Gambling has been at the heart of many of the world’s most favorite pastimes for as long as anyone can remember. In fact, the idea of spending time in some of the world’s most iconic casinos and shooting for the chance to win big is so alluring, it has permeated entertainment on a fundamental level. There is no end to the amount of online casino gaming available to explore, for example.
Even before the internet began to offer worldwide access to gambling entertainment, though, gambling made its way into almost every home in the planet in the form of some of the best movies in cinematic history. To prove that point, here are the six best films about gambling.
Casino, a Martin Scorsese film, endeavors to show both sides of one of the most well-known gambling cities in the world: Las Vegas, Nevada. While Sin City is well-known for its glamorous nightlife, dazzling lights, and endless casino action, there’s a darker side to the city as well. This movie follows the events of two fictional mobsters who move to the city to make a name for themselves, exposing the grit behind the glam in Las Vegas.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Ocean’s Eleven, possibly one of the most well-known casino movies of the modern era, is actually a remake of a 1960 film by the same name. Danny Ocean gathers an 11 man team to infiltrate and rob The Bellagio in what, if they’re successful, will turn out to be the biggest casino robbery of all time.
21 is quite possibly one of the most under-rated movies of the modern film era, simply because it didn’t get nearly as much publicity as it deserved. This film revolves around Ben Campbell, a young M.I.T. student struggling to make ends meet. When he learns about a secret card-counting club lead by his math teacher, Ben and his accomplices set out on a weekend trip to Vegas to make as much money as they can before they get caught.
Much like 21, Rounders isn’t nearly as well-known as it should be. Matt Damon plays reformed gambler, Mike McDermott, who must return to the world of high-stakes poker games to help a close friend pay off his massive loan shark debts before it’s too late. Mike finds himself thrust into a world he thought he’d seen the last of while trying to balance the demands of law school and maintaining his romantic relationship.
Rain Man (1988)
Rain Man was one of the most popular movies in the world when it was originally released in 1988. This movie may be a bit dated but it’s still one of the most heart-warming stories you’ll ever experience. Tom Cruise plays Charlie Babbitt who is charged with caring for his autistic brother, Raymond, portrayed by Dustin Hoffman, who Charlie only learns about upon his father’s death. Raymond has been left a 3 million dollar inheritance, and Charlie sets out to claim it as his own.
In the process, Charlie learns that Raymond is a math savant and uses his skills to win at high-stakes poker games on a trip to the West Coast.
The Color of Money (1986)
Tom Cruise, it seems, just couldn’t stay away from casino movies in the 80s. In this movie, he plays Vincent, an up-and-coming pool player, who is discovered by a hustler known as Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) who sees him as a young version of himself. Eddie begins to teach Vincent to hustle, but Vincent’s need to showboat ends up causing problems as they make their way across the country.
If you haven’t seen all of these movies yet, it’s time to make some room in your schedule and check off the ones you still need to experience. If you love gambling, you’re going to love these films.