Casino scenes have been featured in movies for nearly a century. Even though Casablanca is hailed as a great romance, it is still remembered for its casino scene. It is a love affair that continues. James Bond is never far from a casino table, and then there’s Guy Ritchie films and heist movies. Is it a reflection of real life? Not entirely, most of us are happy to sit at home playing Monopoly Casino in our sweats.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s the glamour, the thrill, the atmosphere of the casino that goes beyond the games. We like to get our games wherever we can, made possible by sites such as Monopoly Casino. However, we like our stars to show up for the game, suited and booted. No one wants to see Sue from Brighton, with her hair in a ponytail, playing craps in her PJs. Give us a fast-talking, silky suited Brad Pitt and we’ll pay to see it.
What makes a casino scene in a movie so popular?
Casinos have always had a heady allure, and that’s why they work brilliantly on film. This is escapist fantasy fun in worlds that most of us can only dream of.
There’s the entrance they make – whether from behind plush red curtains, or seated beneath a glittering chandelier. Then the clothing, think ladies in ballgowns, men in tailored suits, even the casino floor staff are well-dressed. The thrill of the game is another factor, waiting for the card to turn or the ball to drop. Usually in a movie, these stakes have an added edge.
Is it someone’s wife? Someone’s life savings? Does win or lose mean global domination? There’s no doubt that the storyline and setting the scene leave us glued to our screens.
Big name stars
Many movies that have great casino scenes feature popular actors. Some are living legends while others are hot at the time.
- Paul Newman in The Sting (1973)
- Tom Cruise in Rainman (1988)
- Matt Damon in Rounders (1998)
- Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game (2017)
These big names carry the scenes on their shoulders, and enhance the prestige of the moment.
When we hear Macau, Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, what pops to mind? Usually the hallowed temples where people meet and play – casinos. Many casinos are located in architecturally fabulous buildings. These amazing establishments, some which are many years old, bring their own charm to proceedings. These places feature on people’s bucket lists too. However, it’s not always possible to travel to them, so we love watching through a screen.
The honest-to-goodness tips
You may not be playing with the same stash, but that doesn’t mean you can’t win. For those who like to dabble, it’s interesting to watch casino scenes play out. That’s where you can learn the lingo, know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. Watching games played on screen can actually improve your own skills. Pick up winning strategies and know when to go all in. You can also learn tricks from the best on how to stay cool, even with a big hand.
The thrilling situations
When we see casino scenes in movies, they are often highly charged. You don’t tend to see the low-roll games, there’s plenty of money being thrown on the table. Sometimes you see people who are gangsters or committing fraud. This is all part of the drama, and probably doesn’t happen in a casino every day, even the big ones. However we love to watch it unfold, as most of the time we’re simply playing casino from home.
The best casino scenes
So where can you find some of these momentous scenes?
1. Ocean’s Eleven, 1999
All the action takes place around three huge Las Vegas casinos:
- The MGM Grand
- The Bellagio
- The Mirage
Plus you have an all-star ensemble cast with George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. The plot? It’s slick, full of humour and the casino scenes are sumptuous.
2. Casino, 1995
This movie is directed by the legendary Martin Scorcese and stars Robert De Niro as Ace Rothstein, the main role. There are a host of brilliant casino scenes that pepper this movie.
However, one of the most memorable is where two players in a crap game bet $200,000. Rothstein has to watch, but he doesn’t like it when people don’t play fair.
3. Rainman, 1988
Although this movie may have aged a little, there are still some excellent casino scenes.
Raymond Babbit and his younger brother Charlie play blackjack at a Vegas casino. Charlie starts winning big, because his brother is a mathematical genius that people have underestimated.
The two main stars, Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, are key to the character development in this movie.
4. The Hangover, 2009
The whole movie is set in and around Las Vegas, and a group’s drunken escapades. However one brilliant scene parodies other casino movies with character Alan, played by Zack Galifiniakis, winning huge sums.
5. Casino Royale, 2006
Daniel Craig playing poker against arch villain Le Chiffre. It’s a masterclass in poker and delivery.
As long as we love casino games, we’ll love to see them played out on the silver screen. Movie directors will continue to find new ways to introduce them, so audiences will return.