James Bond is perhaps one of the most iconic movie characters of the modern age. First introduced to the world as a literary character in Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel Casino Royale, Bond first hit the big screen in 1962, in the film adaptation of the Dr. No novel. Since that time, there have been 24 films in the James Bond franchise, with the 25th almost ready for release. No Time To Die will mark the final appearance of Daniel Craig as the classic character and fans have been looking forward to the new release for some time. However, it was announced in October 2020 that the release date, which had already been delayed by several months, has now been postponed once more, and the film is not expected to hit the screens until April of next year. As fans will have to wait several months before getting their next Bond fix, now is as good a time as any to look back over some of the most iconic casino scenes from movies past.
Dr. No: Chemin de Fer
Just as the first James Bond novel centered around a casino, the first foray into film featured some of its most memorable moments in an exotic gambling venue. In Dr. No, the inaugural Bond movie, the character played by Sean Connery visits a classic, old-fashioned casino, where the people are glamorous, the scenery is luxurious, and the cocktails are flowing. Connery’s Bond enters the casino ostensibly for a game of Chemin de Fer, which is an old-school variation on baccarat. Watched by the character Sylvia Trench before eventually meeting her, this is the first scene where the eponymous character utters what will become his signature line. When asked for his name, the secret agent replies “Bond. James Bond”, thus setting off a tradition that will carry through the entire series of films. Not only did this film start the James Bond franchise it also started changing people’s opinions and thoughts on gambling, with many people now having a positive attitude towards playing casino games. It’s the best time to play casino games now more than ever with the boom of online casinos and the choice of providers and games available online. Some providers now offer a live casino feature so you can get the experience and atmosphere of being in a live casino, much like the ones in the classic Bond films!
Octopussy was released in 1983 and featured Roger Moore in his sixth outing as the stylish spy. Partway through the movie, Bond’s tracking of super-villain Kamal Khan takes him to a casino in India where, rather than playing a traditional casino game, the tuxedoed characters indulge in a round of backgammon. However, just because it is not a casino game does not mean the stakes are any lower – 007 enters into a bet for not only 500,000 rupees, but also a Faberge egg, beating the villain by using his own loaded dice to walk away with the priceless artifact.
Diamonds are Forever: Craps
Diamonds are Forever is perhaps one of the best-loved Bond films, due in part to the all-star cast featuring Sean Connery and Lana Wood, with the popular Shirley Bassey theme tune. The action takes place in Las Vegas, where 007 remains true to form by indulging in high-stakes gambling, although this time its at the craps table. Bond seduces Wood’s character, amusingly named Plenty O-Toole, when he raises the stakes to win $65,000. He gives $5,000 to O’Toole, in a move that certainly does not harm his seduction technique.
Pierce Brosnan played James Bond in the 1995 film Goldeneye, where the new man to the role helped to rejuvenate the casino theme and remind audiences of the glamour, tension and suspense associated with 007 in a casino. Based in exclusive Monaco, the scene revolves around Bond playing baccarat against Russian agent Xenia Onatopp. Over the course of beating the agent, the scene revives the iconic one-liners, innuendoes and sexual tension that have formed part of the popularity of the 007 franchise over the years.
Casino Royale: Texas Hold’Em
Casino Royale cannot be left off any list of James Bond casino scenes. Based on the very first 007 novel, the movie is essentially one long casino scene, in which Bond indulges in some high-stakes poker in the form of Texas Hold’em. With a prize pot of $115 million, Daniel Craig’s Bond has everything to play for. True to form, the spy pulls it off and walks away with the prize money, but not before defeating the villainous Le Chiffre and, of course, getting the girl. Stunning performances from Mads Mikkelsen as the villain and Eva Green as Vesper Lynd helped to make Casino Royale one of the highest-grossing Bond movies of all time.
Casinos are places rife with thrills, tension, hope and risk, which explains why filmmakers love to set fast-paced scenes there. The glamorous clothing and luxurious scenery help to set the scene, while the gambling can be used to symbolize the challenges faced by the protagonist and accentuate important and exciting sub-plots at the same time. James Bond is perhaps one of the most famous characters who will forever be associated with casinos.