Three Top Films Featuring Casinos
If you like a flutter, you already know the thrill of the casino: the calls of the croupiers, their extravagant gestures – so showman-like, but in fact designed so the security cameras can follow their every move: trusting is something that no casino owner can afford to be! – and the evocative lights and sounds of the various gambling set-ups, from one-armed bandits to roulette wheels to blackjack tables. Many films have attempted to capture this excitement, using it as a background to add even more excitement into the storyline that is playing out. Here are three highly exciting and distinctive films which all have gambling as a main theme running through the narrative.
If you are a fan of the James Bond franchise you recognise this title as being one that was made twice: first in 1967, with a stellar cast comprising David Niven, Woody Allen, and Orsen Welles, amongst others, performing rather a spoofed version of the Ian Fleming book; and then again in 2006 with Daniel Craig as the hero, this time a more faithful reproduction of the tale. The original book was published in 1953, and saw James Bond earn his 00: the famed licence to kill. He also married, falling genuinely in love for the first and last time in the series. The villain of the book (and the films) is Le Chiffre, and much of the action takes place in a high-stakes luxury casino, where fortunes are lost and won in mere seconds.
Set in the American old-west, complete with cowboy hats and paddle-steamers, this 1994 film has a high-stakes poker game as its central point. Bret Maverick, the eponymous hero, is desperate to make his fortune, and works as a conman to try and raise the buy-in to get a seat at the table. But this is just the beginning of the twists and turns the film takes as Maverick must fight to survive, to get his seat at the table, and to win the fortune that will be life-changing – if only he can get his hands on it safely!
The mid-nineties was obviously a time when high-stakes gambling had piqued the interest of the public, as this movie was produced in 1995, just one year after Maverick. But this film is no feel-good happy-ender. Instead it is packed with nail-biting action, mob control, jewellery and cash heists, double and triple-crosses and tragic ends for a shocking number of characters! Starring 90s heavyweights Sharon Stone, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, Casino was nearly three hours long – unusual for those days – of non-stop action that left the leavers stunned as they stumbled back out into the real world!
Today gambling films could look quite different: with the advent of televised poker games on channels like ESPN, gaming websites such as online Koi casino, and the proliferation of easy to use gambling apps, film-makers could have a field day – perhaps budding Tarantinos could get to work on their casino themed oeuvre, inspired by this piece?