The glamour and thrill brought by casino gaming have been used in a lot of forms of entertainment, particularly in the filmmaking industry. Over the years, remarkable blockbuster hits have been produced, further propelling the growth of gambling to patrons.
This brings an indescribable thrill that is difficult to replicate. With the power of filmmaking, you’ll be able to enjoy the same exhilarating intensity as when you are playing at the table yourself. Are you curious to know more? Casino Day India has listed down the best casino movies of all time that perfectly hits the mark.
Hard Eight (1996)
Paul Thomas Anderson’s first feature, Hard Eight, was based on his short film called ‘Cigarettes and Coffee’. Like most of Anderson’s films, the film is character-centric and explores themes of found family and the human need for a sense of belonging.
The story is centred on Sydney, played by Philip Baker Hall, a veteran gambler who meets and befriends John (John C. Reilly) who later becomes a Las Vegas casino Champion. Set in Reno, Nevada, which is home to many seedy casinos, Hard Eight centres its story on love, revenge, and redemption.
Croupier is a neo-noir film starring Clive Owen where he plays a struggling writer named Jack Manfred. His character lands a job as a croupier to make ends meet while his aspirations remain fruitless.
The film gives a behind-the-scenes look at someone who stands on the other side of a casino table. Jack, at one point in the film, says that he does not gamble. True enough, you won’t find him gambling in casino games. However, it’s clear in the decisions he makes in his life that he tends to enter high-stakes situations and makes bets with terrible odds.
Starring Mel Gibson in the titular role, Maverick follows the story of a man who cons his way into accumulating enough money to join a poker contest with a high payoff.
He unsurprisingly makes enemies along the way which comes in the form of other optimistic casino contestants Anabelle (Jodie Foster) and Angel (Alfred Molina). In this movie, follow along to see whether Maverick can outrun the pitfalls of his deceptions.
California Split (1974)
Elliot Gould stars in 1974’s California Split as the carefree Charlie Waters who attempts to chase after a big casino payday with his betting buddy Bill Deny.
The film is a cynical commentary on the pitfalls of addiction to gambling, completely devoid of the glitz and glamour surrounding casinos in general. It is a cautionary tale meant to show that playing casino games is only rewarding as long as you have self-control.
The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
The story is centred on Eric Stoner, played by Steve McQueen, who is a young poker player hoping to build his reputation. He hopes to do this by beating the best casino player called Lancey ‘The Man’ Howard.
When his friend scores him a game against the legendary player, Stoner learns that Howard has ruffled some feathers and that their upcoming match is rigged to make sure Howard loses.
Ocean 11 (2001)
The star-studded film Ocean 11, directed by Steven Soderbergh, stars George Clooney as the dapper Danny Ocean. Recently released from a penitentiary in New Jersey, Danny wastes no time in orchestrating an elaborate casino heist against casino owner Terry Benedict.
To make the plan a success, he enlists the help of other people at the belly of the criminal underworld which is played by prominent Hollywood actors such as Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Elliot Gould, Don Cheadle and many more.
The Gambler (1974)
The gambler tells the story of English professor Axel Freed, played by James Caan, who privately suffers from an extreme gambling addiction. It tells a harrowing tale of addiction and how it can completely upend a person’s life when left unchecked.
Directed by celebrated filmmaker Martin Scorcese is set in the early 1970s Las Vegas. It stars Robert De Niro, who plays a low-level mobster named Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein. The story is centred on Ace who is ordered by his boss to helm the Tangiers Casino. Through the years he faces conflict against several people who pose a danger to the business and his life.
Molly’s Game (2017)
Aaron Sorkin, who wrote and directed Molly’s Game, tells the true story of Molly Bloom played by Jessica Chastain. Molly Bloom was an athlete who injured herself while trying to qualify for the Olympics. This led her to start working at an underground poker tournament at one of the most popular nightclubs in West Hollywood.
At some point, Moly began her own poker company and hosted tournaments where high-profile personalities would join. The players would often include prominent Hollywood figures, sports stars and even business moguls. However, she was later apprehended and arrested by the police for wielding automatic weapons and faced a trial with only a criminal defence lawyer, played by Idris Elba, as an ally.
Casino Royale (2006)
In 2006’s Casino Royale, Daniel Craig debuts in the role of James Bond as he heads to Madagascar in search of a man named Le Chiffre known to finance a terrorist organisation.
The villain, played by Mags Mikkelson, is a regular player at a high-stakes table playing No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker. Towards the end of the film is an incredibly thrilling game of poker between Le Chiffre and Bond. Bond even smartly quips, “that last hand nearly killed me,” after being nearly poisoned to death during the game.
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There is something truly gratifying as you watch these stories unfold. Most of them involve high-stakes situations where the central characters need to bet on their lives for better odds. This is precisely why casino films are engaging.
Not only does it include casino games that offer a thrill to the audience, but they also offer plots that challenge the audience to wait and see whether the characters made the right bet or not.
However, as fun as it is to watch other people play casino games, it’s even better to play them yourself. When you’re ready to jump into a game, be sure to check out Casino Days India’s cache of live and online casino games.