‘Croupier’: Best British gambling films of all time
Two things that are deeply ingrained in British culture are film and gambling. It doesn’t matter where you are on the social scale in the United Kingdom these are two historically popular pastimes.
This is still the case today with London hosting many fancy film premieres each year, as well as new UK casinos opening each month.
We’re going to look at how these two subjects have combined over the years to give us some of the best British gambling films.
One of the most obvious British gambling films is Casino Royale. The famous James Bond is played by Daniel Craig in this poker-themed battle against the film’s villain played by Mads Mikkelsen.
In this film, James Bond has just earned his double 0 badges, so now he’s ready to play with the elite criminals. At least he thought he was. Bond’s mission is to defeat the private banker, Le Chiffre, who funds terrorist operations around the World.
The director of Casino Royale is Martin Campbell, who is from New Zealand. But the script was written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis, who are all British. Of course, it’s also based on the original novel by Ian Fleming.
Lock, Stock, and Two-Smoking Barrels
This next film is the first of the famous British writer and director, Guy Ritchie. Lock, Stock, and Two-Smoking Barrels was his first feature-length film and it shot him to Hollywood fame.
The story of Lock, Stock follows four friends that pool in money to take home the big pot in a poker match. But, this poker match is rigged by the host who is also a player at the table…
After racking up a huge debt to this player (also a gangster), the group of friends has to find a way to repay him, unless they want to find themselves in even more trouble…
Next up is the film Croupier, another film that was released in 1998. Clearly a good year for British gambling films. Clive Owen plays the main protagonist in this film that was written by Paul Mayersberg, and directed by Mike Hodges.
Jack Manfred, Owen’s character, is an aspiring writer who gets a job in a casino as a croupier. His daily work-life becomes the backdrop for a new novel that he starts to write.
This new life is clearly not a usual one for the protagonist but he takes it as it comes. With work events complicating his personal life, will Jack Manfred continue as a croupier?
Funny Man isn’t your typical gambling-themed film, however, we wanted to include it as it’s one that many people probably haven’t seen or even heard of.
Simon Sprackling wrote and directed Funny Man. The story involves a poker match, but the winner doesn’t get money. Instead of winning money, the main protagonist ends up winning an English countryside mansion.
From this point on, the audience finds that the mansion isn’t that inviting after all. In fact, it’s haunted and not with friendly ghosts like Casper. As we said it’s not your usual gambling film that includes crime and gangsters. It’s well worth a watch though.
We’ve left Snatch until last, another gambling-themed film from none other than Guy Ritchie. Snatch has many stories combined into one.
One aspect of the film heavily focuses on a boxing match in which the protagonists have a lot of money riding on it. This isn’t any boxing match though, it’s an illegal fight with one of the main competitors being a bare-knuckle boxing Irish gypsy.
Brad Pitt plays this character as a true professional. Jason Statham gets another feature in a Guy Ritchie film, this time as one of the main characters, Turkish. Snatch will have you repeating quotes from it years after you’ve watched it.