The casino in cinema is a widely exploited theme that has inspired many casino movie directors such as Martin Scorsese or Steven Soderbergh. Casino movies have also featured top actors such as Robert de Niro, Sharon Stone, Brad Pitt, Joe Pesci and Julia Roberts.
Discover the 5 best casino movies with the best reviews that we invite you to (re)watch. You will find the greatest characters like Sam Rothstein alias Ace, Nicky Santoro, Ginger or James Bond. Watch the trailer of each one and watch them.
Casino, Martin Scorsese, 1995
Casino is one of Martin Scorsese’s cult films and is a landmark poster for the world of crime and casino cinema. The film stars three great actors Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci and Robert de Niro and is directly inspired by the life of Frank Rosenthal, manager of one of the most famous casinos in the gangster Las Vegas of the 1970s.
The famous character Sam Rothstein, nicknamed “Ace” (Robert De Niro) and his henchman Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) are exiled to Las Vegas to run a hotel casino run by an Italian-American mafia crime organisation from Chicago. Sharon Stone plays a prostitute, Ginger, with whom Sam Rothstein falls head over heels in love, and the actress won a Golden Globe for her role of Ginger.
These three protagonists dive into the Las Vegas power play against the bosses competition, but big problems soon arise that shatter their power grabs till the end. Casino of Martin Scorsese is one of the movie with best reviews from gambling players and closer from the real crime casino life.
To make the film just like real life, Scorsese’s production wanted to shoot some of the scenes and images in a real casino, the Riviera in Las Vegas.
Ocean’s 11, Steven Soderbergh, 2002
The famous movie saga Ocean’s 11,12,13 features casino heists. Although the other two films were less popular, the first Ocean’s 11 is an excellent film. Don’t hesitate to watch the trailer. It is a mix of drama, comedy and suspense, and features such film stars just like Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts.
In Ocean’s 11, the characters of Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Matt Damon want to rob, at the same time, 3 of the most famous casinos in Las Vegas: The Bellagio, The Mirage and The MGM. The script is loosely based on the 1960 art film by Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.
So Danny Ocean (George Clooney), after his release from prison, seeks to assemble a team of 10 people to assist him in these exceptional heists. In this film, Soderbergh handles humour and entertainment just like extremely well to offer one of the best works of art on the cinema casino announcement.
Casino Royale, Martin Campbell, 2006
Casino Royale is the 21st film in the James Bond saga, featuring Daniel Craig for the first time as James Bond. What makes this film special is that the screenplay is based on Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel of the same name.
The duo formed with the sublime Eva Green completes the picture. Beyond the fight scenes and stunts, Casino Royale highlights mythical scenes such as the 10 million dollar poker game against his opponent “Le Chiffre”. The objective is to fight a terrorist organisation, to whom Le Chiffre owes a huge sum of money. So he organises a poker game just like with a starting stake of $10 million to recover the money lost. James Bond must therefore prevent the money from being delivered to the criminals. The suspense is unbearable and palpable, which will delight poker fans.
In this new James Bond production, Martin Campbell adds a different dimension, the atmosphere is darker, and 007 is plunged into a game of manipulation. Far from the Hollywood fantasy, there are many twists and turns in this film, which plunges the viewer into a breathless scenario.
Along with Skyfall, Casino Royale is considered one of the best James Bond films of the last 10 years.
Las Vegas 21, Robert Luketic, 2008
Inspired by a true story, Robert Luketic’s Las Vegas 21 tells the story of a group of MIT students who develop a technique to count and report cards in Blackjack. The film stars Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Jim Sturgess and Laurence Fishburne.
The film takes place with Ben Campbell who wants to study medicine at Harvard, but can’t afford it, so he decides to make a quick buck by joining a group of MIT students, the “Black Jack Team” who teach him how to analyse the game and count cards. Travelling to Las Vegas every weekend, the group quickly realised that the method worked and began to rack up big wins.
Under the aegis of the professor played by Kevin Spacey, these students, and in particular Ben Campbell, intrigue and attract with their cerebral abilities. However, even if the technique seems flawless, it remains risky and is eventually discovered with the necessary consequences. The film is about the world of the casino, but also about the power of gambling and the lure of winning.
This film is directly inspired by the very famous Richard Marcus casino.
Rounders, John Dahl, 1998
Better known in French by the title “Les joueurs”, this successful casino movie is due in particular to its main theme: Texas Hold’em poker, which was experiencing a strong interest at the time of its release. It features well-known and popular actors: Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Malkovich and Martin Landon.
The story takes place with the two main actors Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) and his friend called “Worm” (Edward Norton) who, in order to pay off their debts, develop a cheating technique that allows them to communicate during a poker game and thus pluck the other participants.
The film’s universe plunges the spectators into the underground world of poker, far from the flashy casinos of Las Vegas. The games are private or clandestine, sometimes with unsavoury people, notably the Russian mafia. The players provide entertainment with superb tension throughout.
The film is particularly appreciated for its realistic portrayal, although it is now impossible to cheat in this way, especially in casino poker rooms but also online. But don’t worry, you don’t have to know anything about poker to understand the interest and the stakes of the film.
Bonus casino movie: Las Vegas Parano & The Hangover
In a slightly less serious and zany universe, we wanted to add two excellent productions to bring new dimensions to the casino movie: Las Vegas Parano and The Hangover.
Las Vegas Parano, Terry Gilliam, 1998
Las Vegas Parano is not really a casino film, but it is an excellent production starring two exceptional actors: Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro. This totally offbeat comedy-drama is based on Hunter S. Thompson’s book “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. The film was a flop when it was released in 1998 but is now one of Johnny Depp’s most cult films.
The story is about Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp), a journalist who has to cover a motorbike racing event with his lawyer played by Benicio Del Toro. But the two protagonists seize this pretext to go to Las Vegas and indulge in all kinds of excesses and cause trouble wherever they go.
The Hangover, Todd Philips, 2009
Directed by Todd Philips in 2009, this comedy production tells the story of four friends’ adventures in Las Vegas to celebrate Doug’s bachelor party, which is to take place two days later.
Las Vegas being the place of all the craziness, the four friends lose their minds with alcohol abuse and wake up in the morning in their hotel room, with no memory of the evening when everything indicates that the evening has gone completely off the rails: Doug’s disappearance (the groom to be), a baby out of nowhere and a tiger in the hotel room.
To free Doug, his friends go to the casino to win the money needed to free their friend. This entertaining and funny film will immerse you in the dream of Las Vegas but also the admittedly exaggerated downside. At the end this film and the others have a very good review from gambling players.
You can also find other casino movie with good character just like Ace and review as Goodfellas, The Godfather (mafia) or James Bond films such as You Only Live Twice.