The Top 5 Casino Movies of All Time

    There is a certain allure to watching someone constantly put their life and well-being at risk. Movies about casinos, mafias and gambling deliver exactly the kind of drama and danger we all love to see. 

    You are totally missing out if you haven’t watched the following movies about crime and casinos!  


    The November 1995 crime drama movie directed by Martin Scorsese is about Ace, a powerful mafia associate who is sent to run the Tangiers Casino. He is unofficially in charge of everything that happens and does such a good job in doubling profits that he begins to host a television show from inside the casino. He quickly becomes a public figure and this is not taken well by the Midwest bosses as they do not like the attention he is drawing to himself or the casino.
    Ace’s marriage is falling apart after finding out his wife Ginger had an affair with her ex-boyfriend, Lester, and he files for divorce. The FBI soon catch up with them and close the casino and Ace resorts to working in San Diego as a sports handicapper. In the midst of all the violence and tragedy, there are still some humorous moments. This movie goes to show you that no matter how tough you are, there will always be someone you are answerable to.


    This neo-noir, crime film directed by Mike Hodges was released in June 1998 starring Clive Owen, Nick Reding and Nicholas Ball. Croupier is a movie about an aspiring writer, Jack, who is desperate to make some easy money and resorts to becoming a croupier. He is caught up by life in the casino and very soon his relationship with his girlfriend deteriorates. While at the casino, the aspiring writer violates very many rules, including fraternizing with his colleagues and pulling off an inside job for one of the gamblers. Mike Hodges did a good job with this movie as it is intelligent and well-researched in matters to do with the workings of a casino.  

    Hard Eight

    We dare not fail to add Hard Eight to our list of top 5 casino movies of all time, starring Phillip Baker, John C Reilly, Samuel Jackson and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. The crime/drama movie was aired in February 1997. Sydney, senior gambler takes John under his wing and after paying for his mother’s funeral, he begins to coach him and makes him his protégé. Sydney asks Clementine to show him around town and she admits to being a prostitute. Soon after, Sydney is frantically called to a motel by John and finds that he and Clementine are holding a man hostage for not paying Clementine her money. The movie brought out one of the director’s favorite themes: how different people can come into your life and it will never be the same again. 

    Ocean 11

    Written by Ted Griffin and directed by Steven Soderbergh, Ocean’s 11 is a comedy, American heist film starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts among others. Aired in December 2001, the film portrays two friends, Danny and Rusty teaming up together to convince wealthy former casino owner Reuben to go on a heist with them. At first, Reuben is hesitant but on giving it further thought, he agrees to take part in the heist. It would be a great way to take revenge against his rival, Benedict, who owned the casinos they planned to rob. The dynamic duo recruit eight former criminals each with their own area of expertise. They manage to fool Benedict and get away with the heist. Ocean’s 11 is described to be a slick movie which has been well put together and is bursting at the seams with class.  

    California Split

    Director Robert Altman had it in mind for the August 1974 movie to revolve around two friends who are united by their love for gambling. Bill is an experienced gambler but we cannot say the same for his friend Charlie. Their bond intensifies after they are wrongfully accused by a fellow gambler of foul play. In no time, Charlie becomes addicted to gambling to the point of sinking into huge debt. Bill suggests that he and Charlie try their hand at poker games and they agree to split their earnings. Bill was on a roll, winning game after game, but when he stops at the craps table, he quickly loses enthusiasm and is feeling drained. The duo split $82000 worth in winnings and after Bill informs Charlie of his decision to quit, the two go their separate ways. The film has a kind of a documentary feel to it, with the meticulous use of background sounds that makes us feel as if we are right there with Bill and Charlie.

    In a nutshell

    These casino movies have a way of immersing their audience with their plots. They deliver more than what a documentary could in a way that gamblers will relate to them and non-gamblers will get an actual feel of what it is like to be in their world.

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