The very best casino movie scenes of all time
Casino movies are notorious for overdramatizing wins and losses. But we can’t blame them really, because it’s the action, excitement and drastic losses that keep us glued to the film for 90 or so minutes.
In this article, we explore some of the best movies with iconic gambling scenes.
The Final Showdown in Rounders (1998)
Rounders is one of the best casino movies ever made. That said, it has plenty of great scenes worth watching again. Perhaps the most iconic of them all is the final game between Mike (Matt Damon) and KGB (John Malkovich).
To provide some background, Mike and his friend Lester (Edward Norton) owed KGB $15,000. The Russian mobster gave the pair a week to pay off their debts. Otherwise, he was going to kill him.
So, when Mike challenges KGB for a poker game, the action was going to happen. Fortunately, the showdown does not disappoint. Mike plays calmly. He bluffs when he needs to; he taunts his opponent and goes all-in to win a lump sum at the last minute.
$100 Million Win Scene in Casino Royale (2006)
One of the many reasons people love casinos is the prospect of winning life-altering money. So, it’s not surprising that even the James Bond franchise always set up their hero in situations where he wins big.
Take Casino Royale as an example. Daniel Craig takes his first role as agent 007 and his mission is to take down a terrorist financer named Le Chiffre. The idea is to bankrupt him through a high stakes poker game.
Bond gets a chance to take him down without involving gambling but he messes his plan. And that angers Le Chiffre who hires men to kill agent 007. They try to fight him, outwit and poison him. But when everything fails, Le Chiffre has to face off Bond in a final round in which the winner walks away with $100 million.
The scene wouldn’t be so tense were it not for Bond’s love interest Vesper (Eva Green) praying and worrying moments before agent 007 arrives. The suspense created before Bond wins and having to kill Le Chiffre after the win makes the scene even more satisfying.
The Final Scene in Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)
Ocean’s Thirteen is primarily remembered for its star power, its action scenes and the amount of rigging that happens around “The Bank” hotel and casino. In fact, if you take it literally, you might get scared to risk your money at a land-based casino.
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The Final Scene in 21 (2008)
It’s every player’s dream to visit a casino ad walk out with a nice chunk of cash. And when you a genius blackjack player who led your team to multiple wins only to nearly lose it all, you’ll at least have a great story to share.
21 is a blackjack movie inspired by the famous MIT blackjack team. In the film, Ben Campbell (Jim Sturges) risks losing a scholarship to count cards with his friends in Las Vegas.
They win $200,000 at one time but they lose the money due to Ben’s distracted mind. The team gets disoriented to the tune of breaking apart. However, the engineering student sets up a plan to make things right with his friends but also to avenge his professor (Kevin Spacey) for making him fail an exam.
But after bringing together his gang and winning $640,000, casino security guard Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne) betrays them. Fortunately, Ben’s friends win more money. The flick ends with Ben sharing the entire story to an awestruck scholarship director.
The Roulette Scene in Run Lola Run (1998)
It is crazy what things people do for love. In Run Lola Run, a German woman is put in a situation where she has to find 100,000 Deutsche Mark to save Manni, her boyfriend. She doesn’t mind that it was Manni’s mistake that led him to his predicament.
Instead, she sits and imagines all the ways she could find the money. In one scenario, she dashes into a bank where she finds her father talking to his mistress. He then reveals he’s not her biological father. She leaves and joins Manni. Together they rob a supermarket the 100,000 they need. But while leaving the store, police shoots her in the chest.
In a different imagination, Lola rushes into a casino with 100 Mark and attempts to win 100,000 in a roulette game. She bets on the number 20 the entire amount and wins 3500. Miraculously, she bets the 3500 plus original stake of 100,000 and wins 129,600 Mark. Without wasting time, she sprints to rescue Manni.
On the other end, Manni finds the homeless man who had robbed him of his original money. He hands over the cash to his boss. The film ends with Manni asking his girlfriend what’s in her bag.
The Blackjack Scene in Austin Powers (1997)
Austin Powers is one of the best movies of the 90s, and deservedly so. It’s jam-packed with funny, action-filled and clever scenes. Some of the comedy’s best scenes take place in Las Vegas.
The best, scene, though is when Robert Wagner attempts to play blackjack and does it all wrong. He pretends to know the game to impress girls. But when he gets a hand of 17, he chooses to hit.
He explains that his eyepatch could help him see the next card and that he was about to hit 21. But to the surprise of everyone around, he busts and loses the game—a feeling every blackjack player is familiar with.