The movies have given us some great casino scenes. In this top 10, we look at some of the best moments featuring Blackjack, a game whose sole purpose is to beat the dealer.
In a game where counting cards is legal, albeit frowned upon, where you’re all playing against the dealer at the same time, it’s easy to root for your heroes at the table, winning hands and taking money from the house. Here are the top 10 films with the very best Blackjack moments in cinema history.
10. The Cooler
As a casino-based rom-com, The Cooler is a bit of an odd film to focus on during a list of Blackjack moments, but the entire film pulls off so many impressive casino moments, particularly around the Blackjack table, that it simply can’t be left out. As soon as The Cooler’s luck starts looking up, you can’t help but root for him – rather than picking a single scene though, just watch the entire film.
Swingers is a movie about two friends looking to sooth their heartache by hitting Las Vegas. The Blackjack scene where you can see that they are clearly in over their heads is both charming and amusing – especially with the pair’s argument over whether or not you should always double down on an 11. This is a scene that all Blackjack players can relate to at one stage or another.
8. James Bond: License to Kill
James Bond is the ultimate secret agent. Not only is he as classy as he is lethal with anything he has to hand, he plays a mean game of cards. In this 1989 classic, Timothy Dalton’s Bond sits down at a Blackjack table with the cool confidence you would expect from Britain’s best, not batting an eyelid as he wins a cool £250,000.
7. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Austin Powers may not be as lethal as Bond, though he is every part as debonair. In this spy comedy parodying the likes of 007, Austin sits down with the evil #2 to play a game of Blackjack. He receives a 5 and sticks, boldly stating that he also likes to live dangerously. Austin shows us that no matter how badly you’re about to lose, as long as you enjoy the game, you’re playing the game right.
6. Johnny Got His Gun
This 1971 classic is a little more sobering than the previous two, featuring a bunch of soldiers sitting around a table playing Blackjack as they discuss life outside of war. It doesn’t have the glitz and glamour of the casino, but this scene is incredibly human, showing what Blackjack looks like when it’s played among a group of friends and brothers.
Croupier is a fascinating film by way of gambling movies. The protagonist, rather than being a player, is a failed writer who is taking up a new job as a blackjack dealer. The scene where Jack is showing off his skills to his new boss is great in that you get to see the world of the casino from a slightly unusual angle. Well worth watching if you’re a fan of casino card games.
4. The Hangover
There is no shortage of incredible moments in the 2009 comedy The Hangover. However, the scene with our wacky protagonists coming down the escalator to play Blackjack is utterly superb. One character panicking, the other counting, the pair have already got this game by the time their toothy friend joins them, walking away with an impressive $82,000 as the pit boss comes to remove them from the table.
As a film entirely focussed on Blackjack and card counting, 21 is one of those must-see movies for fans of the game. The entire film is well worth watching, though the scene where the lecturer is discussing statistics and variable change is simply fascinating, and believe it or not, will help you as a Blackjack player. Just don’t take the whole “based on a true story” fandango too literally.
2. Rain Man
The Blackjack scene in Rain Man is awesome in the literal sense of the word. You cannot watch this scene without a massive grin, a love of the characters and a true sense of awe. With 4 Oscars under the belt of this 1988 classic, it’s certainly an impressive film. The casino scenes are so spectacular however, that even if you don’t know the characters and you aren’t invested in the film, you will feel yourself getting sucked in. This film is a true classic that you simply need to watch.
1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Another time-honoured classic, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest a film which entirely foregoes the glamour of the game. Patients at an American mental institution sit and play Blackjack, wagering cigarettes instead of chips. It’s touching the way this scene highlights how a good game can take your mind off of any situation, and provide a form of escapism – interestingly this is something which Napoleon Bonaparte discovered, using Blackjack to pass the time during his exile on the island of Elba. If you haven’t seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, make sure you do, and not just for this incredibly human scene of people playing cards to pass the time – it’s an amazing film through and through.