And this is the reason why movies set in casinos are a commonplace fixture in the Hollywood film industry. Here is a list of some of the greatest casino films that all film buffs and casino enthusiasts must watch at least once.
This landmark film is the result of the collaboration between director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert de Niro. Since the two had already worked together on classics such as Taxi Driver (1976) and Goodfellas (1990), critics and moviegoers alike had high hopes for Casino. And they were not disappointed; this story of two mafia mobsters vying for control over a sizeable casino empire became one of the most critically acclaimed films of the mid-1990s.
Bugsy tells the life and times of Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, an American mobster associated with the Luciano crime family in the 1930s and 1940s. Bugsy was notably known as the man who built Las Vegas; he was one of the founders of the Flamingo Hotel, and single-handedly turned the small desert community into the gambling mecca of the world. This movie offers an intimate glimpse into Bugsy’s (played by Warren Beatty) life, and the hard work he put in into making his masterpiece, the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel Casino, come into being.
Ocean’s 11 (2001)
Though the movie was a remake of the original 1960 Ocean’s 11 film that featured the members of the Rat Pack in starring roles, the 2001 Ocean’s 11 still offered a fresh new take on the casino heist genre. With an all-ensemble cast consisting of some of the biggest names in Hollywood, Ocean’s 11 proved to be one of the defining films of the early 2000s. The film follows the adventures of Danny Ocean (George Clooney), his friend Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) and their ragtag team of heist specialists (Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, and others) as they try to carry out an ambitious large-scale burglary on the Bellagio, one of Las Vegas’s most prominent hotel and casino.
Casino Royale (2006)
Daniel Craig’s first foray into the shoes of the legendary British spy made hardcore Bond fans giddy with anticipation way back in 2006. As the 21st iteration of the beloved series, Casino Royale offered a complete reboot of the whole James Bond franchise, giving viewers a radically different Bond- one that is edgy, more vulnerable, and grungier than the usual debonair spy that people have known for almost 45 years. The film, with its definitive high-stakes poker showdown scene, was also the reason for the resurgence of the Texas hold’em craze in the mid-2000s.
The Cooler (2003)
In casino terminology, a cooler is a person whose bad luck in gambling is deemed to be infectious. At first glance, Bernie Lootz (William Macy) may be one of the unluckiest coolers in the world, but after finding love his ill-fate seems to have been reversed for the better.