There is something about the drama and glitz of high-stakes gambling that makes the casino particularly amenable to the silver screen. Down the years, there have been literally hundreds of hit films from Hollywood and elsewhere that have used the theme of gambling and the world’s most glamourous casinos to spice up the action. In this article, we take a look at some of the most popular movies about a Casino in history.
- California Split (1974)
Featuring George Segal, Elliott Gould and Ann Prentiss, this classic casino film tells the story of a casual gambler, Charlie (Elliott Gould) who somehow falls in with a pro. During the comedy, the depths of Charlie’s gambling addiction start to become apparent, but the dark underbelly is offset by the touching relationship that develops between the two main characters.
2. The Gambler (1974)
1974 was a sterling year for gambling films. The second casino classic on the list is the James Caan version of James Toback’s screenplay. Toback is said to have based the plot on his struggles with gambling addiction, and it is easy to see this influence in the main character Axel’s obsession with chasing the next rush on his downward spiral towards self-destruction.
3. Hard Eight (1996)
Hard Eight is a razor-sharp moving account of the story that is not often told amid the stereotypical perception of hedonistic glamour that most people associate with Las Vegas. Phillip Baker Hall plays Sydney, a sad, lonely man who has spent years in the casinos. Sydney goes on to befriend a young homeless man and teaches him how to gamble in order to raise the $600 he needs to bury his dead mother.
4. Uncut Gems (2019)
Uncut Gems is the story of charismatic jeweller Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) and a high-stakes bet that could potentially change his family’s life if it comes off. A thriller of the highest order, Ratner navigates a tricky balancing act between family and business he looks to get his hands on a big prize. The film finishes in spectacular fashion, so hold on to your seat.
5. Croupier (1998)
Clive Owen plays Jack, a struggling novelist who becomes a croupier at a casino in order to fund his passion. The film is funny and tragic in equal measure, as most of the gamblers that Jack comes into contact with have their own stories of how their lives have been ruined by giving away all their money at the casino.
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Movies about a Casino are not for everyone so while you are here, take a look at this definitive list of the best football hooligan films if you want to sample a little bit of action from the underbelly of British sports.