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The representation of gambling characters in cinema

February 11th, 2015 by Marc Comments

It’s an obvious observation but the greater the character is portrayed in a film, the greater the film is likely to be received. The depiction of on-screen characters is the key to keeping the audience engrossed in the film and not heading to the exits. There is also a strong connection between the era a film is set and how a character behaves, thus how they are perceived by the audience.
One of the best categories to compare characters in is that of the casino movie. From gambling in westerns to the lights of Vegas, a characters ability to keep us gripped really sets movies apart.
To show the portrayal of some of the best casino scenes from different eras, here are some memorable figures to compare yourself to:

The Cowboy – Captain James T. West (Wild Wild West, 1999)
The film way not have reached the dazzling heights that were expected at the Box Office, but Wild Wild West has all the ingredients needed to make a great Cowboy flick. With horse riding, bar brawls, shoot outs and corruption, it’s down to Jim West to erase all the crime from the South. Will Smith takes on the lead role of the police force’s Captain, taking on a whole of crooked characters that stand in the way of justice. If a card player was caught cheating during the great Western period, they would have to face the consequence of the actions from their fellow players – with a lot of cases ending in death. Jim West may not have been a big poker player, but he didn’t stand for any cheating or corruption under his watch.

wild wild west

The Bootlegger – Al Capone (The Untouchables, 1987)
Whenever you think of a gangster during the Prohibition of the 1920’s and 1930’s, the first name that would spring to mind is Al Capone. Working out of Chicago, Capone (played by Robert De Niro) ran all of the city’s bootlegging business from 1926 to 1933 – the illegal alcohol, smuggling of goods and the underground gambling rings. His depiction on the silver screen is the perfect representation of a bootlegger, paying off the justice system to keep out of his way and thriving on the excitement and danger of rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous whilst his empire makes the money. It isn’t until Elliot Ness and Jim Malone, played by Kevin Costner and Sean Connery, drag Capone into court for tax evasion his corrupt and wicked ways are brought to an end.

The Player – Phil (The Hangover, 2009)
Now regarded as one of the greatest comedy films of all time, The Hangover brings together three total opposites as they hunt for their missing friend. The Player of the group is definitely Phil – a man so cool that Alan aspires to be just like him! Even though they have lost the groom-to-be, Phil maintains his cool and calm demeanour to help Alan win the $80,000 they need on the blackjack table. But, when they realise they have been given the wrong Doug by flamboyant gangster Mr Chow, it’s safe to say he gets to the end of his tether!

hangover --1

To celebrate these differences Ladbrokes Casino has put together a quiz to allow you to see which era you belong to! Are you a Swinger like Austin Powers or a Cowboy like Bret Maverick?

Let us know your thoughts below, @NerdFollowing on Twitter or on Facebook

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….

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