There is something alluring about casinos, even to those of us who don’t gamble. Filmmakers have long used casino settings to explore themes relating to money and greed.
If you look through the library of any online casino, Unibet for example, you will find numerous slot games that are based on film franchises. The worlds of cinema and casinos go hand in hand, as illustrated by the following movies.
We are referring to Daniel Craig’s first outing as 007, not the original 1967 version. Casino Royale has always been a favorite among Bond fans and is widely regarded as one of, if not the, best James Bond books that Ian Fleming ever wrote. The movie adaptation was a much-needed gritty reboot for a franchise that had lost its way, having started to embrace silly gimmicks like invisible cars over good storytelling.
Despite the name, only a relatively short portion of the film is actually set in a casino, but the action that does take place there is so good that this movie easily makes the list. The scene culminates in a very tense poker game, because only James Bond would think it’s acceptable to gamble national security on a single poker hand.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
There’s a lot to like about Fear and Loathing. Hunter S Thompsons’ seminal novella, originally serialized for Rolling Stone magazine, was an unprecedented peek under the hood of American counter-culture. The book and film are best known for the unfathomable number of surreal scenes that they document. However, beneath this chemical haze, Fear and Loathing is an astute and unique perspective on the United States of the time.
As is obligatory for any story set in Las Vegas, the main characters in Fear and Loathing spend a good deal of their time in casinos. The film really beautifully captures the assault on the senses that most casinos are, the floors are filled with a constant chorus of beeps and jingles as reels spin and money spills out. The film highlights the otherworldly nature of the casino and shows the audience that just beneath the surface is something some people might find sinister.
Martin Scorsese’s 1996 hit Casino is another film that isn’t afraid to take a more ambiguous stance against Vegas’ gambling industry. The story is told through the eyes of a mobbed-up casino operator, played by Robert De Niro in the days when he used to sometimes turn roles down.
Casino isn’t just about casinos, it is a film that also deals with themes of money, greed, power, and deception. The film seeks not to mindlessly glorify the culture of Vegas, but to instead take a different look at the Vegas casino industry. The result is one of the best pieces of work that Scorsese has ever produced – and that’s saying something!
Whether you like to gamble yourself, or you are just fascinated with the world of gambling and casinos, the three films above each perfectly encapsulate a different aspect of the industry. This list is by no means exhaustive, but if you are looking for a starting point then any of these films will make a fine choice.