The 5 most iconic gambling scenes in movie history
The best casino movie scenes of all time are those first sequences of iconic films that set the tone for the magnificence that follows. Just like the famous novels with catchy first lines, all of these films have incredibly memorable opening scenes for one reason or another. What’s your favorite casino scene in a movie? The impact of films and certain scenes within them has on one’s life and how they can never be underestimated.
“If Hollywood had an All-Star Game, it would be this movie. It’s a new multistar vehicle about a team of con men set to take on Vegas.” —Bob Smithouser
The Ocean’s series kicked off with 2001’s George Clooney-starring remake of the Rat Pack original from 1960. The plan: to rob three casinos worth a whopping $150 million. The only problem is the vault that holds all of the cash is “a security system that rivals that of most nuclear silos.” But Danny figures if he can get a good team together and a bankroll for some equipment, he can make it work.
The poker scene at the beginning of the movie with Brad Pitt & George Clooney is just classic Hollywood, the intro to the first installment of the franchise. It’s a friendly game between buddies before Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and the squad pull off the full-blown heist. There are a lot of great quotable lines in the game; one of the fan favorites is “I’m not sure what four nines do, but the ace I think is pretty high.”
“This classic tale of mob life in New York City is a stunning, vivid look at the ugliness and depravity of a subculture that’s been glamorized, sanitized, and romanticized in countless other films.” —Renee Schonfeld
The character Joe Pesci played in Goodfellas, Tommy DeVito, is one of the most terrifyingly unhinged characters ever seen on film: a likable guy except that his fearsome temper can explode in a second, with fatal consequences.
DeVito’s presence at a card game, rather than the game itself, raises the tension levels all the way up thanks to a misunderstanding he has with Spider – a dude who’s not even playing at the table. Spider forgets to bring Tommy his drink and, of course, Tommy deals with this minuscule mistake in the most overblown way possible.
“How much debauchery can a handful of guys commit—and forget—in one night?” —Lindy Keffer
Vegas, baby! The Hangover is the story of four friends gathering for a bachelor party in Las Vegas and all hell breaking loose when the group accidentally roofies themselves.
Alan, the oddball and the groom’s brother, has read a book on counting cards, so they head off to a blackjack table. Complicated equations appear on the screen as Alan (played brilliantly by Zach Galifianakis) watches the cards intently. Finally, he sits down, calls his friends in, and starts betting big.
“This is one of those movies where you know what to expect within the first five minutes.” —Brian Costello
Rounders, starring Matt Damon, Edward Norton and John Malkovich and released in 1998, cheerfully buys into compulsive gambling. The hero gambles away his tuition money, his girlfriend, his law degree, and nearly his life, and in the end he’s still a happy gambler.
Acting out of desperation to repay debts, Mike borrows $10,000 from his old professor to buy into a poker game. The subtle nuances, meticulous planning, and painstaking performances exhibited by these characters made viewers wonder what they could do with the right partner.
“This Bond is cunning and even elegant, providing the franchise with a much-needed shot of raw energy.” —Cynthia Fuchs
When you think about James Bond, what comes to mind? Well, most of us love the enigmatic Agent 007 because of his casino cool.
The stakes get insanely high during the game of Texas Hold’em between James Bond (Daniel Craig) going against the terrifying villain Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). While we all know there’s never any shortage of villainous foes lurking in the background to ramp up the tension in a James Bond film, what’s truly remarkable in this scene is what happens away from the poker table.
Not only does James Bond have a seemingly endless fistfight with one of Le Chiffre’s aide on the stairway of the casino, but he also dies for a full minute! Don’t fret though: thanks to Vesper Lynd’s (Eva Green) quick thinking, Mr. Bond is able to recover.
Casino Royale, produced by Eon Productions, was the twenty-first film in the James Bond series.
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