Since Hollywood began releasing blockbuster movies to the masses, everyone has had the chance to binge in their favorite category. Fortunately, that also includes the gamblers in the house. We’ve followed the history of gambling movie production and handpicked the greatest gambling movies ever produced. These movies have borrowed largely from the casino culture through the years making them evergreen.
Real Casinos Featured In Movies
Not only are these blockbuster movies about gambling inspired by society’s culture, but some of them have also been shot in stunning casinos that tourists love. Some of these casinos include popular tourist destinations in the USA, such as the Mirage and Planet Hollywood casinos, among others. Las Vegas, also known as sin city, has been an inspiration to hundreds of top-quality movie directors in the united states.
Our Top 10 List Of The Best Gambling Movies
If you are a movie enthusiast who happens to have watched even half of the movies on our list, then you may have realized that these movies about gambling usually have similar plots even though they come out unique in their own way. Check out our list of the greatest ever-produced movies on gambling.
1. California Split (1974)
A gambler teams up with Elliot Gould, a risk-taker, at least to have fun; however, he soon finds himself in debt after Gould makes an unplanned vacation to Tijuana. He trades almost all of his belongings and travels to Reno for a poker game of the century as his last resolve from desperation. A film primarily set at casinos and races, in which the two protagonists win and lose (but mostly win), are robbed and go blackout drunk.
2. Uncut Gems (2019)
As Howard “Howie” Ratner, a bumbling new york city jeweler who can’t seem to stay away from the risky industry of high-stakes sports gambling, Adam Sandler gives a career-best play. Nba sports betting is a significant plot point, featuring Kevin Garnett, a renowned Boston Celtics, and Brooklyn Nets player, portraying a fictionalized version. The film placed Kevin Garnett in 2012, and he is a star for the Celtics.
Non-gamblers may find the intensity exhausting. However, those who relish the rush of sports betting will empathize with Sandler’s personality, no matter how depraved a gambler he can be. This film serves as another sobering lesson: never risk more than one is ready to lose.
3. The Gambler (1974)
The Gambler depicts the life of a professor with a casino gambling addiction, performed by a fascinating James Caan character, descends into self-destruction as the film continues, and so does his mental state, which becomes increasingly hazardous. The film develops to a constant crescendo and dazzling finale as Caan’s borrowing worsens and his craving for the adrenaline rush threatens to put his life in jeopardy. This 1974 film is a classic gambler film that still serves as a strong warning regarding addiction of all forms and gambling responsibly.
4. Casino (1995)
Robert de Niro and Joe Pesci joined forces in 1995 to produce casinos for the fifth time. The duo also rocked the film industry with the critically acclaimed mafia epic Goodfellas, directed by Martin Scorsese, who had also directed Casino.
Casino, compared to Goodfellas, is a lesser-known gangster classic with similar themes, narratives, styles, and casting. However, it is arguably the most recognized gambling film because it is filmed entirely in las vegas. It isn’t for the faint-hearted and is downright brutal in different places.
Despite the absence of suspenseful poker hands, pool hustle, odds-fixing, or even a romance tale, it is primarily regarded among the finest Vegas films. The movie is based on cultural realities, including greed, deceit, money, influence, and murder. However, such is the action-packed picture of Vegas in the final years of gang dominance that it’s easy to forget that gambling isn’t the film’s theme; it’s the unifying factor that binds everything together.
5. The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
In a suspenseful, intense, and thrilling marathon poker game, the Cincinnati kid follows an emerging young star and a wary elderly professional. As they probe one another, looking for loopholes and seeking any edge, however subtle. Steve McQueen portrays the fair, disconnected hotshot, while Edward G. Robinson portrays Lancey Howard, a pro with steely nerves, razor-sharp reflexes, and veteran’s poise.
Their performances are outstanding, and a strong group of senior actors backs them up. While its female actors are a little too gorgeous to imagine, the poker hands are virtually impossible to comprehend in the same game. The Cincinnati kid’s ending is distinctive and unpredictable, helping to solidify this poker movie as the all-masterpiece.
6. High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story (2003)
Despite its modest budget or the fact that it was produced and directed by A. W. Vidmer, who had no prior film credentials. The feature film is well crafted as a true story movie genre that depicts the story of Stu Ungar. Stu Ungar is the only three-time world series poker champion in its totality. The film is not a high-octane thriller, but it follows the story of a brilliant young person with great potential who later becomes a drug addict and uses his fantastic poker skills to finance his addiction. High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story is an untapped goldmine for many movie enthusiasts, as heartbreaking as it is hilarious.
7. 21 (2008)
21 is a true story concerning six MIT students groomed to become masters playing poker. They then take to las vegas casinos for millions. The setting is a period before the introduction of shuffle machines. Kevin Spacey plays math professor Micky Rosa, who teaches a swarm of youngsters the art of playing the best and most successful blackjack technique. Adrenaline-fueled deception, treachery, and hedonism follow, ensuring that the core elements of bringing down the house, the book on which the movie is based, are preserved. Still, there are plenty of crisp, trendy, fast-paced, fun scenes to color this big-budget movie.
8. The Hustler (1961)
The Hustler is a masterpiece, as it portrays a pool hustler who journeys cross-country alongside his companion and makes a lot of money through gambling. However, his disruptive attitude and loudmouth lead him to take on the famed player ‘Minnesota Fats’.
This isn’t a laugh-a-minute rib-tickler because it was filmed and released while online gambling wasn’t popular. The Hustler is a somewhat sad and frigid film from beginning to end. Even though it contains no humor, it is nevertheless numbered among the most outstanding sports gambling films ever made. However, don’t expect a film featuring pool games and trick shots throughout. If you’re a first-time watcher of this monochrome gem, however, you’ll be captivated. The film catapulted Paul Newman to stardom, and it’s simple to see why.
9. Rounders (1998)
This 1998 film, starring Matt Damon and young Edward Norton, tells the story of a law graduate who works two jobs and plays poker during the night to pay his tuition costs. Rounders was made before online poker became a worldwide sensation. Thus, the setting is sleazy new york nightclubs with a brief excursion to the taj mahal’s Atlantic City poker room.
The script gets you rooting for Damon’s ‘good guy’ persona from the start, despite the film’s modest budget and also the fact that John Malkovich and martin landau play significant roles. You don’t need to be a gambler to enjoy this plot, and if you are a card player, you’ll appreciate the realism of the poker moments.
10. Molly’s Game (2017)
Aaron Sorkin, well known for his screenplays for a few good men, the west wing, and Moneyball, established a powerful directorial debut with Molly’s Game. The fast-paced production released in 2017 is inspired by Molly Bloom’s memoirs and tells the tale of her elite underground poker club for wealthy high rollers.
The fact that the protagonist character is a woman in the male-dominated casino industry makes this film unique. However, Jessica Chastain’s depiction of Bloom is as good as it gets. Idris Elba shines in the supporting role, and cameos from Joe Keery (stranger things) and Chris O’Dowd give a refreshing sense of fun.
These movies are still a hit even though they do not feature on Netflix. Let’s hope to see more films on gambling being given airplay in the theater or live stream service providers like Netflix soon.