Casino scenes are a common feature in many hit films and can be used to add excitement and suspense. Casinos are portrayed in many different ways, and many movies tend to highlight both the thrilling side of the casino lifestyle and the potential consequences of overindulgence.
In several action films, such as James Bond Casino Royale and 1990’s hit Casino, games of poker are central to a suspenseful plot, while in the comedy film The Hangover, a casino scene is used to add humour and shows the amusing consequences of the character’s recklessness.
The use of casinos in popular culture has helped the industry to grow over the last decade, with industry revenue growing year on year, particularly in the online market. There is now a huge range of choice in games at a number of online providers, both at home and abroad.
These are just some of the best known movies to feature casinos from the last few decades:
Casino Royale (2006)
The 2006 spy film Casino Royale is probably one of the most famous casino movies in history and is part of the James Bond franchise starring Daniel Craig as British MI6 agent 007. He is tasked with bankrupting the evil terrorist financier Le Chiffre in a high stakes poker game at the grand Casino Royale in Montenegro.
After a series of dramatic events, including bond being poisoned by the villain, the agent plays a $115 million hand that wins with a straight flush in Texas Hold’em.
If you want to experience the excitement of a poker game from the comfort of your own home, why not try playing live poker at an online casino in the UK?
The Hangover (2009)
The 2009 comedy film The Hangover follows three friends on a disastrous stag weekend in Las Vegas. During the course of the film, the friends lose their groom and must piece together the previous night’s events to find him before the big day. They end up in a situation where they must find $80,000 dollars to pay a ransom and Alan uses his knowledge of card counting to win the money in blackjack.
There are a number of tributes to other famous casino scenes in this movie. For example, the scene from Rain Man (1988) where two characters played by Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman go to the casino is reflected in The Hangover scene where Alan and Phil are seen going down the escalator.
Also, in the desert scene where Phil, Stu, and Alan meet Chow and you see them in the reflection of his sunglasses, a tribute is being made to the 1995 film Casino and the scene where Nicky meets Sam.
Run Lola Run (1998)
This next film, Run Lola Run, is a thriller with a slightly darker plot. The main character Lola is tasked with earning 100,000 Deutschmarks in just 20 minutes in order to save the life of her boyfriend Manni.
The film explores the theme of free will vs determinism and in the casino scene, Lola bets all the money she has on a game of roulette and wins. This scene takes place in a glamorous, upscale casino in the centre of Berlin, her high-decibel scream as the wheel spins is an iconic moment in the movie and shows Lola gaining control over the chaotic events in her life.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
The American heist film Ocean’s Eleven is a comedy and remake of the 1960s move with the same name. It follows main characters Danny Ocean (played by the famous George Clooney) and Rusty Ryan as they plan to rob $160 million dollars from a casino owned by Ocean’s ex-wife’s lover.
The main feature in this film is Las Vegas’ most famous casino, the Bellagio. This casino is an extremely large and grand building that first opened in 1998 and reportedly cost around $1.6 billion dollars to construct.
Within this complex is the poker room, which is popular with many of the world’s top professional poker champions. Not only is it an excellent setting for a casino-themed film, it also often hosts large tournaments such as the World Poker Tour.
Casino is another classic American film starring big name actors, including Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci. De Niro plays Sam, an American Jewish gambler and handicapper who is requested to oversee the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas.
Sam has many difficulties with the job and is faced with dealing with the Mafia, soon the criminal activities he is involved with start to get too much attention from the media and law enforcement.
While The Tangiers is not a real life casino, it is based on the Las Vegas casino The Stardust. The Stardust was run by Frank Rosenthal, a mobster who inspired the creation of the main character Sam. This casino opened in the 1950s and was bought and sold numerous times over the decades before finally being demolished in 2006.
This film is an example of how the thrilling events that have been known to take place in Las Vegas casinos make excellent plots for casino themed movies.