When you think about casinos, you think of a high-tension experience filled with the thrill of gambling. The thrill of gambling makes it the perfect plot for movies, and many movies through the ages have used it as a central theme in their stories. However, some blockbusters do it better than others.
Casino games have long since been a global pastime many people enjoy, with land-based and, more recently, online casinos available worldwide. You can experience this thrill yourself by playing at an online casino in the UK or immerse yourself in it by watching the below movies.
There are many gambling movies, from serious and action-packed ones like Molly’s Game to comedies like The Hangover. It’s difficult to say what the most popular casino movie is, as it largely depends on personal taste and the circumstances when it was released.
However, we made an effort to identify two must-see gambling movies of then and now. We eliminated gambling movies that aren’t focused on the actual casino games. We rather focused on movies that show the thrill and pitfalls of gambling and casino games. This means that though Casino (1995) is one of the most famous gambling movies, we didn’t consider it. That’s because the movies don’t revolve around the actual playing of casino games.
One of the classics and most popular movies is California Split (1974). While it’s not as tense as The Cincinnati Kid (1965) or as plot-driven as Casino (1995), this movie remains a fan favourite when it comes to gambling movies. It has virtually no plot, simply following the gambling exploits of two friends who are compulsive gamblers. The movie didn’t do as well when it first came out but is now regarded as one of Altman’s underrated masterpieces.
Elliot Gould and George Segal are the show’s two stars and were big names in their own time. The ending might be considered a bit flat and muted for some viewers. Still, it encapsulates what it’s like being a compulsive gambler, following a more realistic approach rather than a dramatised view of it.
Many recent movies use gambling or casinos as a plot or supporting theme, like Ocean’s 11 and its sequels. However, when we look at movies in the 2000s that show the thrill and perils of gambling games, Casino Royale (2006) remains a fan favourite.
It’s the third movie in the Bond series and delivers players with action, high-stakes and unlikely wins. We considered the more recent Molly’s Game (2017), focusing on the real story of Molly Bloom and her rise to Poker Princess. However, ultimately, Casino Royale made a bigger splash with its high-stakes poker game.
It follows Agent Bond, played by Daniel Craig, as he tries to bankrupt terrorist Le Chiffre, played by Mads Mikkelsen. The movie was directed by Martin Campbell and is the first in the series of Bond films starring Daniel Craig.
While it’s ultimately a spy movie filled with action and a slightly unrealistic poker game, it still showcases the thrill and perils you feel when playing any game that requires gambling. This movie also has some of the highest ratings in viewership and reviews, making it an enjoyable, fast-paced, action-filled blockbuster that revolves around a high-stakes poker game.