What makes an awesome gambling movie? It has to have the right kind of cast, to start with. These are guys and gals who look at home in the bright lights of a casino, in their finest clothes. They need the swagger to make us believe they could walk up to the big tables, bet huge amounts of money and have some secret strategy to win.
The best gambling movies need to be about more than just gambling too. Sure there is the thrill of the poker game or blackjack but it needs to have a great story to it. You need to be able to feel what the person is going through, why they are doing what they are doing.
And they have to have the right locations. Las Vegas is always a popular spot. Most of the best casino or gambling movies are set in the city. Games relating to gambling often use the city as a backdrop and Vegas Palms online casino games are another example of the city being used in real gambling games. Monte Carlo is the sophisticated option that is also popular in movies, games and for online casinos.
So once a movie has all of that, can it enter onto the list of the most awesome gambling movies ever? Well here are four we think have what it takes to make it to that list.
The Gambler is one of the classics, made in 1974 and starring James Caan. The story is simple – college professor gets in too deep and ends up getting himself into trouble to fund his habit. He borrows money from The Mob and his family and losses it all. Threatened with death by mobsters and disowned by everyone he loves, he decides to go for that one big gamble to make a fortune and restore his life.
The film has been remade in 2014 featuring Mark Wahlberg but the reviews on the remake are a little less enthusiastic – don’t think it would make the list on its own merits!
Mention gambling movies and most people will bring up Ocean’s Eleven. Technically, it is a heist movie but it is so centered around casinos and the gambling world that it gets onto the list anyway. And it certainly has the cast to fit the bill – George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts just to mention a few. The plot is simple – a mastermind thief wants to rob three casinos at the same time and assembled a crew to do the job. The film made over $38 million on its opening weekend so it was no gamble making it!
Catch a very young looking Matt Damon as the lead role in Rounders and you have a good start for the cast element. The film is based around a gifted poker player played by Damon who gives up the game to avoid getting into trouble. But when his friend, played by Edward Norton, is released from prison and his gambling debts are chasing him, Damon is forced to return to poker to make the money to save his friend’s life.
Casino Royale is another gambling movie that isn’t really about gambling – it’s about James Bond. But there’s plenty of gambling in it and it is a superb visual movie. The 2006 movie featuring Daniel Craig in the lead role was a remake of the 1967 film that was actually a spy comedy. The modern version gets the classic Bond treatment complete with beautiful women, stunning cars and evil villains that Bond must beat to win the day. No spoilers to say that of course he succeeds!