5 Life-Changing Movie Gambles

There’s nothing quite like nail-biting suspense in film, regardless of genre. Here we check out five incredible movie gambles that contributed to the enduring qualities of these films.

Rocky IV

Boxer puts life on the line

Rocky IV

American boxer Rocky puts his life on the line to avenge the death of his friend Apollo Creed after he’s killed in the ring by drug-enhanced Russian Ivan Drago. Against all odds – including unscrupulous tactics by the Russian government and a hostile Moscow crowd – the inimitable Philadelphian “street fighter” finds the courage to once again overcome adversity.

The Italian Job

Cliff-hanging gamble to get the loot

Charlie Croker and his gang manage to evade the authorities and the mafia in escaping Turin with their millions of dollars in gold but find their perfect plan scuppered by the winding mountain roads of the French-Swiss Alps. The gamble to pull off a “big job” might be one gamble too far as the heist ends on a literal cliffhanger, the gang’s bus teetering over the edge of the mountain, the only thing stopping it falling being the counter balance between the group of robbers at one end and the gold haul at the other.


No lifeboats

Titanic, James Cameron, Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio

The age-old tale of greed, profiteering and ego over genuine customer care, the Titanic’s gamble to set off without the correct number of lifeboats adds further sadness to this true-life tragedy. Although the Titanic met the Board of Trade’s regulatory requirements to provide enough lifeboats for 1060 people, this was not nearly enough for the ship’s unprecedented size. It could have carried 32 lifeboats but took only 20 on the journey, half-filling many of them when the ship started sinking.


The poker gamble

Classic Poker Scenes, Rounders - Top 10 Films

Law student Mike McDermott knows a thing or two about winning at poker. He’s had some big wins and some tough losses; the trials and tribulations of the Texas Hold ‘Em player. The difference between good and great players is knowing when to play a hand and when to let it go. Of course, you don’t need a smoky, underground club to play in nowadays with online casinos such as Casumo. You might not have to put your career, relationship and life on the line like Mike does to clear his friend’s debt in Rounders but you’ll still need that little bit of luck.


The life-saving bluff

Goldfinger - James Bond's Best "Near Death" Experiences - Top 10 Films

James Bond has endured his fair share of near-death experiences. But when villain Goldfinger has him tied to a table with an industrial laser beam edging closer to his body, the British secret agent takes a gamble by lying to his captor that MI6 knows about his masterplan known as Grand Slam. Bond takes the chance that Goldfinger will want to keep the secret agent alive to feed misleading information back to the British government rather than kill him. It turns out 007 was right – again!

Over to you: what are your fave movie gambles?

Written and Compiled by Rory Fish

About the Author
Rory Fish has loved movies since he can remember. If he was to put together an "all time" top 10 of absolute favourites it would have to include North By Northwest, 12 Angry Men and Sunset Boulevard.

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    Dan Grant Reply

    Interesting piece Rory. I’ve never really thought of this before. I think one that comes to mind is in Ocean’s 11, when they decide they are, against all odds, going to steal the money. It changes their lives from a financial stand point.

    Mr. Miyagi getting involved in Daniel Larusso’s business in the Karate Kid, was a life altering experience for both of them. When Miyagi got involved in the fight when Johnny and his goons were beating him up, it started a chain of events that would teach Daniel about life and karate and it would give Miyagi a best friend, something he probably needed, as he seemed lonely.

    I’ll come up with a few more.

    I love your inclusion of Rocky IV and Rounders.

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