If a movie maker has used a casino as the backdrop to their story, you can be pretty sure that the movie you’re about to see is going to take you on a wild ride.
There’s nothing quite like the energy that flows through the casino floor – it pulsates with an explosive combination of excitement, fear, hope, tension and jubilation in equal measure. Dreams can come true in spectacular fashion or they can come crashing to the ground and shatter into a million pieces. People from all walks of life have walked through a casino’s doors, all them with their own fascinating tale and all of them hoping to win a life-changing sum of money. If you’re a storyteller, what better place than a casino to find a compelling story?
The history of cinema is littered with casino movies, but no matter how many times a roulette table or a poker game appears on screen we never get tired of seeing it. Whether it’s a casino decked in finery of the highest order or a dark and seedy gambling den hidden from the eyes of the law, audiences the world over will happily lap it up and then keep coming back for more. Some casino-themed movies stand out from the crowd, however, and we’ve put a list together of the ones that we think no self-respecting movie buff should miss.
The True Story
The first movie on our list is Owning Mahowny (2003). Philip Seymour Hoffman gives an incredible performance as Dan Mahowny – a bank manager with a gambling addiction. Mahowny single-handedly committed one of the biggest cases of bank fraud ever recorded in Canadian history. Over the course of a year and a half, Mahowny stole in excess of 10 million dollars in order to fund his gambling habit. Hoffman plays the mild-mannered manager to perfection; and while he may be the so-called villain of the piece, you’ll find yourself rooting for him nonetheless.
Ocean’s Eleven may not have the subtlety and nuance of a film noir the likes of Owning Mahowny, but it makes up for it with charm, wit and bravado. George Clooney is at his George Clooney best in this action-packed romp and Brad Pitt and Matt Damon serve as excellent wingmen. The story follows a group of ridiculously good-looking criminals as they plan to take down three Las Vegas casinos – the Bellagio, the MGM Grand and the Mirage. If you want to see Las Vegas in all its glory, this is the film for you.
No list would be complete without the glitz and glamour of Casino Royale. Who doesn’t love a good James Bond movie? And in this film, the indubitable Mr Bond displays his mastery of the quintessential poker face and puts the rest of us to shame. The stakes are high, the game is rife with tension and the whole scene harkens back to the glory days of casinos – where the men were dastardly, the women were exotic and poker was king.
The movies above may have made our top three today, but on any given day any of them could be switched out in favour of a number of other casino movie classics. Rain Man, 21, Rounders, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Gambler, The Sting; the list goes on and on, but you get the picture.
A casino-themed movie marathon could take you on a journey filled with drama, hilarity, joy and loss. Be warned: It might also get you itching to make a few bets yourself! If you can’t get to Las Vegas, you can always bring Las Vegas to you – all you need is a good online casino and you’re good to go.
You’ll find the best online casinos listed at MrCasinova.com along with the latest casino-related news, the best games and unbiased casino reviews. All it takes is a little imagination and your sofa could become the hottest casino in town. Poker; slot machines; roulette; blackjack; take your pick. But don’t get carried away; there’s only one James Bond.