Casinos have always been a favourite location to set a movie. Whether it's crime, drama or comedy you want, casinos have enough emotions running high that they're the perfect host for almost any tone and style of film you want to make.
But with so many films taking place in the casino, what are the best of best when it comes to casino and gambling movies? In our top 5 list, we've tracked down the best flicks for you to watch to get yourself in the mood to head to the casino. So sit back, enjoy our picks and maybe you'll find you're next favourite film somewhere in our top 5.
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas
Based on the book of the same name by famed gonzo journalist, Hunter S Thompson, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas is based on the questionable accounts of Thompson, as he journeys to Vegas with his lawyer, to cover the annual Mint 400 motorcycle race.
As their drug intake increases and plans to cover the Mint 400 quickly go out of the window, what we're left with is an insane adventure around Vegas where Thompson comes into contact with violence, crime and even lizard men from another world.
Thompson is played brilliantly by Johnny Depp, who gives one of his most manic performances ever and the whole drug fueled style is conveyed perfectly by the writing and directing of Terry Gilliam, of Monty Python fame. If you're looking for a comedy about Vegas, which will have you laughing and horrified at the same time, then Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas is the perfect casino movie for you.
Many would argue that after the last few Brosnan Bond films started to lose their way, Casino Royale is the film that brought Bond back from the grave. And what better way to do that, then to strip away all the gadgets, ridiculous action scenes and campy bad guys that had been clogging up the series in its latter years, and simply set it at a poker table. With all the fluff removed, the battleground was now the mental battle between Bond and the antagonist Le Chiffre, as they attempt to bluff one another out of $150m.
It's an action film that replaces guns and explosions with a pack of cards, and the result is outstanding. We've always loved the intensity that the poker tables can bring out of people, and Casino Royale is one of the few films we've ever seen which really captures that drama.
It wouldn't be a list celebrating casino movies without Martin Scorsese's epic crime drama depicting greed, corruption and violence in Las Vegas during the 70s and 80s. Okay, so it's probably not the poster child that Vegas or casinos in general would want of their industry, but it's no less the very definition of a cinematic experience. It's not for the faint of heart, running at just over 3 hours, but for those who put in the time, they'll be rewarded with a truly standout film.
It's a long film with a lot happening, but in short, Casino charts the rise and fall of gangsters Sam ‘Ace' Rothstein (played by Robert De Niro) and Nicky Santoro (played by Joe Pesci). Sam is sent to Vegas to oversee the day to day dealings of the mob owned Tangiers Casino, as well as the mobsters who work within it, to make sure its earnings go to the right people.
Nicky, a mobster enforcer, is assigned to protect Sam and their business interests in Vegas, but due to his volatile behavior, he starts causing trouble for both himself and Sam. The entire film charts the darker side of Las Vegas' allure and explores the last days of the mob's reign in Vegas.
Everyone loves a good heist film and there's no better place to set it than Vegas. But a heist movie will live and die on the quality of its characters and most films struggle to craft even 1 good character, let alone a group big enough to pull off a heist on a Vegas casino.
That's why Ocean's 11 is such a surprise, as it manages to bring us a killer cast of characters, each one with their own personality and part to play. The head of the team, Daniel Ocean himself (played by George Clooney), is planning on robbing the Bellagio hotel and casino, which happens to be owned by his ex girlfriend's new husband. It's a gripping tale of crime and revenge, carried by a cast of characters who are absolutely hilarious when thrown together.
If you want a casino caper that's a much more light-hearted affair than hard hitting crime epics like Casino, then Ocean's 11 is the perfect antidote for that.
Okay, arguably only about a quarter of the film takes place anywhere near a casino, but the card counting scenes in Rain Man are some of the most iconic moments ever put to film. Even people who haven't seen the film will still recognise the shot of the Babbitt brothers descending the escalator in their matching silver suits.
A road trip movie with a twist, Raymond Babbitt is a business owner on the edge of bankruptcy awaiting an inheritance from his father. When he finds out he's receiving nothing and all the money is going to a brother he never knew he had, he's completely taken back. Raymond goes to find his long lost brother Charlie, discovering he is autistic and has been living in a facility for his entire life.
In order to blackmail the courts for his inheritance, Raymond kidnaps Charlie and takes him back home with him. Along the way they begin to bond and learn about one another, most notably Charlie's incredible ability to count cards. This leads to a brilliant sequence where Raymond takes Charlie to Vegas in order win cash and get him out of his financial problems.
If you're looking for a casino movie that avoids the crime drama angle that makes up most of the films about Vegas, and approaches the city with a heart; then Rain Man will be right up your alley.