Whether you’re a fan of superhero films, action movies or rom-coms, if you’re equally keen on playing online casino games, you’re sure to have noticed that many directors choose to shoot scenes inside casinos.
In this article, we take a look at some of the most memorable movies that feature casinos, and as we don’t want to include any spoilers, perhaps you’d like to see how many examples you can think of before you continue reading?
One of the best-loved James Bond movies of the century is undoubtedly Casino Royale, in which Daniel Craig stars as 007.
In this 2006 classic, the Secret Service agent heads off to Madagascar where he has to take on a man known as “Le Chiffre” in a high-stakes game of poker to prevent him from raising money for terrorist organisations.
Filming took place in both the Czech Republic (now known as Czechia) and Italy (and not Madagascar as you might have imagined), and the historic spa in a Czech city called Karlovy Vary was used for the exterior of the casino.
Interestingly, there is a real-life Casino Royale in Montenegro that overlooks the Adriatic Sea, although it was not used for filming.
The American heist drama 21 was released in 2008 and it features a host of Hollywood stars, including Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Jim Sturgess, and Laurence Fishburne.
The movie is based on a true story and tells the tale of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Blackjack Team who became famous for beating casinos across the globe using a mix of sophisticated strategies and card counting techniques.
21 grossed $159.8 million at the box office, and the fascinating casino scenes that were used to portray the students’ lucrative gambling scam included the Hard Rock Casino, the Red Rock Casino, and the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
Ocean’s Eleven was the fifth highest-grossing movie of 2001, and it proved so successful that it spawned several equally popular sequels.
The film starred George Clooney as Danny Ocean, a recently released prisoner who starts planning his next heist within 24 hours of being paroled.
As part of his daring plan, Danny hires ten accomplices to help him rob three Las Vegas casinos, including characters portrayed by Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Don Cheadle, and Bernie Mac.
The majority of filming took place on The Strip and inside the world-renowned Bellagio Hotel and Casino, with the Bellagio’s famous fountains being used for the iconic scene where the crew say their goodbyes.
Molly’s Game made its debut on Christmas Day 2017, and it tells the true story of Molly Bloom who transforms from an office manager into an underground poker mogul.
The lead role is played by Jessica Chastain who many film critics say gave the best performance of her career. It also earned the actress a nominator for Best Actress at the Golden Globes.
As the locations involving casino games were meant to be secret due to their illegal nature, no actual casinos were used for filming. However, the penthouse of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan was used instead.
Casino is an action-packed 1995 movie with a fair amount of violence that’s based in the early 1970s. It features Robert De Niro as a mobster called Ace who is sent to the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas to help oversee the venue’s day-to-day operations.
However, Ace finds it increasingly hard to perform his duties due to the antics of his ex-hustler wife (Sharon Stone) and his enforcer (Joe Pesci).
As the Tangiers Casino is a fictional venue, the nighttime casino shots were filmed at Vegas’ Riviera Casino with the entrance of the nearby Landmark Hotel being used for the casino entrance.
While Tom Cruise has starred in numerous movies during his career, Rain Man continues to be a firm fan favourite.
The film was released in 1998 and it ended up as the highest-grossing film of 1988 in the US.
Cruise plays a sports car importer called Charlie who gets himself into debt by buying cars that he is yet to deliver to their new owners. When his father dies, he heads home to settle the estate where he soon learns that most of his father’s money has been bequeathed to another brother who is living in a mental institution that he previously knew nothing about.
The two set off on a road trip across the US, and when Charlie’s sports cars get seized by his creditors, he comes up with a plan to cover his debts by gambling.
The casino scenes are shot are the iconic Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and they include Charlie and his brother playing at the venue’s blackjack tables, as well as staying the night in the Emperors Suite.
While we can’t feature every single movie that includes casino scenes in just one article, we have to give a shout out to a few noteworthy ones that didn’t make our final cut.
There’s the hilarious 2009 comedy, The Hangover, where Caesars Palace played host to a classic card-counting scene starring Zach Galifianakis.
There’s also Goodfellas, the 1990 Martin Scorsese gangster film with Robert De Niro which uses the Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip, and the 1998 drama movie, Rounders, starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton who visit a private club to play high-stakes poker in a bid to pay off a big debt.
Every good film should keep you on the edge of your seat while you watch the various scenes play out, and one of the best ways that a director can ensure that you won’t want to take your eyes off the screen is to use a thrilling setting such as a casino.
In our round-up of the best films that include casino scenes, we’ve covered everything from thrillers starring James Bond and feel-good films like Rain Man to action-packed movies like Ocean’s Eleven and comedies like The Hangover.