Gambling and the movies have a long and storied history. Think back to so many of the great classic movies, and you can picture the heroes and villains pitting their wits against each other across a poker table, putting all of their money on red at the roulette wheel, or, in the case of the Ocean’s movies, robbing a casino. We love to watch the most glamorous stars in Hollywood get dressed up in their most stylish gear and head to the casino. However, the fact is that it is not always the best time for us to do the same.
As the winter draws near, it’s time for a lot of us to think about spending some cozy nights at home and maybe playing a few casino games online instead of braving the weather for a night out at a brick-and-mortar casino. What’s more, given how much prices are going up right now, it makes a lot more sense to stay home instead of spending a lot of our paycheck on a big night out. But there is no reason why you can’t enjoy the fun of a casino from the comfort of your own living room. Here are some of the best movies with classic gambling scenes for you to enjoy.
Seeing as we mentioned it already, let’s start with Steven Soderbergh’s star-studded 2001 classic Ocean’s Eleven. With George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and more strutting their stuff through a Las Vegas that has never seemed more glamorous or appealing, there is no doubt that this is a charming and massively entertaining thriller. But it also showcases a number of different sides of betting against the odds, with the real gamble in question being whether or not Clooney and his team can pull off their epic heist on Andy Garcia’s three casinos. What actually goes on in the casinos themselves does take a backseat to the heists, but there is still plenty of high-stakes action to enjoy. It also gets extra marks for the hilarious scene in which Pitt’s Rusty tries to teach a bunch of young Hollywood faces how to play cards properly. Hats off to Topher Grace and Joshua Jackson for sending themselves up!
From Vegas to New Orleans, here is a recent movie about two men heading to a gambling convention to win big that has steadily gained a better and better reputation since its release. Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One, Captain Marvel) stars as the down-on-his-luck Jerry, who teams up with the more confident Curtis (Ryan Reynolds giving one of his very best performances) to figure out how he can get his fortunes to turn around. This is a great story of friendship and the different kinds of odds that people face, and it is a fascinating look at an area of American gambling that does not often show up on the big screen. New Orleans has a rich history of gambling, and those riverboats do indeed make an appearance! It is also worth noting that Mississippi Grind is inspired by a 1970s cult classic called California Split, directed by the great Robert Altman, which is also definitely worth seeking out!
OK, so we may be cheating with this one depending on how you ask, but enough people out there consider David Lynch and Mark Frost’s long-awaited Twin Peaks revival to be a movie that we are including it anyway. And even if you think that it is definitely a TV series, it is brilliant enough to be featured. There is so much going on in Twin Peaks: The Return that we would never be able to properly explain it to those who have not seen it. In short, it is brilliant, and you should watch it, but you may not be able to understand much of what you are seeing! One of the most memorable moments in the show involved the returned (kind of) Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) heading into a casino, where he promptly can’t stop winning on the slots machine. He is christened “Mr. Jackpots” and is beloved by the gamblers around him. If you are missing the slots right now and are looking for a way that you can be your own Mr. or Mrs. Jackpots, then online slot games are a great way to spend a slow winter evening. You can find a range of online slot games at Jackpot, South Africa’s number one online casino. They have an incredible selection and plenty of tips to get you up to speed.
Here is one for anyone who has ever spent hours in the car driving to a brick-and-mortar casino, only to find that it is not their night. That’s right, it’s “Vegas, baby, Vegas.” Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn star in this classic comedy about two out of work actors who can’t seem to catch a break. At the start of the movie, Trent (Vaughn) decides that the best way to help Mike (Favreau) get over a bad break-up is by driving from LA to Vegas for a bit of weeknight gambling. Sadly, for Mike, his time at the blackjack tables is brief and he quickly runs out of money. Listen to what your brain is telling you to do at the tables, not your motor-mouth best friend. Still, even if luck is not on your side, it is important to remember that you are so money, you don’t even know.
Let’s face it, we could fill an entire article on the great gambling scenes in James Bond movies. Nobody does it better, as the song goes, and there have been so many iconic casino moments in the franchise throughout its history. And he’s as popular as ever, with No Time to Die being a box office smash. However, with no disrespect meant to Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and the rest, for our money the very best Bond movie for gambling sequences must be Casino Royale. The entire movie builds towards a climatic poker game at a high stakes table with devastating consequences if Daniel Craig’s Bond can’t find a way to outfox Mads Mikkelsen’s villainous Le Chiffre. It is a masterfully directed series of scenes, broken up at one point by a massive punch up in a hotel room, and it is made all the better by Mikkelsen’s fearsome turn as the baddie whose eye weeps blood when he gets stressed. Now that’s a tell!
Finally, here’s one for all the amateur card sharks out there. There is something very special about getting all glammed up and hitting the town, but there sometimes is really no substitute for going back to basics and pitting your poker know-how against some strangers. This cult classic stars Matt Damon as the card sharp who gave it up after losing everything to John Malkovich’s villain, only to be drawn back in by his slimy best friend (Edward Norton) who needs his help. In terms of watching a movie where poker is depicted realistically, Rounders has topped lists time and again for the way it shows how the game is played. It does not hurt that there are some truly exceptional performances, as long as you don’t mind Malkovich’s extremely cheesy accent.
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