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Top 5 Casino Movies of All Time

The allure of casinos and gambling has been a topic of interest for filmmakers for decades, resulting in numerous movies centered around the world of casinos. The opportunity for the contrast between the glitz and glamour against the cut-throat world that exists behind the scenes is perfect for storytelling, so it’s no surprise that casinos provide a backdrop in so many movies.

The casino world has changed so much over the years. Holywood tends to portray the gambling world as having a touch of class and that is still very real in many cases, but technology has allowed players to swap the tuxedo, the chandeliers, and the live dealers for pajamas and the prospect of staying at home playing online poker for real money instead.

We’ve had a look at our favorite casino-based movies, and our top five plays into the old-school casino stereotypes. 

Casino (1995)

Directed by Martin Scorsese, Casino is a classic casino movie that portrays the gritty underworld of Las Vegas in the 1970s.

The movie follows Sam “Ace” Rothstein (Robert De Niro), a professional gambler and master of the real money poker table, as he is tasked with running a casino for the mob. Rothstein quickly becomes embroiled in a web of corruption, deception, and violence, leading to his eventual downfall.

The movie’s performances are top-notch, with De Niro delivering a memorable performance as Rothstein, and Joe Pesci’s portrayal of the violent enforcer Nicky Santoro is equally impressive.

Sharon Stone’s turn as Rothstein’s troubled wife is also worth noting, earning her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 heist movie Ocean’s Eleven features an ensemble cast of A-list actors, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon.

The movie centers around professional thieves who plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously.

The heist is complex and requires careful planning, but the cast’s on-screen chemistry and witty dialogue make for an entertaining and engaging watch.

The movie’s clever twists and turns keep the audience engaged throughout, and the heist scene is a cinematic highlight. The movie’s success spawned two sequels and a spin-off, showcasing its enduring popularity among audiences.

Rounders (1998)

Directed by John Dahl, Rounders is a classic gambling movie that centers around the world of underground poker.

The movie follows law student Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) as he returns to the real money poker table after losing his life savings to a Russian mobster (John Malkovich).

McDermott partners with his old friend Lester “Worm” Murphy (Edward Norton) to try to win back his money and pay off his debts.

Rounders is a movie that resonates with poker players and gamblers alike, depicting the highs and lows of gambling. The movie’s strong performances and intricate plot keep viewers engaged until the very end.

The Sting (1973)

The Sting is a classic movie that tells the story of two con men, played by Robert Redford and Paul Newman, who team up to pull off a long con against a powerful mob boss and was widely acclaimed as it won multiple Academy Awards.

The movie is set in the 1930s and features a jazzy soundtrack that perfectly captures the era’s vibe. The Sting’s intricate plot and clever twists make it a must-watch for anyone interested in the art of the con.

Newman and Redford’s on-screen chemistry is undeniable, making them one of the most iconic duos in cinema history.

The Cooler (2003)

The Cooler is a movie about Bernie Lootz (William H. Macy), a down-on-his-luck gambler who works for a Las Vegas casino. Bernie’s bad luck is contagious, and the casino hires him to cool off hot-streaking gamblers.

When Bernie meets and falls in love with a cocktail waitress (Maria Bello), his luck begins to change, leading to unforeseen consequences. The movie’s performances are top-notch, with Macy delivering a standout performance as Bernie.

The Cooler’s unique concept and engaging storyline make it a must-watch for anyone interested in the world of casinos.

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