Movies about casinos and gambling have always been popular. For many people, the movie casino still represents an alluring blend of thrills, glamour and risk, and in the real world, casinos are more popular than ever, though these days most of the casino action happens at the top online casinos and their alternative sister sites, where all the action is completely legal and above aboard.
Still, the casino movie cocktail of drama, excitement, and suspense, with high stakes and intense action, has regularly drawn audiences and film studios back into the world of high-stakes gambling. Naming a top ten is a tough call, but we think we’ve nailed it. See what you think.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, this movie stars Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci and tells the story of a mob-connected casino manager in Las Vegas during the 1970s and 80s. It’s based on the true story of Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, who ran the Stardust, Fremont, and Hacienda casinos for the Chicago Outfit. Casino is a gritty, violent, and stylish crime epic that explores the dark side of the American dream.
Starring Clive Owen and directed by Mike Hodges, this British film follows the life of a struggling writer who takes a job as a croupier in a London casino. The movie is a stylish and suspenseful thriller that explores the psychology of gambling and the allure of the casino world.
The Gambler (1974)
Directed by Karel Reisz and starring James Caan, this film is a classic of the genre. It tells the story of a college professor who develops a dangerous addiction to gambling, putting his life and his relationships in danger. The Gambler is a dark and intense drama that explores the destructive power of addiction.
Hard Eight (1996)
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and staring Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, and Gwyneth Paltrow, this is the story of a professional gambler who takes a young man under his wing, teaching him the tricks of the trade. Hard Eight is a stylish drama that explores the complex relationships between gamblers.
The Hustler (1961)
Okay, you spotted it, this is not technically a casino movie, but it does rank as one of the greatest gambling movies of all time. Directed by Robert Rossen and starring Paul Newman, it tells the story of a young pool hustler who takes on the best players in the game, including the legendary Minnesota Fats.
Mississippi Grind (2015)
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, this film stars Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn, following two gamblers who team up to travel down the Mississippi River, playing poker and chasing their dreams. Mississippi Grind is a smart and enjoyable drama that captures the thrill of the casino world.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, this modern remake of the 1960 Rat Pack movie stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts. The film follows a group of professional criminals who plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos at the same time. A high-caliber heist movie, featuring some of the best actors of its generation, it spawned three successful sequels.
Starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton, this movie is a must-see for poker fans. It follows the story of a young law student who tries to pay off his debts by playing high-stakes poker. The film takes place in New York City’s underground poker scene and features some of the best poker players of the time, including Johnny Chan and Erik Seidel.
The Sting (1973)
This classic movie stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford as a pair of con artists who plot to swindle a high-stakes poker player. Set in 1930s Chicago, it also features a memorable score by Scott Joplin and won an impressive seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Casino Royale (2006)
The definitive movie version of this Ian Fleming novel was released in 2006, starring Daniel Craig. The story is as far-fetched as you’d expect for a Bond movie, and ends with Bond playing a high-stakes game of poker using UK government money. Slick, compelling and hard-hitting, this movie brought a new sharp edge to the glamour of the casino thriller, and announced the arrival of a new Bond in great style.