Top Online Casinos in Canada.