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Casinos are a perfect setting for classic movies. Here's a breakdown of the most iconic casino movies of all time.

Most iconic casino movies of all time

Casinos have always played an important role in our lives. So, it’s no wonder that there are so many movies made about gambling and everything that comes with it. The actual number is pretty big and most of them are really good and we are pretty sure that it’s impossible to make a list of the best ones that can include all titles that deserve to find a place on it. However, we’ve decided to make our selection of the most iconic casino movies of all time.

The Gambler

We think that a proper list should start with a classic movie. That’s why we’ve picked The Gambler first. This movie came out in 1974 and what we like about it most is that it doesn’t focus on the flashy side of casinos. Instead, it rather shows a personal side and all the troubles that could come with problem gambling.

The story is about a professor who is well-respected in the local community, with a big career behind and in front of him. However, he also has a dark side, which is all about problem gambling. The addiction becomes bigger and bigger and things are getting worse. It starts with borrowing and ends with stealing the money. Seems like a typical story but the movie is actually really good.

Casino

It’s hard to imagine a list without this title. This is a quintessential casino movie and many consider it the best of all time. Reasons are pretty obvious. The movie is directed by Martin Scorsese, while the main characters are portrayed by household names like Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone etc.

The story is about an ambitious casino operator who comes to Las Vegas and runs one of the major establishments in the city. Of course, he uses all available resources to advance in his career and that includes a lot of illegal things. He has tight connections with the mafia, which will cause many problems eventually. Long story short, the movie has all ingredients of a great crime movie. The story is great, there is plenty of violence, there are intrigues, while the end is quite unpredictable.

Casino Royale

Even though the original is really good, we prefer the 2006 remake from Daniel Craig’s era. In this sequel, the 007 Agent travels to Montenegro in order to play a highly risky poker game. He needs to win in a tough competition, which includes an infamous poker master who also finances terrorist organizations around the world. 

 Many consider this title one of the best Bond movies of all time. We definitely agree and, even if you’re not a fan of Bond movies, you should watch this one. Simply, the casino atmosphere in the movie is amazing, while there is also plenty of action. Of course, you may also count on typical intrigues that characterize all movies about the famous agent.

Rounders

Although it isn’t strictly about a casino, but rather about high-stake poker games, this movie definitely deserved to be on the list. Simply, everything about this movie is great. We like the story, and even more the crew. The main characters are played by big names like Matt Damon, John Malkovich and Edward Norton. After reading these three names, we are pretty sure that you already think this movie is worth watching.

The story is about a former poker player, who is coming back to the game, in order to pay the debts of his best friend. Of course, things get complicated eventually, as the money needs to be collected in a pretty short period. It ends up with playing a high-end game against a mafia boss, who is also a passionate poker player.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Compared to other movies on the list, this one uses a little bit of a different approach, which isn’t necessarily about gambling. Instead, this is a story about a sports journalist and his friend, who travel to Nevada to make a big interview. The only problem is that both of them like to do drugs, and you know very well that it’s super-hard to resist such things in Las Vegas. Practically, they are stoned all the time, which leads them to various situations, mostly troubles.

Based on Hunter S. Thompson’s novel, the movie came out in 1998 and instantly became legendary. The reasons are numerous but all you need to know is that the two main characters are portrayed by two real masters, Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro. The director Terry Gilliam also did a fantastic job.

The Cincinnati Kid

Here is another classic on the list. We consider this fast-paced thriller one of the best casino movies of all time. The reasons are numerous and one of the first things we should mention is the main role is played by the legendary Steve McQueen, who did an amazing job, as always. The movie is full of action, with plenty of guns and legendary under-hand moves.

The story is about a young and talented poker player who grows up during the great depression. Of course, he wants to get out of poverty and the easiest way to do this is to win money on the table. However, things aren’t that easy, as he needs to outplay the best poker player in town.

Croupier

Clive Owen plays a young writer who, in need of money, starts to work as a croupier. He quickly becomes aware of the benefits that this kind of job offers, mostly in terms of finances. However, it won’t pass too much time after he realizes that all those stories he’s hearing from players, and those are mostly sad and tragic, have a negative impact on his mental health.

This movie usually gets overlooked but it is actually one of the best casino movies you can watch. What’s great about it is that it gives the opposite view of the world of casinos, from a dealer’s perspective. Clive Owen did a fantastic job, while the scenography is excellent. We consider it one of the most realistic casino movies ever made.

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