Top 10 Best Gambling Movies of All Time
Casino games are very exciting. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise to movie buffs that gambling movies can be just as thrilling. When we’re not heading out to the casino, we like to sit back and enjoy a good gambling film.
Our team decided to compile a list of our favourite gambling movies of all time. There have been many great films through the decades that gamblers can appreciate. The following films are full of drama, and excitement, and will have viewers on the edge of their seats.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the best gambling movies for your entertainment.
1. Casino (1995)
Casino is top tier when it comes to gambling films. This is a classic that every gambler should watch. What a lot of viewers didn’t know is that this popular Martin Scorsese film is based on a true story about the Chicago mafia and their part in the casino scene in the 1970s.
Robert De Niro plays Ace, a gangster who manages casinos for the mob. He wants to run business the old-fashioned way. But, his cutthroat partner (Joe Pesci) and a beautiful woman who can’t be trusted (Sharon Stone) make things more complicated for him.
This film showcases the inner workings of a gambling empire and its connections to the criminal world.
2. Bugsy (1991)
Bugsy Siegel was an American gangster who was a huge part of the Las Vegas Strip development. If you want to watch a true story about one of the most notorious criminals in the history of Las Vegas gambling, then you need to check out the 1991 gambling movie Bugsy.
The Oscar-winning movie was directed by Barry Levinson. Warren Beatty brings Bugsy to life on screen. If you’re looking for a film that focused solely on gambling, this isn’t it. However, it’s a must-see if you want to learn more about how the Vegas Strip came to be and the crimes and scandals that took place behind the scenes.
3. Uncut Gems (2019)
When movies like Billy Madison and The Waterboy were released, people didn’t think they would ever see Adam Sandler in a serious role. That’s why audiences were shocked by his incredible performance as Howard Ratner in Uncut Gems.
This is a really intense movie about a jeweller (Adam Sandler) who has a gambling addiction. His addiction has gotten to the point where his life is ruined. Yet, he is still hopeless enough to believe that the next bet he places will be his lucky one.
NBA player Kevin Garnett plays a fictional version of himself in Uncut Gems. He’s one of Ratner’s clients that gives him some inside information. Ratner uses this information to place a bet on the NBA finals. Will this bet save him or will his gambling addiction ruin him for good?
4. Molly’s Game (2017)
A lot of viewers are bored of the cliche roles women are given in gambling films. This is why Molly’s Game has caught gamblers’ attention. It’s a true story based on Molly Bloom’s underground poker club for Hollywood celebrities.
Jessica Chastain play’s Bloom, a mastermind who created an underground gambling empire. Her poker rings were exclusive to some of the wealthiest high rollers in LA and New York throughout the early 2000s. But, with the rise of every criminal mastermind comes their fall.
Molly’s Game also features appearances from Idris Elba, Jeremy Strong, Michael Cera, Joe Keery, Chris O’Dowd, and Kevin Costner.
5. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Ocean’s Eleven features an all-star cast and is the first part in the Ocean series. This heist comedy was directed by Steven Soderbergh. George Clooney plays Danny Ocean, a man with a plan to heist millions of dollars from a casino. The casino owner also happens to be his ex-wife’s (Julia Roberts) new lover.
Ocean’s best friend Rusty (Brad Pitt) has helped him with this plan. But, they need a team to make it happen. Ocean’s team features Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner, and Don Cheadle, just to name a few familiar faces.
This is one of the best movies for audiences that want to step away from movies about how gambling affects people’s lives. Ocean’s Eleven is a guilty pleasure for people that don’t want a serious gambling film, but do want to watch something exciting.
6. Hard Eight (1996)
Hard Eight is an interesting film that shows the audience the different lives of characters who gamble. Philip Baker Hall plays a high roller who knows the ropes of the casino. He takes a young homeless man (John C Reilly) under his guidance to show him the rule of gambling to win. Together, these two end up winning big at the casinos.
Hall’s character has a set of rules he wants the young man to follow to continue the winning streak. But, not everything goes as planned. When the young man starts falling for a beautiful woman at the casino, his attention goes elsewhere.
Hard Eight also shows the situations of several other characters that gamble.
7. Rounders (1998)
If you want to watch a good poker movie, Rounders is one of our favourite picks. This movie features two best friends who have taken opposite paths in life. Mike (Matt Damon) is a law student with a bright future. His best friend Worm (Edward Norton) is an ex-con.
Mike is an extraordinary poker player, but he makes and loses a bet he can’t afford. In order to pay off this huge debt, Mike and Worm join an underground poker ring. Mike’s tuition, law degree, and life are on the line. To make things even worse for him, he only has 15 days to come up with the money.
8. The Gambler (1974)
The Gambler is a compelling film that follows an English professor who has a serious gambling addiction. He’s over $40,000 in debt and doesn’t know when to quit. He’s ruined relationships with his girlfriend and family. But, when he borrows money he can’t pay back from some criminals, he finds himself in a lot of trouble.
James Caan plays Axel Freed, the gambler with an addiction. In order to pay off his debts, he decides to travel to Las Vegas to hit the jackpot. This movie has received a lot of amazing reviews for its real and gritty look into compulsive gambling. Micheal Mann plays the thief and many film buffs will agree that this was one of the best roles of his career.
In 2014, there was a remake of The Gambler. However, the reviews weren’t nearly as good as the original.
9. California Split (1974)
1974 for a good year for gambling films. California Split is a compelling movie that follows two compulsive gamblers who form a friendship. George Segal played a newbie who will bet on just about anything. Elliot Gould played a professional gambler who meets the amateur gambler in a gaming room. The two team up because they’re both always on the lookout for the next big win.
What makes this film interesting is that it shows how the different characters react to gambling outcomes. As the film further explores their relationships with gambling, it shows how both characters are more addicted to the thrill of chasing a win than actually winning a jackpot.
10. 21 (2008)
Have you ever wondered why casinos use card shufflers? You’ll understand the exact reasons when you watch the movie 21. This 2008 film is based on a true story about a group of MIT students who became experts at counting cards.
Kevin Spacey plays a math professor who teaches a specific blackjack strategy to a group of young students. This strategy maximizes their chances of winning blackjack. Jim Sturgess plays a young medical student who can’t afford his tuition. The student is introduced to the secret group to learn the skill of card counting.
This fast-paced movie will keep viewers on the edge of their seats as the students travel to Las Vegas to put these strategies to the test.
Sasha is the newest addition to the CasinoGrizzly team and is known for her attention to detail. Sasha was the Head of Content of a successful iGaming Affiliate Business in the past, and nowadays she assists in researching, fact-checking and proofreading.Read more about the author