Martin Scorsese’s Casino: What Inspired The Film’s Creator Image

Martin Scorsese’s Casino: What Inspired The Film’s Creator

By Khrystyna Przybylo | September 20, 2021

Martin Scorsese’s Casino is considered by fans and critics alike to be the last word in Casino-related movies. Despite its initial screening dating back more than two decades to 1995, this award-winning film is still considered the top in its genre.

But did you know that it was inspired by true events? But whether you are a fan of playing at a casino online or offline, then you might be interested in learning more about the movie. After all, it is a work of art and a quintessential movie about Casinos.

About the Movie

Casino, which stars Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci, is a movie with a relatively simple premise. It takes place in the 1970s, when many casinos were controlled and operated by the mob. Crime movies are nothing new to Martin Scorsese, who also directed The Goodfellas and Mean Streets.

The original premise of the movies is as follows: Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein (Robert de Niro), a relatively high-ranking member of the Chicago Mob, is given a casino to manage. Alongside him is his second-in-command Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci), helping him handle the operations. 

In the movie, the two of them get entangled in various activities, both legal and illegal. Rothstein also ends up in a relationship with a dancer, Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone), which adds further drama.

Ultimately, the movie climaxes with the federal police shutting down the operations and arresting the majority of the mob members. Only Rothstein manages to escape relatively unscathed. It is not the happiest ending, but it is a fairly realistic one.

Was Casino Based on True Events?

One fact you will hear about the movie is that it was based on true events. That is correct – the movie did not spontaneously come from the director’s mind. The relationship with true events actually makes the movie a much more compelling watch, as you now know that most of it is realistic and did happen.

It is not an exact retelling of the true events, of course. Many of the personal encounters and details were never available. It was impossible for the filmmakers to learn exactly what went on during the private meetings of the mobs. Some of the details were kept hidden by the authorities. 

The movie did dramatize some incidents, but that can be forgiven. Here are a few of the details and similarities between the two versions.

The titular Casino in the movie is named Tangiers. In real life, it was the Stardust Resort and Casino. It was run by not Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein, but rather Frank ‘Lefty’ Rosenthal. His paramour was named Geri McGee, not Ginger McKenna. Nicky Santoro was really John Spilotro in reality.

Events such as Rothstein’s senate hearing, the brutal measures he took to handle cheaters, and his falling out with Santoro all really happened.

Rosenthal was as larger-than-life as the movie portrays him. He was the first person to bring Sports Betting and Sportsbooks to Las Vegas. He had his own talk show which featured famous people like Wayne Newton and Frank Sinatra. You could even catch some of the Frank Rosenthal show if you dig around a bit. There was also an assassination attempt on him in reality – he only survived the car bomb due to a metal plate below the driving seat.

Unfortunately, the Stardust Casino, the location of all these events, no longer exists. It was demolished in 2007. The Riviera casino, which is the actual filming location of the Tangiers Casino depicted in the movie, is also gone now.

At this point, some people might be wondering: exactly how did Martin Scorsese learn all about these events? Was he involved, or did he know someone else who was?

Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas

The whole movie is actually based on a book, known as Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas, by Nicholas Pileggi.

Pileggi, a crime reporter, had a particular interest in the Mafia. After working as a journalist for the New York Magazine and the Associate Press, he eventually got into filmmaking with his friend Martin Scorsese. He co-directed one of Scorsese’s earlier films – The Goodfellas. In the movie Casino, he was the principal screenwriter.

During his time as a crime reporter, he made plenty of contacts in the American underworld. No doubt those came in handy when writing the movie.

The book was written long before the movie. Originally, it was scheduled to release afterward but actually ended up coming out before. It covers mostly the same events as the movie, though it’s not so constrained by the runtime and goes into more detail. If you loved the movie, you can always pick up the book and check it out!

Our Thoughts on It

There are a lot of movies out there that feature casinos prominently, across all genres. The Hangover is a comedic movie set in Las Vegas. Casino Royale and Ocean’s Eleven are thrilling action movies. However, most of them use the casino as a backdrop rather than the centerpiece.

In Martin Scorsese’s Casino, the establishment itself is our focus. Rothstein may be the main character, but it is the Tangiers casino that decides his fate as well as of those around him. It’s an essential movie for any casino lover. It’s thrilling, entertaining, and educational.

Today, casinos are no longer controlled by the Mob, but they are still hotspots of semi-legal activity. That is why when you play at an online casino, you should always check the licenses, regulatory body, and reviews of that casino.

About the Author

Khrystyna Przybylo is an analyst with several years of experience in the online gambling industry and a knack for putting the right numbers alongside the right words.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. No Deposit Bitcoin Casino Bonus March 2020, Tangiers On Line Casino says:

    […] Posted: Mon, 20 Sep 2021 07:00:00 GMT [source] […]

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon