Gambling is one of those subjects which naturally creates exciting and unexpected narratives. Whether you’re playing at the best mobile casinos in UK or in the hallowed halls of Las Vegas, it’s easy to see why the hobby has a certain, unparalleled, allure.
A heady mix of risk, adrenaline, power plays and money, it’s also no wonder that film directors often include gambling scenes in their movies. Moreover, both the casinos of Las Vegas and shady backroom poker games can make for incredible settings.
There are, therefore, hundreds of great gambling movies. However, here at Film Threat, we’ve spent quite some time weighing up which ones really stand out from the crowd. In doing so, we’ve created our ultimate list of the top 5 gambling movies of all time. These five films may focus on different casino games or betting activities, but they all share one main similarity – they’re all well worth a watch.
If there was ever a fictional character who exuded the main appeals of gambling, it would be James Bond. Specifically, Daniel Craig’s James Bond. A cool yet dangerous man whose stories have as many twists and turns as a high-stakes game of poker, which is exactly what happens in the showdown of Casino Royale.
In the film’s most memorable scene, Bond must take on the wicked Le Chiffre in an all-or-nothing game of Poker based in Monte Carlo. The action is rapid, the scenes are stylish, and the poker is incredible – what’s not to love?
Molly’s Game is the most recent film to make this list, yet we’re sure it will become a classic gambling movie in no time at all. The film follows the true story of Molly Blume, the ex-Olympic skier who ran one of the world’s most exclusive poker games before being arrested by the FBI.
Molly’s players include film stars, Hollywood A-listers, the unlikeable Player X and the Russian mob. Starring Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner and Michael Cera, this is an unmissable movie for poker fans.
Whilst most of the films featured in this list are fairly dark and serious, The Hangover provides some comedic respite. The Hangover follows the misadventures of a bachelor party in Vegas and has become one of the most referenced pop-culture movies of recent years.
In the movie, the bachelor party manage to get themselves involved with a Chinese mob, which results in the men owing the mob leader, Leslie Chow, $80,000. Unable to come up with the money In such a short space of time, the party heads back to the casino where Alan puts his card-counting skills to good use. In short, The Hangover is a hilarious film which perfectly encapsulates the crazy world of Las Vegas.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a classic British film, directed by Guy Richie. Set in England, the story follows four friends who must pull of a heist in order to pay off one overconfident card player’s gambling debts.
With an ensemble cast which stars both Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones, this film is gritty, fast-paced, funny, and instantly quotable.
Casino is one of the most famous gambling movies and for good reason too. The dramatic tale follows the mob-controlled casinos of Vegas and features incredible performances from both Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.
Casino provides viewers with the perfect mix of gambling, mobsters, violence and seduction. This, of course, makes for great viewing and is why Casino is not only the critic’s favorite gambling movie but ours too. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor, grab a copy and settle in for almost three hours of intense casino drama.