Gambling has captivated humans for centuries, and it is still a thrilling subject for many directors. Over the past few decades, we have seen dozens of action movies that featured gamblers and casinos. Here are three top-rated masterpieces. You may disagree with our rating, but the artistic value of these classics is undeniable.
1. Casino (Martin Scorsese, 1995)
One of the best gambling movies of all time, Casino is also one of the most memorable cinematic masterpieces of the 1990s. Created by the almighty Martin Scorsese, it is based on an amazing nonfiction novel by Nicholas Pileggi (Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas). The epic drama includes the biggest stars of the era like Robert de Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci.
Viewers learn about the two faces of Las Vegas — the movie is set before the NetEnt casino and games became a reality. Cruel torture and brutality behind the scene and juxtaposed with the irresistible glamor of the facade. The contrast is mesmerizing.
Robert de Niro plays Ace, a casino operator with connections in the mob community. He maintains a semblance of normal family life while managing some shady dealings. Joe Pesci plays the part of Santoro, the deviant master of lynching for the Mafia. Ace’s childhood friend turns his life upside down.
Do you love movies that brim with violence, power, greed, and deception at every turn? You will be fascinated with Casino. Without fail, it is one of the best movies about gambling ever created.
2. Casino Royale (Martin Campbell, 2006)
No gambling movie rating is complete without this gem. In this chapter of the James Bond saga, agent 007 (Daniel Craig) tries to defeat a famous sponsor of terrorism, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). The mission is to beat him at the poker table when the villain gambles to raise money for his malicious activities.
In this movie, we can see Bond implement brilliant bluffing strategies. He is cunning and sophisticated as ever — tough, brutal but suave. The story is packed with thrills, twists, and action. You will see the traditional Bond attributes — girls, martinis, exotic locations, etc. Importantly, the use of gadgets is limited in comparison with the previous versions. Viewers get a better opportunity to understand Bond as a person.
Overall, Casino Royale is a masterwork. It has everything from cool gambling strategies to unstoppable action. Eventually, the malevolent organization is brought down to the delight of the viewers.
3. 21 (Robert Luketic, 2008)
Many people find movies based on true stories more captivating than pure fiction. However, when they are dedicated to the gambling theme, they are rarely filled with suspense or humor. This masterpiece from Robert Luketic is an exception, as it is jam-packed with both. This movie is serious and comical at the same time.
Once, a group of six students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was taught to count cards. Their math professor Micky Rosa (played by Kevin Spacey) had rather unorthodox views on education. The team took several trips to Vegas, and the story culminated with a spectacular victory in blackjack — millions of dollars.
The students have different motives for joining the card-counting gang, and some are quite noble. For example, talented Ben Campbell (played by Jim Sturgess), wants to become a doctor, but cannot afford to attend Harvard Medical School. Predictably, the students are overcome by greed and power, which puts their plan in jeopardy.
These are three of the most memorable movies about gambling. This subject has interested humans for centuries, as we are naturally attracted to risk. The best movies of all time can tell you about the inner workings of the gambling industry and even show a few tricks for your own experience. Importantly, they recreate the irresistible atmosphere of a land-based casino, with all of its glamor and glitz.